Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter March 2014

Welcome to the March edition of the FoMM newsletter. We have all breathed a sigh of relief after all the rain over the last few weeks. It means we don’t have to water all the National Tree Day seedlings again and they are flourishing. However, it also means that many weeds are now actively growing, so it’s an important time of the year to lend a hand at keeping them at bay. We would love to see you at our next working bee on Sunday 16 March!
Best regards,
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

FoMM activities and news:

Aboriginal stone axe found on Mt Majura!
Friend of Mount Majura and archaeologist Michael Hermes of Ainslie was walking on the western slopes of Mt Majura a couple of weeks ago when he found a rather fine example of an Aboriginal stone hatchet head or axe lying in an eroded track. It would have originally been hafted with a wooden handle which has long since disappeared. This type of tool is hard to date when found in the open, but similar ones have been found in very ancient cave deposits in Australia, and they were still in use in the nineteenth century on the Limestone Plains.  An Aboriginal stone quarry was identified 30 years ago near Cooma, which may be the source of this grey/blue fine grain volcanic rock.

Euroka Gilbert of the ACT Government Heritage Unit has inspected the find and has relocated it, so that it will not be removed by anyone. He said that the community is in favour of such items staying in the landscape whenever possible. It is of course an offence to take stone artefacts from the bush.

Michael has volunteered to help FoMM/Mt Ainslie Weeders if anyone finds objects during their work on the mountains which they think may be of Aboriginal heritage significance.  Best practice is to leave it where you find it, get a GPS location and a photo or two of the artefact and the surrounds. But if you are certain of any item, the ACT Heritage Unit should be notified.

Aboriginal Axehead with handle Mt Majura 24.02.2014DSCN0565    Aboriginal Axehead Mt Majura 24.02.2014
1/ Aboriginal axe head found on Mt Majura. 2/ Entire view (top) frontal view of sharp edge (bottom (Photographs Waltraud Pix 24.02.2014).

Working Bee – Sunday 16 March, 9am – 1pm
Once a year the Friends of Mt Majura and fellow ParkCare group The Mount Ainslie Weeders host a joint working party at our “Common”, a grassy woodland below the saddle of Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie. Join us if you can for an hour or more to tackle woody weeds.
Where: Meet at the nature park entrance, corner of Kellaway Street and Phillip Avenue, Hackett;
What to bring and wear: Sun protection, sturdy boots, and body covering garden clothing. We’ll provide the tools and refreshments. Novice weeders are encouraged to come early for an induction on target weeds and on the save handling of equipment and herbicide.
Enquires: phone 6247 7515 or e-mail convenor@majura.org
Click here for more information


Yellow Buttons are spreading in the grassy woodland below the saddle between Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura following the removal of woody and herbaceous weeds (Photograph Waltraud Pix, 28.12.2012). 

FoMM Draft Program
Time to plan ahead! The draft FoMM program to July 2014 is now up on the FoMM Website: http://majura.org/2014/03/01/friends-of-mt-majura-fomm-draft-program-jan-jul-2014/

Weed Swap – Weekend of 29-30 March
Weed Swap is an opportunity to replace environmental weeds growing in Canberra’s gardens with free locally grown native plants. For further details go to http://majura.org/2007/11/03/weed-swap/. FoMM will be hosting an information table at the Hackett shopping centre in the week leading up to weed swap. If you pass by grab the popular Grow me instead guide and other useful pamphlets.

Journeys of our Natural Treasures: Heritage Festival April 2014
Celebrate this year’s Heritage Festival theme “Journeys” with an exploration of the Majura Landscape. Experience the subtle transition of Mount Majura from a bright and colourful woodland to a dusky mysterious world or the transformation of the raw beauty of Watson Woodlands to artistic expression on canvas and camera alike.
1/ Brushstrokes in the Bush, 6 April 10:30am – 12:30pm, Justice Robert Hope Park (Watson Woodlands). Get creative and discover the beauty of nature through art.  2/ Spotlight at Night, 16 April 5:30pm – 7:30pm, Mount Majura Nature Reserve. Stroll through the darkening woodland and seek out the creatures of the night by torchlight. Find out more about these unique events and reserve your place by visiting www.conservationcouncil.org.au/events

Kangaroo forum  – Wednesday 9 April, 9.30am – 4.30pm
The Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand EIANZ (ACT) is hosting a forum on the environmental impacts of kangaroos at the Common Room, University House, Australian National University. Please see link below for more details including RSVP http://www.eianz.org/eventsplus/category/australian-capital-territory

Staff of the Parks and Conservation Service and Conservation, Planning and Research plan an evening information session on the same topic in April; if you want to be kept posted please contact Jasmine Foxlee, ParkCare and Volunteer Coordinator at Jasmine.Foxlee@act.gov.au.

Fridays at the Fair
We have recently been undertaking varied activities such as seed collecting, GIS mapping, woody weed eradication and placing woody debris around the National Tree Day seedlings to protect them from kangaroo grazing. The trees are doing really well after all the rain. If you are free on a Friday morning, why not join us to help restore the endangered Yellow Box/Red GumGrassy Woodlands.
Where: We meet every Friday from 9.30 am to 12.00 noon (except on holidays) in the nature reserve east of The Fair. Meet at the nature park access cnr of Tay and Ian Nicol Streets North Watson.
What to bring: Bring appropriate clothing, drinking water and sun protection.
Click here for more information

Canberra Nature Map: New Monitoring Technology
At the FoMM Committee meeting on 26 February, one of our volunteers, Aaron Clausen, gave an introduction into how to use this great new website he recently developed http://canberranaturemap.org. It will greatly assist us in recording and monitoring rare plants on the mountain. Further details will be provided in the April FoMM newsletter, so stay tuned.

The Ant Walk on 2 March
This was a great success! Go here to see some photos from the start of the walk. We hope ANU ant specialist Ajay Narendra will lead another walk soon.

Other items of interest:

Gang-Gang cockatoo Survey – Sunday 2 March, 4 – 5.30pm
Get your binoculars out! To commemorate their 50th year of birding in the ACT, Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) has initiated an exciting citizen science project to engage the Canberra community in surveying the much loved Gang-Gang cockatoo across our gardens, nature reserves and other urban spaces in the ACT. The survey started on 1 Feb 2014 and is designed to find out more about the urban habitat and behaviour of this popular bird. For an overview of the project go to: http://canberrabirds.org.au/ and click on the ‘Gang-gang Project’ at the bottom of the page. To sign up go to: http://root.ala.org.au/bdrs-core/cog/home.htm

ACT Explore Program
Meet a Corroboree Frog, learn how to throw a boomerang or join a ranger guided walk of the Settlers Track in Namadgi National Park. The ACT Government’s Explore Program for March is now available at http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/554224/Explore-Program-March-2014.pdf

Orchid talk – Wednesday 5 March
Mark Clements will be giving a talk on the underground orchid Rhizanthella slateri at the Canberra Orchid Society meeting this coming Wednesday night 5 March at the Seventh Day Adventist Hall on the corner of Gould and Macleay St, Turner, ACT. The meeting opens at 8.00pm

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