News – Friends of Mount Majura
Sep 072017
 

Dear Friends,
Welcome to the September edition of the FoMM newsletter. Did you know that a FoMM Committee meets occasionally to discuss and plan the group’s activities, and what we want to focus on in the year/s ahead? Do you have some ideas and suggestions? Are you interested in contributing more to the Friends of Mt Majura? If so, you are invited to the next FoMM committee meeting to be held this Monday 11 September at 9 Selwyn St Hackett. We would love to see you there. If you can’t make it, don’t worry, just reply to this email and we will put you on the contact list for future meetings, and/or you can put your thoughts in the email. Your contribution would be greatly appreciated!
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch, FoMM Secretary

Working Party @ The Fair and Aboriginal Aspects of Land – Sunday 17 September 2017, 1pm to 4pm
Come along to a special working party at the National Tree Day planting area east of The Fair. Hear about the importance of Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie to the local Aboriginal people from Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell who will be joining our working party at 2.30pm to demonstrate working with the environment in a culturally aware way, and will talk about the significance of the area to Aboriginals for thousands of years.
Where: Meet at the nature park entrance, intersection Tay Street and Ian Nicol Street, The Fair, North Watson.
Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, long sleeves and pants and garden gloves if you have them. Tools and afternoon tea will be provided.
Enquiries: Email
Click here for more information

Aboriginal axehead found on Mt Majura. (Photo: Waltraud Pix). Further info here

Wildflower Walk – Sunday 15 October 2017, 2pm to 4pm
Explore the wildflowers that are blooming this season on a stroll with local ecologist Michael Doherty. Enjoy the beauty of the Mt Majura reserve, its grasses, trees, and views whilst you go and learn about the different species found in the grassy woodlands and open forest of Mt Majura. An updated plant species list of Mount Majura / Mount Ainslie will be available for a gold coin donation.
Where: Meet at the Antill Street Nature Park entrance opposite Carotel, south of The Fair in North Watson.
Bring: Sun protection, a camera and magnifying glass if you have them. Wear suitable clothing for the expected weather, and comfortable and appropriate footwear.
Enquiries: Email
Click here for more information

Scrambled Eggs, Goodenia pinnatifida. (Photo: Waltraud Pix). View Mount Majura’s Floriade – Visit FoMM Flickr galleries with pictures of flowering orchids, forbs, shrubs

Bird Walk – Sunday 22 October, 8am to 10am
Walk through the woodlands with bird enthusiast Peter Miller to spot, observe, listen to, and learn about the amazing variety of Mt Majura’s birds in Spring. With over two hundred recorded species, Canberra and the surrounding region has the richest bird life of any Australian capital city. Roughly half of these – 112 species – have been recorded on Mt Majura!
Where: Meet at the nature reserve entrance Tay St / Ian Nicol St, in The Fair, Watson
Bring: Sun protection and wear appropriate clothing for the weather and a Gold Coin donation for a Mt Majura bird species list.
Recommended: Binoculars, a bird guide or app* if you have them. *See for instance Michael Morcombe & David Stewart apps for Android and Apple. If you have an interest in our feathered friends (and some foes) check out the website of the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) which has heaps of information on the distribution, seasonal occurrence and breeding of birds, brilliant photographs taken by COG members and even records of bird calls of several species.
Enquiries: Email
Click here for more information

Spotted Pardalote, Pardalotus punctatus. (Photo: Harvey Perkins)

Other news and events:

Woodlands & Wetlands Trust Community Open Day for Threatened Species – Saturday 9 September 2017, 12pm to 4pm
Open afternoon to celebrate Threatened Species Day, at Forde Community Centre (entry off Zacharov St, Forde, Gungahlin, behind Frankies café). Drop in to learn about threatened wildlife and the Trust’s work at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary. Nature displays, information, meet a Bettong, artist-in-residence. Twilight tour for families and bird walk in Sanctuary. Bookings for tour/walk required here.

Environment, planning and sustainable development issues in the ACT – Tuesday 26 September, 12pm to 2pm
Do you have any questions on the ACT Government’s work on environment, planning and sustainable development issues? This is your chance to ask Director-General of the Environment Planning and Sustainability Directorate, Ben Ponton in person. This Environment Exchange held by the Conservation Council ACT Region will be held at the Renewables Innovation Hub 19-23 Moore Street Turner ACT. Click here for more information and to register.

Biodiversity Offsets: are they working in the ACT? Tuesday 31 October 2017, 12pm – 2pm
How do we measure outcomes? Are they adequately reported? Who is accountable? Case studies and discussion. This Environment Exchange held by the Conservation Council ACT Region will be held at the Renewables Innovation Hub 19-23 Moore Street Turner ACT. Click here for more information and to register.

Sep 032017
 

Spotted Pardalote, Pardalotus punctatus (Harvey Perkins, COG).

Walk through the woodlands with bird enthusiast Peter Miller to spot, observe, listen to, and learn about the amazing variety of Mt Majura’s birds in Spring.

When: Sunday, 22 October 8am (sharp) – 10 am

Where: Meet at nature reserve entrance Tay St / Ian Nicol St, in The Fair, Watson (volunteer registration point on this map)

Enquiries: secretary@majura.org

Wear appropriate clothing for the weather, sturdy shoes, sun protection; 

Bring Gold Coin donation for a Mt Majura bird species list.

Recommended: Binoculars, a bird guide or app* if you have them. *See for instance Michael Morcombe & David Stewart apps for Android and Apple.

Bird walk poster for upload.

With over two hundred recorded species, Canberra and the surrounding region has the richest bird life of any Australian capital city. Roughly half – 112 species – have been recorded on Mt Majura.

If you have an interest in our feathered friends (and some foes) check out the website of the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) which has heaps of information on the distribution, seasonal occurrence and breeding of birds, brilliant photographs taken by COG members and even records of calls of several bird species.

 

 

 

Wildflower Walk (15/10/2017)

 Events, News, Plants, Walks and talks  Comments Off on Wildflower Walk (15/10/2017)
Sep 022017
 

Scrambled Eggs, Goodenia pinnatifida  (W. Pix)

Explore the wildflowers that are blooming this season on a stroll with local ecologist Michael Doherty. Enjoy the beauty of the Mount Majura reserve, its grasses, trees, and views whilst you go and learn about the different species found in the grassy woodlands and open forest of Mt Majura.
When: Sunday, 15th October 2017, 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Where:
Meet at the Antill Street Nature Park entrance opposite Carotel, south of The Fair in North Watson, click on this map to view the meeting point.

Wear suitable clothing for the expected weather, and comfortable and appropriate footwear.
Bring sun protection, a camera and magnifying glass if you have them.

An updated plant species list of Mount Majura / Mount Ainslie will be available for a gold coin donation.

Enquiries:secretary@majura.org
Download this poster for promotion of the event.

Endangered Hoary Sunray, Leucochrysum albicans, northwest slope of Mt Majura (Photo W. Pix).

View Mount Majura’s Floriade. Visit FoMM Flickr galleries with pictures of flowering orchids, forbs, shrubs

Aug 252017
 

Aboriginal Axehead found on Mt Majura (W. Pix). Further info here

CHANGE: Unfortunately Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell will not be able to attend. The working party will go ahead. Sorry for this late notice. There will be a Mt Ainslie Ngunawal Women’s cultural awareness training led by Ngunawal custodian Karen Denny on Sunday 8 October;  further details and RSVP see below. 12. September 2017

Come along to a special working party at the National Tree Day planting area east of The Fair. Hear about the importance of Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie to the local Aboriginal people from Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell who will be joining our working party to demonstrate working with the environment in a culturally aware way, and will talk about the significance of the area for Aboriginals for thousands of years.

When: Sunday 17 September 2017, from 1pm to 4pm; Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell will be joining us at 2.30pm

Where: Meet nature park entrance intersection Tay Street and Ian Nicol Street, The Fair, North Watson; view this map

Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, long sleeve and pants and garden gloves if you have them.Tools and afternoon tea will be provided.

Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie (left and centre) are significant places to the Ngunawal people (S. Bittinger).

 

Yam Daisy, Microseris lanceolata on Mt Majura (W. Pix). The tubers were stable food for Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal people have lived in the Canberra region for at least 25.000 years. Numerous known sites indicate intensive occupation of the region including  Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie and surrounding valleys and plains.

 

Sites containing  materials such as artefact scatters, ground axe heads and ceremonial stone arrangements indicate the importance of the mountains as a source of food, water and shelter to the Ngunawal peoples as well as cultural and spritual connections to the land.

 

Mt Ainslie Ngunawal Women’s cultural awareness training led by Ngunawal custodian Karen Denny.

The walk is aimed at providing cultural awareness training to women Parkcarers and Landcarers who care for areas along the ridges of Mt Painter and the Pinnacle; Aranda/O’Connor Ridge and Black Mountain; Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie; and Stirling Park, Capital Hill and Red Hill Ridge.

Date: Sunday 8 October

Time: 1pm-3.30 pm

Location: This walk and talk takes place on Mt Ainslie and will discuss Ngunawal cultural sensitivities associated with a women’s cultural place and what to be aware and watch for when conducting Landcare and Parkcare activities.

Meet at Canning Street access to Mt Ainslie.

Mt Ainslie is part of the Ngunawal pathway that follows the watersheds and valleys associated with the Molonglo River, Ginninderra Creek, Sullivan’s Creek, Woolshed Creek, crossing the Molonglo River (Lake Burley Griffin) to link to the ridges and valleys associated with Yarralumla Creek and other minor creeks draining Red Hill and present-day Capital Hill.

RSVP: Josie Barens 0402 913 131

 

Aug 172017
 

Working Party @ The Fair – Sunday 20 August 2017, 1pm to 4pm
Join the Friends of Mount Majura working party at the planting area behind The Fair and give the seedlings planted on National Tree Day a head start for spring. Help direct seeding native grass, spreading wood chip mulch and placing debris of cut Cootamundra wattle around the plantings to protect them from grazing. Come for an hour or more. Tools and afternoon tea will be provided.
Where: meet nature park entrance intersection Tay Street and Ian Nicol Street, The Fair, North Watson
Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, long sleeve and pants and garden gloves if you have them.
Enquiries: Email or 6247 7515
Click here for more information


Caring for young plantings. (Photo: Steve Bittinger) 

10th National Tree Day on Mt Majura a great success!

Over 90 enthusiastic volunteers of all ages turned up at the nature reserve east of The Fair to plant 200 local native trees, shrubs and wildflowers on Sunday 30 July 2017. A big thank you to all our volunteers and helpers for a very successful and enjoyable planting event! More than any words, these great photographs and the time-lapse video taken by Steve Bittinger convincingly show that people had a great afternoon helping out. Click here to view the species planted. There were two distinct planting sites: Lilies and Everlastings planted at a Majura Mountain Scouts dedicated grassy woodland site and a mix of local wattles species and native box thorn planted along a gully where volunteers had carried out erosion control work over the past two years. In addition 20 eucalypts were planted in a widely scattered pattern at these two sites. Thank you to the Molonglo Catchment Group for the grant to buy the seedlings and some tools, and a big thank you to Shane Rattenbury, MLA for a great demonstration “how to plant” which was enjoyed by everyone. Read more here.


Silver wattles and other wattles were planted along the eroding gully. (Photo: Steve Bittinger)


Scouts planted Everlasting daisies and Bulbine lilies in a separate area. (Photo: Steve Bittinger)

Sugar Glider leap at half speed
FoMM walks organiser, Jenni Marsh, recently videoed a sugar glider preparing to and leaping between two tree trunks. It happens lightning fast so she has halved the speed. You can see it preparing to jump on the trunk on the left.

Other news and events:

Biodiversity Offsets: are they working in the ACT? 31 October 2017, 12pm – 2pm
How do we measure outcomes? Are they adequately reported? Who is accountable? Case studies and discussion. This Environment Exchange held by the Conservation Council ACT Region will be held at the Renewables Innovation Hub 19-23 Moore Street Turner ACT. Contact Ph: 02 6229 3208 or Email

Wild whirlybirds!
Something to make you smile, from FoMM’s Convenor, Jochen Zeil – Corellas in Caversham, WA turned a rooftop into a playground when they found this whirlybird!

Aug 012017
 

Caring for young plantings (S. Bittinger)

Join the Friends of Mount Majura working party at the planting area behind The Fair and give the seedlings planted on National Tree Day a head start for spring. Help direct seeding native grass, spreading wood chip mulch and placing debris of cut Cootamundra wattle around the plantings.

When: Sunday 20 August 2017, from 1pm to 4pm; come for an hour or more.

Where: meet nature park entrance intersection Tay Street and Ian Nicol Street, The Fair, North Watson

Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, long sleeve and pants and garden gloves if you have them.

Tools and afternoon tea will be provided.

Enquiries: secretary@majura.org or 62477515

National Tree Day 2017 planting along eroding gully (S. Bittinger)

Jul 312017
 

Over 90 enthusiastic volunteers of all age cohorts turned up at nature reserve east of The Fair to plant local trees, shrubs and wildflowers at the Friends of Mt Majura 10th National Tree Day.

More than any words, these photographs and the time-lapse video taken by Steve Bittinger convincingly show that people had a great afternoon helping out.

A big thank you to all our volunteers for a very successful and enjoyable planting event!

In particular I like to thank

Peter O’Neill for digging the planting holes – very much appreciated;

Parks Service Raf Gobin for carting water;

Urban Service rangers for depositing piles of wood chip mulch;

Parks Service rangers Phil Selmes, Alison McLeod, Pat Harvey and Simon Stratford for giving their time providing fantastic support;

The helpers on site Jo Lynch, Jenni Marsh, Lynne Alexander, Lesely McGrane, Chris Paterson, Joseph Stapelton, Noel Brichall and Jochen Zeil who were there when needed, ensuring everything worked smoothly and no water was wasted;

Steve Bittinger for the brilliant photographs and time-lapse video and for sharing them on Flickr and YouTube;

Jean Chesson for catering and baking delicious muffins, thanks also to anonymous for the wonderful chocolate cup cakes which together with tons of Timtams were gone quickly;

Cindy Allen for putting up posters;

Barbara Inglis for the help with volunteer registration;

Leigh Cameron for coordinating the Majura Mountain Scouts;

Greening Australia volunteers and staff for raising and arranging the seedlings;

Molonglo Catchment Group for a grant to buy the plant seedlings and some tools;

And last not least, a big thank you to Shane Rattenbury, MLA for a great demonstration “how to plant” which was enjoyed by everyone.

Click here to view the species planted on Sunday. There were two distinct planting sites: Lilies and Everlastings planted at a Majura Mountain scouts dedicated grassy woodland site and a mix of local wattles species and native box thorn planted along a gully where volunteers carried out erosion control work over the past two years. In addition twenty eucalypts were planted in a widely scattered pattern at these two sites.

Silver wattles and other wattles were planted along the eroding gully (S.Bittinger)

Waltraud
Friends of Mt Majura, National Tree Day 2017 coordinator, 31 July 2017

Scouts planted Everlastings and Bulbine lilies (S. Bittinger)

Jul 242017
 

The joy of planting together (S. Bittinger)

Join the Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) to celebrate National Tree Day 2017 on Sunday 30 July and help with the planting of local trees, shrubs and flowering ground-cover plants. Bring your friends and family and enjoy an afternoon of fun out in the bush.

Planting veteran Shane Rattenbury, MLA will be kicking off the event at 1pm with a demonstration on how to plant a tree.

This will be FoMM’s 5th National Tree Day community planting in the nature park behind (east of) “The Fair” and the 10th consecutive mass planting of trees, shrubs and wildflowers in the Mount Majura nature reserve on a National Tree Day.

The planting holes will be dug prior to the event and water delivered so all we need are volunteers to help with planting, watering and mulching the seedlings.

Shane Rattenbury will kick off the event with a demonstration on how to plant a tree (L. Barnsley)

When: Sunday 30 July 2017, from 1.00pm to 4.00pm; volunteer registration opens at 12.45pm;
Please come early for a demonstration on “How to plant”.
Where: Mount Majura nature reserve behind (east of) The Fair in North Watson; click on this map to view the planting area and volunteer registration point;

Warm up drinks and Timtams will be provided.
Access: park entrance intersection Tay St and Ian Nicol St close to the volunteer registration point or via nature park entrance Antill St roughly opposite Carotel for a 5-10 minutes walk to the planting site.
Car parking: along Antill Street opposite the nature park entrance; limited car parking space at The Fair and along Aspinall Street / Solstice.
What to wear: Garden gloves, appropriate clothing and foot wear, wrap up warmly.
What to bring: Bucket, trowel or small mattock if you have one.

Important: Please label your items with your phone number so that we can reunite any left-behinds with the owner.

What we will plant: List of species with photos

Enquiries: e-mail secretary@majura.org, phone 6247 7515

Contact number during event: 0435 357 172

Promote National Tree Day 2017 on Mount Majura: download this poster

Media Release

Click on this little pamphlet How to plant: 10 steps to help your seedling survive

A big thank you to the Molonglo Catchment Group  for providing funds from the 2017 Small Grants Program for FoMM to purchase tube stock from Greening Australia and equipment for this planting event!

National Tree Day 2016 planting at The Fair (S. Bittinger); see photographs of the 2016 planting spectacle here

National Tree Day is held annually by Planet Ark which runs the Australian wide project to encourage mass tree plantings and to communicate the merit of trees.

Jul 152017
 

Dear Friends,
Welcome to the July edition of the FoMM newsletter. Thanks again to everyone who voted for the location of the 25th ParkCare Anniversary bench on Mt Majura. See the photo below of the newly installed bench on Majura ridge (the old sheep camp) with Chris Lampert (left) and Phil Selmes, the rangers who installed the bench for us. Thanks guys! Check it out next time you are on the mountain.
Jo Lynch, FoMM Secretary

Working Party @ The Fair – Sunday 16 July 2017, 1pm to 4pm
Give our native plants a head start! Come and help us prepare for National Tree Day 2017. The plan is to mix water crystals with the soil at the bottom of the planting holes (they have been dug already) and back fill some soil to provide a good growth environment for the seedlings (root / soil contact is crucial). Give as little or as much time as you can. No previous experience required, just an interest in making a difference!
Where: Meet at The Fair, nature park access Tay St, North Watson.
Bring: Sun protection, long sleeves and pants; garden gloves if you have them. Tools and hot drinks will be provided.
Enquiries: Email or 6247 7515
Click here for more information and read about assisted regeneration of native diversity and planting at The Fair.


Blue Devil, (Eryngium ovinum) planted @ The Fair. This species is intolerant of heavy grazing when the young leaves appear in spring. (Photo: Waltraud Pix) 

National Tree Day 2017 – Planting on Mount Majura – 30 July 2017, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Join FoMM to celebrate National Tree Day 2017 and help with the planting of local trees, shrubs and flowering ground-cover plants! This will be our 5th National Tree Day community planting in the nature park behind (east of) The Fair and the 10th consecutive mass planting of trees, shrubs and wildflowers in the Mt Majura nature reserve on a National Tree Day. The planting holes will be dug prior to the event and water delivered so all we need are volunteers to help with planting, watering and mulching the seedlings. Volunteer registration opens at 12.45pm. Please come early for a demonstration on “How to plant”. What we will plant: List of species with photos.
Where: Mount Majura nature reserve behind (east of) The Fair in North Watson. Access park entrance at the intersection Tay St and Ian Nicol St close to the volunteer registration point or via nature park entrance Antill St roughly opposite Carotel for a 5-10 minutes walk to the planting site.
Car parking: along Antill Street opposite the nature park entrance; limited car parking space at The Fair and along Aspinall Street / Solstice.
What to wear: Garden gloves, appropriate clothing and foot wear, wrap up warmly.
What to bring: Bucket, trowel or small mattock if you have one. Important: please label your items with your phone number so that we can reunite any left-behinds with the owner.
Enquiries: email or Ph. 6247 7515. Contact number during event: 0435 357 172
Download: How to plant: 10 steps to help your seedling survive
A big thank you to the Molonglo Catchment Group and EnviroAg for providing funds from the 2017 Small Grants Program for FoMM to purchase tube stock (from Greening Australia) and equipment for this planting event! Also, on Friday 14 July a group of 16 university students, school students and staff will come to the Fair to undertake 2 hours of erosion control works at the gully and spread more mulch before planting, which will further help the revegetation of the site!

The joy of planting together. (Photo: Steve Bittinger from National Tree Day 2016)

ParkCare Clothing survey
Alison McLeod, the Community Programs Coordinator, has put together this very quick (only two questions) survey to get an idea of which hats and jumpers you would like her to include in the next clothing order for ParkCare volunteers. Everyone has one vote for a hat and one vote for a green jumper. Download this PDF document to see what the different options look like, then click here to select your preferences!

Other news and events:

Fringe Forum: Grassland Habitat Research – Thursday 13 July 2017, 5-6pm
Come and listen to Brett Howland- research and monitoring officer as he shares the latest information on kangaroos, biodiversity and grassland habitats. Ground Floor Function Room- Dame Pattie Menzies House, 16 Challis Street Dickson. RSVP: Alison McLeod (Community Programs Coordinator).

2017 ParkCare/ Landcare Forum survey
Parks and Conservation Service will be delivering another ParkCare/Landcare Forum later in 2017 and they’d love your input. To collate your ideas and deliver a forum which is designed for the volunteer community, complete this survey and tell them what you want! The results (along with feedback from the last forum) will be taken to the committee which will be tasked with delivering the 2017 Forum. There is also an opportunity in the survey to register your interest in joining the committee.

Native Bee and Pollinator Workshop – Friday 28 July, 9am – 3pm
Are you interested in learning about native bees and pollinators? Learn about their importance, how to support native bee populations and build bee hotels. To be held at Riverside Oval Clubhouse, 14-20 Carinya St, Queanbeyan. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

19th NSW Weeds Conference 2017 – Armidale, 16 – 19 October 2017
Registrations are now open! More than $1,200 worth of prizes to win when you register. With the introduction of the new  Biosecurity Act 2015 and proposed Regulation in 2016 that  provides a framework for the prevention, elimination and minimisation of biosecurity risks posed by pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants to the economy, environment and communities of NSW, coupled with the Invasive Species Plan 2015- 2022 objectives, there has never been a more important time for weed professionals to be able to meet the challenges of the practical implementation of these changes within the industry. Our theme of ‘Experience the highs – working smarter together’ looks to build on the successes of the past whilst looking to the future as we transition into this new era in weed management and control, an approach that must be based on regional cooperation as well as providing a common focus for the actions of the numerous land managers across all tenures. With this in mind Session themes will broadly revolve around Biosecurity in Action; Technology & Innovation; Community, Extension & Social Marketing; Collaboration & Case Studies with a special feature being the Open Debate. Read more and register here.

2017 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference – Albury, 25 – 27 October 2017
The 2017 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference will be held at the Albury Entertainment Centre. The Conference is being hosted by Landcare NSW and Murray Local Land Services, and is being coordinated in partnership with local Landcare and community groups. The theme for the Conference is ‘Sharing our Stories’. Conference topics will focus on agriculture, biodiversity, water and Aboriginal Landcare. Renowned science communicator, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, will be the keynote speaker at the conference. This conference is the premier event to showcase sustainability, Landcare and volunteering across NSW and includes the annual Landcare Muster and the NSW State Landcare Awards. Don’t miss this chance to gather with around 300 people from Landcare and community groups, farmers, Aboriginal groups, industry and government representatives from across NSW and Australia. Click here for more information and to register.

Jun 302017
 

Early Wattle, Acacia genistifolia wrapped in spider webs on a winter morning (W.Pix). The wattle is a key habitat species planted at The Fair.

Give native plants a head start! Come and help preparing National Tree Day 2017.

When: Sunday, 16 July, 1-4pm; give as little or as much time as you want.
Where: Meet at The Fair, nature park access Tay St, North Watson, view this map
What: Preparation for National Tree Day 2017.
Bring: Sun protection, long sleeves and pants; garden gloves if you have them. Tools and hot drinks will be provided.
No previous experience required, just an interest in making a difference!
Inquiries: projects@majura.org or 6247 7515

Assisted regeneration of native diversity.  About planting at The Fair.

The site adjacent to the The Fair is one of the four modified and heavily degraded areas in the nature reserve where the Friends of Mt Majura (FoMM) run long term projects to reclaim and improve grassy woodland (other sites are the old sheep camp at Majura ridge, Majura paddock east of Rivett Street and the associated drainage line at the lower Hackett water tank, and a cleared section of the west slope). These sites have in common that much of the original vegetation was cleared and replaced by weeds. In addition ongoing overgrazing prevents natural regeneration which in turn benefits the weeds. Other issues are the loss of the surface crust that holds the top soil together, compaction of soil, and erosion and loss of topsoil which affects the ability of plants to establish.

The Fair project site in April 2014; view to the south (W. Pix)

As with all FoMM projects, work at The Fair began with an initial assessment in 2011/12, taking into account present introduced and native plants, the impact of rabbit and kangaroo grazing, the soil condition such as compaction, large bare areas, active erosion, and the lack of structural habitat elements such as fallen trees and logs.

We started treatment of weeds in 2012 at the least weed infested southern part of The Fair project site, removed large Briar Roses in the tree cleared area and conducted a mass planting on National Tree Day. Work continued in the past years and included collecting seeds of native ground cover plants on Mt Majura and direct seeding, tube stock planting of native shrubs and grassland forbs on National Tree Days, measures to protect the plantings against grazing damage, help with rabbit control and the reintroduction of structural habitat, many hours of weed control, and monitoring weeds, rabbits, signs of natural regeneration and the progress of assisted re-vegetation, and work to improve the compacted soil and control erosion.

Silver wattle, Acacia dealbata planted @ The Fair and damaged by grazing (W. Pix)

A great challenge is to replace woody and herbaceous weeds with local native plants under the present grazing pressure without compromising ecological values of the area such as wildlife habitat.

For instance Hawthorn, Briar Rose and other woody weeds that replaced the native shrubs in the area provided shelter for little woodland birds however on the other hand the weeds prevented native vegetation to re-establish and thrive. Our solution was to plant local native shrubs that provide the similar habitat value in a staged process, superseding and accompanying the removal of these woody weeds.

Blue Devil, Eryngium ovium planted @ The Fair. The species is intolerant of heavy grazing when the young leaves appear in spring (W. Pix)

Seeds of many grassy woodland species do not persist in the soil seed bank and are unable to re-establish without assistance once they are lost from the standing vegetation through clearing, weed competition and overgrazing. We planted, and continue to plant, clumps of native understorey species at strategic sites and hope that the seeds of these “living seed banks” will spread out and one day will take-over sites which are currently weed infested.

The staged process of weed removal, assisted re-vegetation (tube stock planting and direct seeding) and protecting the plantings from being grazed is a much valued contribution of volunteers, and supported by the Canberra Ornithologists Group and the authorities charged with the management of conservation areas in the ACT such as the Mt Majura nature reserve.

The re-establishment of diversity improves the integrity of the grassy woodland and the drainage lines. It is a long term process and hard work and it is only sustainable if Government backs up our efforts and manages the grazing pressure that detrimentally impacts upon the grassy woodland and the native species within this endangered ecological community.

 

Establishing native plants under heavy grazing pressure is a challenge @ The Fair. Native grass fails to flower and set seeds and will be replaced by introduced species if overgrazing continues at the current rate (W. Pix 28.04.2014).