FoMM Newsletter January 2023

We wish all the friends of Mount Majura a happy new year. In the old year, 2022, some 96 individuals contributed a total 3,393 hours working with us in the nature reserve, mostly weeding. Anyone can join in our activities; no experience is necessary. You don’t need to make a regular commitment – even turning up to one session makes a difference. At the start of a new year, make a resolution to give something back to this special place, an important grassy woodland which is rich in wildlife and beautiful flora.

Twilight Weeding

We have resumed our summer evening weeding sessions at The Fair site in North Watson, tackling St John’s Wort which is growing amid dense patches of wildflowers. As well as the masses of yellow Clustered and Sticky Everlastings, we find other wildflowers growing, most recently the Australian Trefoil (Lotus australis).

St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is highly invasive, spreading by growing outwards from roots and also by seeding. We are hand pulling the weeds from the wildflower patches to remove some of the roots. We also bag the flowerheads to prevent the spread of seeds.

Join us on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm until 7.30pm. Meet at the Tay & Ian Nicol Streets entrance to the nature reserve in North Watson.

Lotus australis growing on Mount Majura, photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map

Third Sunday working party 15 January 9am to noon

We’ll be tackling St John’s Wort, again! It is a huge task after three years of La Nina rainfall, but very satisfying when a patch of wildflowers has been cleared of it. Meet at the Tay & Ian Nicol Streets entrance to the nature reserve in North Watson. Stay only as long as you have time to spare. We’ll be working amid the wildflowers growing near Clancy’s Track, patch 1 on this map

Bring sun protection and drinking water; wear sturdy shoes and clothes which cover your limbs; garden gloves if you have them. We provide hand sanitiser, tools, gloves, and a delicious cake for morning tea.

You can read more information about St John’s Wort on our website here

A beautiful patch of Clustered Everlastings (Chrysocephalum semipapposum) and Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans) after being freed of St John’s Wort. Photo Waltraud Pix.

Monday at The Fair

Every week a group of FoMM volunteers works at The Fair site in North Watson. Meet us any Monday at 9.30am at the nature park entrance near Tay & Ian Nicol Streets. No experience necessary – you will learn from others who will happily share their knowledge.

If you’ve read this far, you won’t be surprised to learn that we are currently concentrating on hand-pulling St John’s Wort – not a difficult task, while the soil is moist. The time goes quickly when the tedious weeding task is accomplished in good company.

But we do other tasks as well. This photo shows Barbara mapping Chilean Needle Grass (Nassella neesiana) using the Parks & Conservation Service field mapping app on her phone, to identify its location for treatment by rangers. Photo Margy Burn.

Deer on Mount Majura

As this article in The Riot Act reveals, feral deer are a pest across Canberra’s nature reserves. And sorry to say, evidence of deer has been seen on Mount Majura, and reported to Rangers. See these photographs posted to the Canberra Nature Map.

And finally….

Even though it can be dispiriting to see the expansion of St John’s Wort, at least we see the difference our work makes. This photo of volunteer Jenni in a patch of Hirschfeldia (Mustard weed) – not taken at Mount Majura – shows how much worse things could be without our labours.

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