Newsletters – Page 2 – Friends of Mount Majura
Dec 062016

FOMM Late Spring Working party @ the Fair – Sunday 20 November, 9am – 12pm.

Help with removing protective guards that have been outgrown by their plant inhabitants or go on weed patrol to tackle Paterson’s Curse, Saffron Thistle and other weeds. Give as much time as you can spare.
Meet: at The Fair entrance gate, corner of Tay/Ian Nicol Streets, The Fair, North Watson.
Enquiries: Ph: 6247 7515
PLEASE email an RSVP for your participation to this email. Contact Person: Max Pouwer. This helps in organising equipment etc.
Bring: Sun Protection, water bottle, and garden gloves if you have them. Tools and tea will be provided.

The spring wildflower displays on Mt Majura are stunning this year after all the rain. However the weeds are also currently exploding so we need your help to keep the wildflowers blooming! (Photo: Jo Lynch)

Local plant ecologist Michael Doherty leading the successful FoMM Wildflower Walk on 23 October 2016. New populations of the Canberra Spider Orchid have been found this year! (Photo: Max Pouwer)

Grass ID Course
Steve Taylor, Senior Weeds Officer with ACT Parks and Conservation, has organised a number of Grass ID courses for staff, contractors and volunteers to attend. The trainer is Harry Rose from NSW Department of Primary Industries. The day will consist primarily of learning the parts of a grass in order to be able to distinguish between the many native and exotic grasses. The day will begin inside but progress to the field for hands on ID work. ParkCarers and Landcarers have been offered a limited number of places to attend the course:
When: Thursday 1 December
Time: 8.30am to 4.00pm
Where: The Ron Reynolds Training Centre, Strangways St, Curtin
What to bring: hat, sunscreen, outdoor walking clothes, morning tea and lunch, water bottle
There are also a few places left for the course on Wednesday 30 November if you cannot attend Thursday. This will be held at PCS Stromlo Depot in Weston. If you would like to attend this course, please contact Philip Selmes, ParkCare and Volunteer Coordinator, Phone 02 6205 7384  Email
Oct 142016

Welcome to the October 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. Great news: new Canberra Spider Orchid populations have been found on Mt Majura this spring! This species is listed as critically endangered so the findings are very important. In addition, hundreds of Wax Lip Orchids and several other orchid species not yet in flower have been spotted, as well as a large number of Greenhood orchids where weeds have been treated before, which is very assuring. Yellow-rumped Thornbills are nesting in three planted Acacia genistifolia shrubs at The Fair – see one of the nests here on Canberra Nature Map. The endangered Hoary Sunrays are just about to open their buds, the Early Nancy flowers are already open and the Creamy candles have started. In a couple of weeks when the Hoary Sunrays open their buds, the northwest of Mt Majura will be stunning. Enjoy Majura’s Floriade in what is a great wildflower year after all the rain, including on the FoMM Wildflower Walk coming up on Sunday 23 October.
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

Canberra Spider Orchid (Arachnorchis actensis) on Mt Majura. (Photo: Tony Wood)

Spring into action at the spring working party hosted by FoMM at the Majura Paddock. Help remove protective guards that are outgrown by their plant inhabitants or go on weed patrol and tackle Horehound and Paterson’s Curse. Join in for an hour or more.
Meet: at the ParkCare notice board opposite the Hackett water reservoir off Rivett / French Streets intersection.
Bring: sun protection and garden gloves if you have them. Tools and tea will be provided.
Inquiries: email here
Click here for more information.

Shrub and ground cover plantings at Majura Paddock replace woody and herbaceous weeds that had been removed by volunteers. (Photo: Waltraud Pix)

FoMM Wildflower Walk – Sunday 23 October, 2-4pm
Enjoy Mount Majura’s Spring Floriade on this delightful walk with local plant ecologist Michael Doherty and learn about the different species found in the grassy woodlands and open forests of the nature reserve. A new flora list will be available for a donation.
Meet: at the nature park entrance on Mackenzie Street roughly opposite Grayson Street, Hackett
Bring: good walking shoes, water, sun protection, a camera and a hand lens / magnifying glass if you have one.
Inquiries: email here
Click here for more information.

Wax Lip Orchid (Glossodia major). (Photo: Waltraud Pix)

2016 FrogCensus update – annual census week 16-22 October
October is Frog Census month and everyone is encouraged to monitor as many sites as possible. To assist in planning and to avoid lots of monitoring at some sites while other sites miss out, they are asking all Frogwatchers to register their monitoring intentions by email to ACT Frogwatch Coordinator, Anke Maria Hoefer. You can check if your favourite spot is already booked, or if a key site is getting its required 3 surveys during Census week, by logging on to the website and going to “BOOKED SITES”. Due to popular demand, an extra training event will be held this Thursday 13 October at Jerrabomberra Wetlands, with an Introduction Seminar (18:00-19:15) and Field Trip (19:15-20:30).

The Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes dumerili) lives in the ACT. (Photo:

Other news and events:

Mt Ainslie Weeders – walks
1/ Sunday 9 October, 10am-12pm: Wildflower Walk on Mt Ainslie led by Michael Mulvaney. Meet in the picnic area behind the Australian War Memorial, where the summit walking track begins.  Wear enclosed shoes, hat, sunscreen, bring drinking water.
2/ Sunday 16 October, 8am-10am: Bird Walk on Mt Ainslie led by McComas Taylor. Bookings required as numbers are strictly limited. Please book by email. Further information will be given upon booking.

ParkCare Fringe Forum ‘Partners on Country’ – Tuesday 11 October, 5-6pm
This forum will focus on various Aboriginal land management, fire and cultural heritage projects currently being undertaken in the ACT. Speakers will include 2016 ACT Landcare Indigenous Land Management Award Recipient – Wally Bell; ACT Aboriginal NRM Facilitator – Darren Chong and ACT Aboriginal Heritage Liaison Officer – Euroka Gilbert; and the ACT Parks Murumbung Ranger Coordination Team – Dean Freeman, Jackson Taylor-Grant, Krystal Hurst and Deb Melaluca.
Where: Ground Floor Function Room, Dame Patti Menzies House North, 16 Challis Street Dickson,
RSVP: Philip Selmes  or 02 6205 7384

Science for Saving Species: research of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub (TSRH) – Monday 17 October, 12:15 – 5:00pm
You are invited to a showcase of the research of the National Environmental Science Programme’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub, to be held in Canberra at the National Portrait Gallery. The event will bring together researchers, representatives from the Department of the Environment and Energy, state/territory representatives and regional landcare organisations, showcasing research findings that have an impact on policy and management decisions for threatened species. Speakers will canvass issues such as threatened species translocations, reintroductions, monitoring, adaptive management and control of invasive species. Registrations for the event and more information can be accessed here.

Climate-ready revegetation. A guide for natural resource managers
This new publication by Nola Hancock, Rebecca Harris, Linda Broadhurst and Lesley Hughes provides information on how to use on-line tools to gauge if existing vegetation (species and local populations) are likely to be suitable as the climate changes. The Guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to (1) find and use on-line regional climate projections for a local site; (2) evaluate which plant species will be suitable at the site in the future; and (3) consider which strategy for selecting provenances will increase the likelihood of the local population surviving in the future? The publication is available as a hard copy booklet, on this website and can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Restore Regenerate Revegetate: A Conference on Restoring Ecological Processes, Ecosystems and Landscapes in a Changing World – University of New England, Armidale NSW, 5-9 February 2017
The sustainable management and restoration of terrestrial ecosystems has never been more important and challenging, given humankind’s growing reach throughout the biosphere and resulting accelerating changes from local to global level. Over five days in February 2017, you are invited to the University of New England to contribute to our joint understanding of the challenges and successes in restoration, revegetation and reintroduction in a fast-changing world, with some of Australia’s and the world’s leading practitioners, scientists, consultants and advisers working in this space. More information is available here.

Sep 052016

Welcome to the September 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. Spring has sprung, unfortunately so have the weeds! If you have time please join FoMM at the Spring Working Party @ Majura Paddock on Sunday 18 September for some weeding and removing of tree guards. Thanks to the 10 participants at the August Working Party, and some Green Army sessions, we have finished mulching and layering woody debris around the 400 National Tree Day plantings @ the Fair, and many of the old guards around the Cassinia plants have been removed and replaced with debris.
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

Spring Working Party @ Majura Paddock – Sunday 18 September, 1pm – 4pm
Spring into action at the FoMM spring working party at the Majura paddock. Help remove protective guards that are outgrown by their plant inhabitants or go on weed patrol and tackle the last pesky Paterson’s Curse that grow on the paddock.
Meet: at the ParkCare notice board opposite the Hackett water reservoir off Rivett / French Streets intersection and give as much time as you like.
Bring: sun protection and garden gloves if you have them. Tools and tea will be provided.
Inquiries: email here
Click here for more information.

Majura paddock with plantings bathed in evening light. (Photo: T. Armstrong)

Birds in Spring Walk – Sunday 11 September, 8am – 10am
Meet at Mount Majura Nature Reserve entrance off Mackenzie St, near Grayson St, Hackett. Walk through the woodlands in early spring with bird enthusiast Peter Miller to spot, observe, listen to, identify and learn about birds of Mount Majura. Expect to see a variety of early spring migrants, possibly even early breeders -cuckoos, gerygones and honeyeaters. Bring binoculars, walking boots, water, and a Gold Coin donation for a bird list.

The Spotted pardalote lives in the woodlands of Mt Majura. (Photo:

2016 FrogCensus is on 16 – 22 October – Training sessions 22 September and 1 October
Dates for the main training events are out. New this year is that they will run the Introduction Seminar and Field trip on the same night. This will still allow new and seasoned Frogwatchers to attend one or both training events. However, it will make life a little easier for people with keen interest in both training events but with limited time. To book your spot, simply follow the links below, or check out the webpage. Alternatively, go straight to the Jerrabomberra Wetlands events webpage. Both sessions will be held at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands. The Introduction Seminars will run from 6pm- 7:15pm. The Field Trip will run from 7:15pm – 8:30pm. Dinner and hot drinks will be provided. Bring warm clothes. Register here for 22 September,
and here for 1 October.

The Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes dumerili) lives in the ACT. (Photo:

Other news and events:

ParkCare Fringe Forum – ‘PCS Wildlife Program’ – Thursday 8 September, 5pm-6pm
Hear a presentation on the PCS Wildlife Program from the Coordinator, Brad Green. This will include: the location of Canberra’s wildlife ‘hotspots’; the movement of wildlife within the Canberra Nature Park Reserve system; explaining where 40% of an Urban Ranger’s time goes; an insight into the information that is given to the general public regarding snake and magpie awareness; and an insight into the process followed for an injured animal.
Where: Dame Patti Menzies Building, North Building, 16 Challis Street Dickson. Ground Floor Function Room
RSVP: Friday 2 September to Philip Selmes, Acting ParkCare and Volunteer Coordinator, on Ph. 6205 7384 or email. Also, if there is a subject you’d like Brad to cover please let Philip know.

Wandiyali Habitat Restoration & Education Day – Threatened Species Day Wednesday 7 September
You are warmly invited to the Wandiyali Habitat Restoration and Education Day this Threatened Species Day. Come along and be part of the habitat restoration work that is being undertaken by the Wandiyali Restoration Trust in conjunction with Queanbeyan Landcare, the Molonglo Catchment Group, Greening Australia and Conservation Volunteers Australia and see what can be achieved when communities come together to improve habitats for locally threatened species. You will have the opportunity to take a tour of the Wandiyali property and learn about locally threatened plants, birds and animals from OEH Threatened Species Scientific Officer Rob Armstrong. Plus you can join in the fun, with the chance to roll up your sleeves and get involved in planting action. Free BBQ lunch provided. Limited Places Available. Bookings Essential.

ACT Healthy Waterways (Basin Project)
Canberra’s lakes and waterways are under increasing pressure, largely due to urban development, past land and water management regimes, climate change, and a general lack of awareness about the kinds of activities that affect water quality. Stormwater pollution affects water quality, posing risks to public health and aquatic life. It also threatens the many social, economic and environmental benefits our lakes and waterways generate. ACT Healthy Waterways is a joint initiative of the Australian and ACT governments to protect and improve long-term water quality in the ACT and the Murrumbidgee River system. The project will reduce the level of nutrients and sediment entering our lakes and waterways that, in turn, have a significant impact on Australia’s iconic Murray-Darling Basin. More than $80 million will be invested in up to 25 priority projects, as well as programs to raise awareness about water quality issues and how residents, businesses and visitors can help look after our waterways. Your feedback is sought. Click on each catchment area to find out more about the projects and provide your feedback. The six week consultation runs until Friday 30 September 2016. For more information visit

Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR) walk and talk at Bathurst – Saturday 24 September 2016
Join AABR member and Senior Strategic Local Land Services Officer, Diana Kureen for a tour of local woodland, riparian and Regent Honeyeater habitat around Bathurst in the Central West of NSW. The day will include visits to: Box Gum Grassy Woodland – Endangered Ecological Community; restoration sites on and around Mount Panorama; various creekline restoration projects, including Schauberger Sills, and a site that is looking to restore Regent Honeyeater habitat. Time: 10am until 3 pm. Meet: Bathurst Visitor Information Centre. If sufficient numbers of people are in Bathurst on Friday evening, there will be a talk on protecting and improving habitat for the Bathurst Copper Butterfly and also a cat-tracking program run in Lithgow – with very interesting results. This talk would be held at the Council offices around 5:30pm to 6:00pm, followed by dinner at a local pub. Click here for more information

Conserving Eucalypts: the Why and the How
The papers from the Royal Society of Victoria symposium on Conserving Eucalypts, held earlier this year, are now out. They have been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria Volume 128 Number 1 (18 March 2016). PDFs are available here (free downloads).

Copyright © 2016 Friends of Mount Majura, All rights reserved.

Aug 152016

Welcome to the August 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. This month we thought we would share with you a couple of fabulous photos of the snowfall on Mount Majura which occurred on Wednesday 13 July 2016. A very rare treat indeed.
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

Mt Majura summit trig (G. Mcveigh) and slope below the radar (A. Clausen).

Working Party @ The Fair – Sunday 21 August, 1pm – 4pm
Come and help direct seed local native grass seeds at the National Tree Day planting site, give some TLC to the new seedlings and view the results of prior years’ planting efforts. Give as much of your time as you want. Parts of the grassy woodland in the nature reserve east of The Fair have become bare over the past years and show signs of active erosion. We hope that the direct seeding of native grass seeds combined with mulching and the planting of local wildflower species at National Tree Day will reverse the degradation, prevent erosion and improve the habitat and biodiversity values of the site.
Meet: Nature park entrance Tay/Ian Nicol Streets, The Fair, North Watson.
Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes; tools and tea will be provided.
Inquiries: email here
Click here for more information.
Left: Overgrazed, bare and eroding “grassy” woodland east of The Fair (W. Pix, May 2016). Right: …and how it should be – native ground cover layer with Bulbine lilies on Mt Majura’s north west slope (W. Pix, October 2005).

Report: Tree Walk on Sunday 24 July 2016 – by Thomas Brereton, with some closing remarks by Max Pouwer
On Sunday 24 July a group of intrepid aspiring botanists braved a looming hailstorm to follow Michael Doherty through the grassy woodlands and open forests of Mt Majura. Luckily the weather cleared as we set out into the Blakely’s Red Gum/ Yellow Box (Eucalyptus blakelyi/ E. melliodora) woodlands encircling the base of the mountain. In addition to identifying these dominant eucalypts, we learned the characteristic flakey bark of the Apple Box (E. bridgesiana), the large sickle shaped phyllodes of the Hickory Wattle (Acacia implexa) and the delicate foliage of the climbing Small Leaved Clematis (Clematis leptophylla). Crossing the powerline trail and climbing up to the stony western face of the mountain, the dominant eucalypt species shifted to the Scribbly Gum (E. rossi), on which Michael pointed out the distinctive dark scribbles left by burrowing larvae, and the flesh-like pressure ridges in the folds under the branches. The groundcover of grasses switched from a herbaceous carpet to dense tussocks of red anther wallaby grass (Rytidosperma pallidum) interspersed with frequent Urn Heaths (Melichrus urceolatus), Nodding Blue Lily (Stypandra glauca) and Bitter Cryptandra (Cryptandra amara). Read more

Michael Doherty pointing out a Brittle gum (M. Pouwer)

The Intrepid Landcare students of the Australian National University and the Majura Mountain Scouts joined members of the general public to plant over 300 local trees, shrubs and wildflowers on this 10th National Tree Planting Day hosted by FoMM. Conditions were fabulous on Sunday 31 July – it was one of these brilliant Canberra winter days and the soil was soft and friable after plenty of rain in the weeks before the event. Click here to view Steve Bittinger’s photo gallery of the day. Read more….

The ANU Intrepid Landcare students celebrate a successful National Tree Day 2016. (W. Pix)

Canberra Nature Map latest growth: insects and other invertebrates
Since its inception in 2013, Canberra Nature Map (CNM) has grown phenomenally. Recently the award winning Citizen Science project expanded to cover all invertebrates and now provides a comprehensive coverage of all local wildlife of the Canberra region. CNM is an on-line regional wildlife database that provides public access to over 1.127 million records of 3184 species, species lists for 570 locations and over 50,000 wildlife images and photographic libraries of ACT region species. Around 500 members of the public have added more than 15,000 records to the database, including around a half of all rare plant records ever recorded in the ACT, the first ever record of some significant native plants and potential major weeds (which have now been eradicated). Read more

Canberra Nature Map’s latest addition are invertebrates which includes spiders and insects such as this Steel-blue Sawfly (Perga dorsalis) (W. Pix).

Other news and events:

ParkCare Fringe Forum – ‘Rabbit control in the ACT’ – Thursday 18 August, 5pm-6pm
Oliver Orgill, Vertebrate Pest Co-ordinator with Parks and Conservation Service, has been invited to present this information session. Subjects covered will include current and future monitoring and control programs, including control in urban reserves and national parks, objectives, planning and strategies.
Where: Dame Patti Menzies Building, North Building, 16 Challis Street Dickson. Ground Floor Function Room
RSVP: Friday 12 August to Philip Selmes, Acting ParkCare and Volunteer Coordinator, on Ph. 6205 7384 or email

CSIRO seeking wild rabbit and hare samples
Over the past 8 years FoMM has worked with the Parks and Conservation Service to control rabbits on Mounts Majura and Ainslie with volunteers spending over 1000 hours mapping and collating data at three substantial monitoring sessions. Biocontrol is the most sustainable way to reduce this pest animal which significantly impacts our native plants and animals.

Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is widely used as a biocontrol agent for the control of feral European rabbits in Australia. Currently, only one strain of RHDV is approved for biocontrol purposes, the Czech V-351 strain originally released in 1995. However, over time the effectiveness of this strain has decreased. To improve rabbit biocontrol, the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee are coordinating the release of a new strain of RHDV from Korea (RHDV K5), scheduled for release in Autumn 2017. Additionally, two further strains of RHDV, one from China and one from Europe (RHDV2), were detected in Australia in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Subsequently, RHDV2 has also been detected in hares. To track the distribution, spread and effectiveness of the various RHDV strains present in Australia now and after the K5 release, CSIRO are seeking samples from rabbits and hares that may have died from RHDV. From these samples, they can identify which strains are circulating in the area and how the various strains are interacting in Australian conditions. This will help to improve and guide rabbit biocontrol into the future.

The community can help with this research by collecting or reporting dead rabbits and hares that may have died from RHDV1 or RHDV2 (not shot/killed by humans, nor with other obvious other outward signs of death, such as road kill). Rabbits and hares that have died from RHDV2 typically look physically intact, lying on the side with legs stretched out and the head tilted back. Samples can be dropped off at CSIRO Black Mountain laboratories or you can use the RabbitScan App (available from the App Store or Google Play – search for FeralScan) or website. Full instructions on sampling and storage are available both in the App and on the website. By using FeralScan you can help them track the spread of all of these biocontrol agents and when the results are known, they will update your record and an email notification will be sent to you. Alternatively, you can take a photo of the rabbit or hare using your mobile phone. They can then use the GPS coordinates of the photo to return and collect samples. Click here to find out more or can subscribe to receive updates on rabbit biocontrol and the K5 release here.

National Science Week, 13 -21 August 2016
A host of activities are planned. This year the National Citizen Science project is Wildlife Spotter, recommended by the Inspiring Australia team at Questacon, where you can get online and look at the thousands of photos from cameras set up in the bush all over Australia, and help identify the animals caught by the camera. Great prizes include a school visit by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

Hollows as Homes
A new national program to register tree hollows and the wildlife using them was launched in March 2016 and is coordinated by the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, University of Sydney, and Australian Museum. With the help of the community, this program aims to assess the availability of tree hollows and their use by wildlife across Australia. The Hollows as Homes team wants you to report tree hollows in your backyard, street, park, the bush and/or paddock on the official website. In addition to reporting ‘your’ hollows you can form groups to collectively report hollows and wildlife sightings at larger sites e.g. schools, parks, bush regeneration or landcare sites. Participants will take measurements of the hollow-bearing tree and periodically conduct monitoring and report the wildlife using this important habitat. Training is available through workshops and the website. Although primarily fauna-focussed, the information gathered will clearly also be useful for native tree conservation in urban and agricultural landscapes, and for strengthening the case for protection of some woodland and forest patches. The ANPC encourages everyone to sign up and send in data, and to make the program known through your own networks. For more information contact this email.

Jul 072016

Welcome to the July 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. National Tree Day is on this month! To celebrate, FoMM will be holding two special events: a tree walk on the 24th where you can learn more about the trees on Mt Majura, and a planting party at The Fair on the 31st. Everyone is welcome! A big thank you to the ACT Government’s Woodland Restoration Program which is paying for the plants and the digging of the holes beforehand, and to Greening Australia for growing the seedlings.
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

FoMM activities and news:

National Tree Day 2016 planting party – Sunday 31 July 2016, 1pm to 4pm
Join FoMM to celebrate National Tree Day 2016 with the planting of local trees, shrubs and flowering ground-cover plants. This will be our fourth and final National Tree Day community planting in the nature park behind (east of) “The Fair”. Planting holes have been dug prior to the event and water delivered so all we need are volunteers to get the seedlings into the ground. Enjoy warm-up drinks and Tim Tams! Please come early for a demonstration on how to plant.
Location: Mount Majura nature reserve behind (east of) The Fair in North Watson.
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; please label items with your phone number so that we can reunite any left-behinds with the owner.
Enquiries: to this email or Ph. 6247 7517. Contact number on the day: Ph. 0435 357 172
Click here for more information.

Two volunteers at a previous National Tree Day planting party (W. Pix)

Trees of Mount Majura Walk – Sunday 24 July 2016, 2pm-4pm
Enjoy a winter walk through Mount Majura’s beautiful woodlands and forests. Learn to identify local trees, see where they occur and find out how they survive fire and drought. Local ecologist Michael Doherty will lead this medium grade informative walk along the Casuarina Trail. Walk up to the snow gums then back down to the Black Cypress forest.
Where: Meet at Nature Reserve car park, Mackenzie St near Grayson St, Hackett.
Bring: Sturdy shoes, water, warm clothes, and a gold coin donation for a tree guide.
No bookings required.
Enquiries: this email or Ph. 0408 429 214

Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus rossii). (W. Pix)

Maintenance of Stromlo Depot shadehouse – volunteer required
The shadehouse at the Parks and Conservation Service (PCS) Stromlo Depot has a number of examples of weeds and natives that are kept for the Bush Friendly Garden display at Floriade and for Weeds Officers to use as display examples at talks etc. They are struggling to find the time to keep the plants up to the standard they should be in for presentation. Philip Selmes, ParkCare and Volunteer Coordinator, is asking if anyone would like to drop into Stromlo for an hour a week to become the caretaker of the shadehouse. Beyond maintaining the shadehouse plants, the collection of weeds that are missing, or for replacements, would be part of the duties.  If anyone is interested please email Philip here. Or if you know anyone that may be interested, please pass this message on.

Other items of interest:

AABR FORUM: NSW Launch of the National Standards for the Practice of Ecological in Australia – Thursday, 21 July 2016, 9am to 4:30pm
‘Experience counts – New National Restoration Standards reflect 30 years of repairing Australian Nature’. Register here. Hear presentations about some of the most impressive terrestrial and marine restoration projects in urban and rural Vic, NSW, Qld and SA –  as well as the latest on seed production and genetics for broadscale restoration in fragmented landscapes. Download flyer here.
Location: Teachers Federation Conference Centre, 37 Reservoir St, Surry Hills
Download program here.

State of the World’s Plants
The first report has been released on the State of the World’s Plants – it provides a baseline assessment of current knowledge on the diversity of plants globally and the threats plants are facing. The report indicates that an estimated 391,000 species of vascular plants are known to science, and Australia, Brazil and China are the top three source countries for the identification of new species of vascular plants! It also addresses thirteen questions about our current knowledge and illustrates the incredible amount of information that is already available about the world’s plants but also the significant knowledge gaps. The International Plant Names Index (IPNI) provides the most comprehensive and regularly updated listing of scientific names for vascular plants – IPNI has been produced through collaboration between the Australian National Herbarium, Harvard University and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Download the report here.

Jun 062016

Welcome to the June 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. Ten enthusiastic volunteers turned out on 24 April for a delightful late afternoon stroll up Hancocks Road from Kellaway St to collect a large bag of Cassinia quinquefaria seeds. These were then delivered to Greening Australia to be used for both direct seeding and propagating seedlings for planting. After initial concern that the seeds might not be viable due to the dry conditions, FoMM consulting botanist Isobel Crawford checked the seeds afterwards and found they were fortunately well developed. May they live long and prosper.
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary
Collecting Cassinia quinquefaria seeds along Hancocks Rd. (J. Lynch)

FoMM activities and news:

Working Party @ The Fair – Sunday 19 June, 1pm – 4pm
Give a hand and help transform Mount Majura’s weedy woodland at The Fair into a grassy woodland. Enjoy the view of little woodland birds foraging among planted trees and shrubs and learn about our work to reclaim grassy woodland in the area. Activities will include removing tree guards outgrown by their inhabitants, placing debris of woody weeds around young plants to protect them from grazing damage, spreading wood chip mulch to reduce erosion of bare soil that has resulted from overgrazing, and hand-weeding Paterson’s Curse that competes with native plants for light, nutrients and water. The organisers would appreciate if you could arrive on time for an introduction; give as much of your time as you want.
Meet: Nature park entrance Tay / Ian Nicol Streets, The Fair, North Watson
Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes; tools and afternoon tea will be provided.
Inquiries: to this email
Click here for more information

View towards the southwest at The Fair – left, May 2014 showing the lush green rosettes of Paterson’s Curse and right, May 2016 two years and many hundreds of volunteer hours later. (W. Pix)

Significant finding of Nardoo (Marsilea mutica), a water fern, in the Mt Majura nature reserve
This is the only known site where naturally growing Nardoo is recorded in the ACT – the last record was in 1972 at the mouth of Sullivans Creek. FoMM volunteer Waltraud registered the finding in January 2016 on Canberra Nature Map here, but had to wait until the sporocarps recently appeared to help with the final identification here. Sporocarps are the tissues that bears the spores, and are the feature used to identify the species within the Marsilea genus. Marsilea mutica has globe-shaped (globolus) sporocarps which sets this species apart from the other 4 Marsilea species that naturally occur in NSW.
Nardoo (Marsilea mutica) recently found on a dam at Mt Majura nature reserve. (W. Pix)

Life saver or life taker? Edited version of fascinating ABC Science article Nardoo, the desert fern‘ by Abbie Thomas
In August 1860, Robert O’Hara Burke led an expedition of men, including William John Wills as surveyor, out of Melbourne. Their aim was to be the first people to cross the continent from south to north. Burke and Wills planned to open up a route that would connect the newly invented telegraph line to Europe, via Java. They wanted to investigate a possible route for a railway line and discover if there was an inland sea. Three months after setting out, Burke and Wills set up a base camp in Coopers Creek and were running out of food. They were offered Nardoo by the local Aborigines and gladly accepted it. It satisfied their appetite and soon after, they began to prepare their own Nardoo, grinding it up and mixing it with water to make a thin paste, as they had seen the local people do. Despite eating up to “four or five pounds a day between us”, as Wills notes in his journal, the two explorers grew weaker and thinner and developed symptoms such as shaking legs and a gradually slowing pulse. On Wednesday, June 12, 1861 Wills wrote… “King out collecting nardoo. Mr Bourke and I at home, pounding and cleaning. I still feel myself, if anything, weaker in the legs, although the nardoo appears to be more thoroughly digested.”

Wills couldn’t understand why he seemed to be starving, despite eating so much nardoo. What he didn’t know was that nardoo contains an enzyme called thiaminase that breaks down thiamine (Vitamin B1), making it unavailable to the body. Thiamine, although needed in only tiny amounts, is essential for energy metabolism, nerve and brain function. We need thiamine to make ATP, a complex molecule that provides energy for cells to do work. People with low thiamine levels also produce too much cholinesterase, an enzyme that regulates nerve impulses that, when disrupted, can interfere with the peripheral nervous system. Some other plants also contain thiaminase, such as horsetails and bracken fern, and some types of seafood. Nardoo has 100 times more of this enzyme than bracken. Typical symptoms of thiamine deficiency — a disease known as Beri-Beri — are tremors of the hands, feet and legs, an enlarged heart and weakness. As your body can’t use the food you eat to provide energy to its cells, you slowly starve to death, even if you have enough food.
But there may be worse ways to go. As Wills wrote four days before he died, “Starvation on nardoo is by no means very unpleasant, but for the weakness one feels, and the utter inability to move oneself, for as far as the appetite is concerned, it gives me the greatest satisfaction.” The tragedy of this story is that Nardoo could have saved Burke and Wills. They failed to add the extra step in the preparation of Nardoo that indigenous people followed. Aboriginal people would roast the spore cases (sporocarps), before grinding them. This simple step of adding heat to the process completely breaks down the thiaminase, making it harmless. Nardoo was a such an important food source to Aboriginal people that it was processed in large amounts with so-called ‘Nardoo Mills’ — sets of flat grinding stones scattered around the edges of water courses such as the Willandra Lakes. Perhaps if Burke and Wills had watched the locals more carefully, they might have survived to become the first white men to cross the continent from south to north. Today, cattle and sheep on grazing properties in inland Australia will succumb to Nardoo if they eat enough of it when the sporocarps are present. Although it is fatal to mammals, Nardoo is an important flood-time food for waterfowl.
FoMM Coordinator Max Pouwer

Frogwatch News
Last year as part of a Climate Change Project, weekly frog surveys were undertaken to monitor changes in the onset of frog calls in a warming climate. Ironically, 2015 had the coldest winter months in 20 years. Therefore they are repeating the experiment this year, starting now.
Mt Majura is one of the five locations, which are all linked to historic data about frog calling behaviour in the ACT. They still need volunteers for two of the Mt Majura sites: Mt Majura Dam, bottom, via McKenzie St and Mt Majura Dam, top. Please contact Frogwatch if you can help out or complete this Mt Majura Frogwatch doodle poll. This can be occasional monitoring, adopting a site, 2 months or the entire period. Doing the weekly monitoring is a great way to learn the different frog calls – starting with one or two species over the next two months gradually more species – generally one by one- will join the ever growing chorus, which peaks in spring with up to 8 species calling simultaneously.

Other items of interest:

North Watson development next to Justice Robert Hope Park
Today the Conservation Council ACT Region started mediation in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal over this 4ha development. The Conservation Council’s objections to the development include:

  • loss of woodlands of national significance: removal of large, mature ageing and even decaying trees from the landscape, especially near to quality woodlands, also diminishes those woodlands. The Conservation Council also believes Justice Robert Hope Park is not a suitable offset and that ACTPLA could direct a different offset for the development and does not need to accept a bad decision from the Federal Government.
  • loss of mature trees.
  • decision is inconsistent with advice from Tree Protection Unit which assessed some trees as having no criteria to remove them. However, the Major Project Review Group supported removal of the trees.
  • impacts on Justice Robert Hope Reserve, especially using an existing dam in the reserve as a discharge control pond. The existing dam is an effective frog habitat.
  • inadequate conditions to mitigate urban edge impacts, including that the decision-maker could have set a condition to have consideration of the area as cat containment under the Domestic Animals Act to protect the birdlife of Justice Robert Hope Park.

Petition: Stop the destruction of the Murrumbidgee River corridor
Two housing development proposals called Thompson and West Belconnen threaten endangered and vulnerable species of flora and fauna along the Murrumbidgee corridor, including endangered Yellow Box Red Gum grassy woodland. The petition calls on the ACT government to protect the river for future generations. Sign the petition here.

Temperate Grassland of the South Eastern Highlands, a critically endangered ecological community
The previously listed Natural Temperate Grassland of the Southern Tablelands of NSW and the ACT has been replaced by a new listing and definition, which has extended its distribution and range, altitude, habitat and threatened status, under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC). Distribution ranges from Orange and beyond in the north to East Gippsland in Victoria, west to beyond Tumut and east to the Dividing Range, including many significant sites in the ACT. For further details see the Conservation Council’s blog prepared by Sarah Sharp, ecologist and founder of Friends of Grasslands.

RegenTV video platform is set to take off over the next 3 years
With funding from the NSW Environmental Trust, the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR) is developing a video based educational resource. RegenTV will officially launch at AABR’s 30th anniversary in Sydney in July, but it’s already taking shape. They have recently added two field day videos and five conference presentations. Have a look here at its interim home, and check in often to watch it grow.

Orchids: The Masters Of Lying, Cheating & Stealing
We highly recommend watching this new YouTube video on what makes orchids so unique, developed by the Orchid Specialist Group of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. It even refers to Australians building fences to protect threatened spider orchids from grazing rabbits and kangaroos, just like we do on Mt Majura.

May 192016

Welcome to the May 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. FoMM would like to extend a big thank you to ACT Parks & Conservation Service rangers Bethany, Anthony, Patrick, and Craig for their terrific work at our April working bee helping to remove a grove of large African olives, Firethorn and Cotoneaster growing on public land next to the nature reserve at the Mackenzie Street car park. It is suspected that the African Olives were the parents of many of the olives growing and removed in the reserve; this will save us many hundreds of hours of work on Mt Majura. The plan is to replace the woody weeds with bottle brushes later in the winter.
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

FoMM Coordinator, Max Pouwer, with four PCS Rangers removing woody weeds from public land on Mackenzie St.  (W. Pix)

FoMM activities and news:

Fair Working Party – Sunday 15 May, 1-4pm
Give some TLC to the young trees and shrubs planted in the nature reserve @ The Fair. Help build caches of woody weed debris around the young plants to protect them from grazing damage; remove pesky Paterson’s Curse that competes with our plantings for light, nutrients and water and learn about the process and the obstacles of reclaiming grassy woodland and a shrub-lined gully that are under attack by herbivores and introduced plant species. Come early for an introduction and give as much of your time as you want.
Meet: Nature park entrance Tay / Ian Nicol Streets, The Fair, North Watson
Bring and wear: Sun protection, long sleeves and sturdy shoes; tools and afternoon tea will be provided.
Enquiries: email here
Click here for more information

This grazed Spiny Bitterpea, Daviesia genistifolia needs woody weed debris protection from herbivores. (W. Pix)

Bird Walk – Sunday 15 May, 8am-10am
Walk through the woodlands with bird enthusiast Peter Miller to spot, observe, listen to, identify and learn about the amazing variety of birds on Mt Majura.
Meet: at the nature reserve entrance off Antil St, Watson between Prime and the roundabout with Aspinall St.
Please Bring: binoculars, walking boots, water, Gold Coin donation for a bird list.
Enquiries: 6248 8955
Click here for more information

Male Scarlet Robin, Wamboin, NSW. (D. Cook)

Swift Parrots on Mt Majura – update
As reported in the April newsletter, there was a sighting of at least three Critically Endangered Swift Parrots on Mt Majura in March. We can now report that there were quite a number of Swift Parrot sightings around the Hackett water tank at this time – for example, on 4 April 2016, Martin Butterfield wrote on Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list: “A minimum of 8 Swift Parrots at the Hackett Water Tanks this morning.  By 11:30 they were coming down to drink in the drain and giving good opportunities for a competent photographer.”

Swift Parrot at Mount Majura. (Dusty, Canberra Nature Map, 9 April 2016)

Other items of interest:

Biodiversity Offsets Forum – Thursday 26 May, 12–2pm
Biodiversity offsets in the ACT are yet to demonstrate gains for biodiversity, with the ACT Government’s offset policy framework released in 2015. Join the Conservation Council ACT Region to discuss the state of offset policy at Alan Barton Forum, ANU College Business & Economics, Kingsley St, Acton. Are Governance arrangements up to date? When will we be able to see net biodiversity gains? Speakers:
Kate Auty – Commissioner for Sustainability & Environment
Dr Philip Gibbons – Fenner School Environment & Society
Kathryn Tracy – Nature Conservation Policy, ACT Environment & Planning Directorate
Click here to register

Birdwatching for Beginners – Sunday 28 May, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Struggling with your bird identification? Always hearing bird calls and never know what you’re listening to? Never quite getting your binoculars to adjust to the right settings? Then this short course with Canberra Ornithologists Group is for you! Join us for a session on the basics of birdwatching, followed by a walk around the Wetlands to put your now-found knowledge into practice. Morning tea provided. Note that the group will be divided into smaller groups for the walk, each with a bird expert. Please bring binoculars if you have them. Meet at Jerrabomberra Wetlands Office, 2 Dairy Road, Fyshwick. Cost: $35. For more information contact Lori Gould Ph. 0439030058 or Email 
Click here to book your place

National Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration in Australia – now available online
These national Standards were launched at The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan on March 15 2016 by the federal Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews. The Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA) and 12 partner organisations collaborated and developed the Standards over the last three years. They are designed to encourage all restoration and rehabilitation projects in Australia to reach their highest potential. The Standards list (a) the principles that underpin current best practice ecological restoration and (b) the steps required to plan, implement and monitor restoration projects to increase their chance of success. They are applicable to any Australian ecosystem (whether terrestrial or aquatic) and any sector (whether private or public sector, mandatory or non-mandatory). Download the Standards here.

Apr 162016

Welcome to the April 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. Exciting news! Swift Parrots were spotted by two locals on March 31 around 9am at the Hackett Tank on Mt Majura. There were at least 3 birds, possibly more. Thank you very much to everyone who attended our Woody Weeds Working Party in March, approximately a dozen volunteers turned out to help remove Briar Rose and Hawthorn and much was achieved. This month we will be working on public land outside the reserve for a change – to remove a large source of woody weeds. Each year FoMM volunteers work hundreds of hours to remove environmental woody weeds from Mt Majura’s bushland (see the 2015 woody weed work report). This is an ongoing process unless the supply from of public land and gardens is interrupted, so please have a close look next time you are in the garden!
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

Woody Weeds Work Party – Sunday 17 April 2016
A wall of woody weeds at the bottom of a creek line provides a continuous supply of bush invaders – come and help remove this source of environmental weeds! FoMM recently received permission to remove a grove of large African olives, Firethorn and Cotoneaster growing on public land that abuts the nature reserve. African olives are the most prevalent woody weeds uphill of the transmission lines east of Mackenzie Street. Rangers have talked to nearby residents who are happy for the weeds to be removed but who are too frail to be involved in the work. Tools and morning tea provided. This is also an opportunity to meet our new ranger Bethany, who will come and help remove very large African olives with a chainsaw. Hands needed to upload the cut material onto a large forestry trailer provided by PCS, debris will be carted to Canberra Sand and Gravel Green Waste in Mitchell.
Where: car park Mackenzie Street roughly opposite Grayson Street, Hackett.
Bring and Wear: Sun protection, body covering garden clothing
Enquiries: this email

African Olive, Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata, a common woody weed of Mt Majura nature reserve. (W.Pix).

Fridays @ The Fair
Great progress has been made over the last 6 months at The Fair site. With wonderful assistance from the Green Army and Conservation Volunteers Australia, huge gains have been made on the woody weed front. The gully north of the planting site is now close to woody weed free! We are also continuing to reduce the presence of herbaceous weeds and remove outgrown tree guards, replacing them with woody debris to protect plants from grazing. The site is gradually transforming from bare ground to an open grassy woodland providing habitat for birds and reptiles, which is very satisfying. If you are free on Friday mornings we would love to see you, more volunteers are always appreciated!

The beautiful Blue Devil (Eryngium ovinum) is now thriving at The Fair due to protection from Kangaroo Grazing using woody debris (J. Lynch)

Seed Collection afternoon, Saturday 16 April at 4 pm
Come along on an afternoon stroll along Hancock Road to collect seeds of Cassinia quinquefaria and enjoy a spectacular sunset on the ridge. Minimum participation of 2; reply to this email to book a place!

Cassinia quinquefaria seeding. (J. Lynch)

New – Online Volunteer Registration Form

For all of you who regularly volunteer with FoMM, ACT Parks and Conservation Service (PCS) has changed the way volunteers are insured while helping with the various tasks we undertake. People who volunteer on a regular basis are required to individually register with the ACT as a volunteer. This doesn’t apply to people who only join us 2 or 3 times a year, they are covered by signing the volunteer sheet on the day. Could everybody else please go to this website and register as a ParkCare volunteer. Go to the bottom of the page and click on the link (online form) in the very last paragraph. From there the rest is pretty easy to follow. It should only take about 5 – 10 minutes to complete. Sorry about the extra work but we have been told that this new arrangement saves PCS a lot of money which they can now spend on more important causes. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Ph. 6205 7384 or email Philip Selmes, the Acting ParkCare and Volunteer Coordinator.

Hackett community contact day – Saturday 30 April, 9am – 1pm
The Hackett Community Association is sponsoring another Community Contact Day this year. Hackett Neighbourhood Watch, Action Buses and Capital Metro and Hackett Preschool (who will also be running a cake stall) have confirmed their attendance. Can you help staff a FoMM table during this time? The table will be set up at 8.30am with a Woody Weed theme. Please reply to this email of you can help. It’s a great chance to meet members of the Hackett community and other organisations attending on the day. There will also be a sausage sizzle held.

Kangaroo Counts 2016
It’s that time of year again and there are a bunch of kangaroos which need a-counting! Dr Melissa Snape from Conservation Planning and Research, is looking for volunteers to help carry out a few sweep counts – this year at Mt Painter, Dunnarts Flat (in Goorooyarroo) and Gungaderra Nature Reserves. Her plan is to nominate some dates and then pick which sites we do on which days depending on how many people are available. The dates are: Wednesday 20th April, Thursday 21st April, Thursday 28th April and Thursday 4th May. They’ll also possibly be after a couple of people on the 27th of April and possibly the 3rd May. If you’re interested in taking part and available on these dates, please email Melissa ASAP with your availability (morning and/or afternoon) and any dietary requirements as for the full day counts lunch and refreshments will be provided. No experience necessary – you’ll get a briefing on the day.

Next ParkCare Fringe Forum ‘Fire in the Landscape’, Wednesday 20 April, 5-6pm
This will include a presentation and discussion of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service (PCS) produced Bushfire Operations Plan (BOP), the current and future burning programs, how we might use fire in the landscape and the ecological effects. The Forum will be presented by Dr Adam Leavesley, PCS Fire Management Officer and Tony Scherl, PCS Senior Fire Management Officer. PCS are often approached by volunteers with all manner of enquiries regarding this subject. Have some of your questions answered.
Where: Ground Floor Function Room, Dame Patti Menzies Building, North Building, 16 Challis Street Dickson
RSVP: Friday 15 April to this email

April Environment Exchange: biodiversity offsets – Thursday 28 April, 12-2pm

Biodiversity offsets remain a contentious practice in the ACT, with the 2015 State of the Environment Report confirming offsets are not yet demonstrating any gain for biodiversity, or ensuring no net loss. The ACT Government’s offset policy framework released in 2015 seeks to address some issues. Join the Conservation Council to discuss the state of offset policy and what can be done about it. Are Governance arrangements up to date?  When will we be able to see net biodiversity gains?
Where: Alan Barton Forum, ANU College of Business & Economics, Kingsley St, Acton

Discover the Bush on the Boundary – ACT catchment groups art exhibition & awards
It is no coincidence that the ACT border primarily follows the watersheds marking out the catchment areas from the surrounding region; they define the pre-existing traditional Aboriginal territory and country. ‘Bush on the Boundary’ provides the scope for artists to portray the catchment areas in their natural state, juxtaposed by the impacts of urbanisation on the environment, its flora and fauna, and people.
When: Don’t miss the opening at 5:30pm, Monday 11 April, and the exhibition runs 11 – 15 April.
Where: The Foyer, ActewAGL House, 40 Bunda Street, Civic
Click here for more information


Copyright © 2016 Friends of Mount Majura, All rights reserved.

Mar 102016

Welcome to the March 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. We had a great turn out for our Ant Walk on 14 February. Thank you to ant specialist Ajay Narendra for another fascinating talk on some of the ant species that can be found on Mt Majura. The ant fauna of Australia is especially large and diverse. World-wide there are about 15,000 species and subspecies of ants and Australia is currently known to have about 1300 species and subspecies. Many of you would have seen evidence of the common Meat Ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus) on Mt Majura, which only occurs in Australia. Their large, oval-shaped nest mounds are always in open, warm areas cleared of vegetation and covered in gravel. Meat Ants are active during the day and collect sweet substances such as honeydew and nectar on trees and also capture insects or collect the remains of animals. They bite but don’t sting. Have a closer look next time you are on the mountain!
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

Ant Walk participants inspecting a Meat Ant nest. (J. Lynch)

Woody Weeds Working Party – Sunday 20 March, 9am – 12 noon
Please come to our monthly working party and help remove Briar Rose and Hawthorn at the northwest corner of the Mt Majura nature reserve. We will be controlling the weeds using the cut & dab method – this involves cutting the woody stems and dabbing the cut surface with the herbicide glyphosate. If you don’t want to use herbicide, you may choose to hand remove rose hips and hawthorn fruits or hand weed herbaceous weeds using mattocks and trowels. More volunteers are needed! Give as much of your time as you want. No experience required however novice weeders are requested to come early for an introduction.
Where: Nature park east of The Fair, North Watson; access nature park entrance Tay / Ian Nicol Streets
Bring and wear: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, body-covering clothing; tools will be provided.
Inquiries: Reply to this email.
Click here for more information.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) at The Fair. Birds eat the berries and spread the seed throughout the bush. (W. Pix)

Canberra Nature Map – you can now record your bird sightings!
Do you regularly go bushwalking on Mt Majura and take your phone or digital camera with you? Did you know you can take photos of plants, birds and reptiles and easily upload them to Canberra Nature Map? These reports greatly add to our knowledge of what it out there, there is still much that we don’t know, and you can help! Download the phone app here.

This stunning photo of a Brown Goshawk was recently taken on Mount Majura by ‘Dusty’ and uploaded to Canberra Nature Map.

ParkCare Fringe Forum ‘Future Weed Control in the ACT’ – Wednesday 9 March 5-6pm
Controlling invasive weeds is one of the most important and time consuming activities undertaken by the government and volunteers involved in environmental rehabilitation. Steve Taylor, Senior Weed Management Officer with the Parks and Conservation Service and Jenny Conolly, Pest and Weeds Officer with Parks and Territory Services, will present this information session on weeds, their growth, spread, impact and control in the ACT. Subjects covered will include current and future weed control, the role of ArcGis and Collector, planning, strategies, budgets, new and emerging weed species and control in urban reserves vs national parks. Location: Dame Patti Menzies Building, North Building, 16 Challis Street Dickson in the Ground Floor Function Room.

State of the Environment report 2015
The 2015 State of the Environment report for the ACT was released on 18 February 2016 and provides a detailed analysis of the complex factors that affect animals, plants, water, land, air and our climate here in the ACT. The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment prepares a State of the Environment Report for the Minister for the Environment every four years. This is the seventh report since 1993. It covers the reporting period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2015.

Discover our bush treasures at the 2016 Heritage Festival, 2-8 April 2016
This April, the Conservation Council ACT Region will be going bush and exploring new and old reserves at the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival, and discovering the natural and cultural treasures that can be found right in our backyards and consider the threats to their survival. Reserve your place now.
Discover Kama, 5 April 7:30am, Kama Nature Reserve: Get up with the birds and explore one of Canberra’s newest reserves with local experts from Friends of Grasslands and Canberra Ornithologists Group.
Tell Your Story, 9 April 10:00am, Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve: Become a part of your local history and share your stories about this beautiful reserve.
Sneak Peek at Kinlyside, 14 April 10:00am, Kinlyside Nature Reserve: Don’t miss this rare opportunity as we unlock a unique combination of working farm and conservation area.
Red Hill Heritage Walk, 17 April 10:00am, Red Hill Nature Reserve: Brush up on the history of this intriguing reserve while its future is being decided.

Feb 112016

Welcome to the February 2016 edition of the FoMM newsletter. For your information, the ACT Parks and Conservation Service is planning two prescribed burns in the coming months in Mt Majura reserve, to limit the potential spread of bushfire. Prescribed burns are of low intensity and conducted by experienced fire managers, supported by trained firefighters. They aim to protect assets such as homes and promote the ecological diversity of our bushland areas. Every effort is made to conduct burns in weather conditions that will minimise the impact of smoke on residents. Click here for more information, see maps and download bushfire operation plans.
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

FoMM activities and news:

Ant Walk – Sunday 14 February, 4pm – 5:30pm
Join ANU ant specialist Ajay Narendra to learn amazing things about jack-jumpers and other ants that live on Mount Majura. Ants are fascinating, beautiful and fun to watch. Some ants have a painful sting, and others only bite. Some ants are coloured, or scented, or hairy. Some pretend to be spiders, a few have excellent eyesight, and one species can jump! Kids accompanied by adults are especially welcome.
Where: Helms Place Mt Majura nature park entrance (near junction of Rivett and Richards Streets)
Information : Ph. 0408 429 214 or this email
Bring and wear: a magnifying lens, sun protection and covered shoes. Please bring a gold coin donation.
It is important to notify us if you are allergic to ants or bee stings.
Click here for more information.

Jack Jumpers use their impressive jaws to catch and hold prey and a sting to defend themselves and their nest (Photo A. Narendra).

Weeds Working Party – Sunday 21 February 9am – 12noon
We will continue work to remove woody weeds from the gully south of Valour park. This work involves cutting stems of woody plants and dabbing the cut surface with the herbicide glyphosate; volunteers who don’t want to use herbicide may choose hand removing herbaceous weeds such as Viper’s Bugloss, horehound or thistles. Control of woody weeds using the cut & dab method and hand removing herbaceous weeds using mattocks and trowels.Come early for an introduction; give as much of your time as you want.
Where: Nature park east of The Fair, North Watson; access nature park entrance Tay / Ian Nicol Sts.
Bring and wear:
Sun protection, sturdy shoes, body-covering clothing; tools will be provided.
Click here for more information.

Flowering Viper’s Bugloss, Echinum vulgare @ The Fair (W.Pix)

Clean Up Australia Day at Mt Majura – Sunday 6 March, 10am – 12noon
FoMM will be hosting a Clean-up Australia Day event again this year. Please come and join us. Register for the Mt Majura Bush Clean-Up event here or just come along. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Australians help clean up their environment on Clean-Up Australia Day. Learn more about Clean-Up Australia here.
Where: Volunteer registration at the nature park entrance at Kellaway Street, Hackett.
Bring and wear:  your friends and family, sun protection, drinking water, enclosed shoes, long sleeves and pants; we’ll provide gloves and rubbish collection bags.
Inquiries: Email or Ph. 6247 7515
Click here for more information.

Clean up kids (W.Pix)

Canberra Nature Map (CNM) is now on Android!
A major milestone, the new CNM Android app went live in the early hours of 18 January and is available here. Well done Aaron! This version provides full support for CNM’s new Groups (Plants / Reptiles+Frogs / Butterflies / Birds) as well as full support for the new multi-level Sub-Categories in our taxonomy (E.g. Wildflowers -> Daisies). This means that you can drill down into a very specific area much more easily when both reporting new sightings and also viewing species guides either generally, or within a specific Nature Park. It works 100% offline without any mobile reception which was one of the core principles of the original design, so you can rely on it when in remote areas. We need your feedback! If you have an Android device, your feedback is really important (both good and bad) so that we can continuously improve. The iPhone app will also soon receive a make-over to bring it up to speed. Visit the Canberra Nature Map website for more information.
Lichen at Mt Majura (Dusty)
A lichen on Mt Majura recorded on CNM (Dusty)

Other items of interest:

Black Mountain Nature Reserve: A Special Place Exhibition – 17 February – 15 March, 9.30am – 4.30pm
Created by the Friends of Black Mountain Park Care group, together with Molonglo Catchment Group, this free exhibition at the Australian National Botanic Gardens highlights the natural and cultural history of Black Mountain. It features a series of panels displaying beautiful photographs and up to date information about this special place.

National Standards for Ecological Restoration in Australia
The Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA) has released these draft Standards for public comment. The Standards have been designed to encourage all restoration and rehabilitation projects in Australia to reach their highest potential. SERA and 12 partner organisations, collaborated and developed the national Standards over the last three years – carefully considering the needs of all stakeholders. Public comment closes on COB 15 February 2016. The final version will be accompanied by an online interpretation that will be illustrated by examples. Both are scheduled to be launched on March 15th 2016 at the National Seed Science Forum in Sydney. Click here for more information and to download the Standards.