FoMM Newsletter – June 2024

Woody Weeds Working Party on Sunday 16 June, 1 – 4 pm

Join in the working party of the Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) in the endangered grassy woodlands of Mt Majura’s west slopes on Sunday,16 June 2024, from 1.00pm to 4.00pm.

Meet at the nature park entrance off Kellaway Street Car Park at the southern end of Hackett; view the website for more information and a map of the meeting point and work area which we call “The Common”.

The target weeds include the garden escapee Asparagus and Cootamundra Wattle, a beautiful native which does not belong in our local environment, where it is an aggressive coloniser. We will be taking out the weeds with secateurs, saws and loppers, then applying herbicide. If you don’t wish to apply herbicide you can be the ‘spotter’ or you can cut the weeds or map the treated areas.
Wear clothes which cover your limbs and sturdy shoes; garden gloves if you have them. Bring sun protection and drinking water. We provide gloves, tools and a delicious homemade cake for an afternoon snack. All welcome; no experience necessary.

Novice weeders are encouraged to be early for an introduction of the target weeds and the safe handling of equipment and herbicide. You will be working in pairs or small groups.

Weeders from FoMM and Ainslie Weeders enjoy a morning tea break at The Common in May.


The Common has a variety of weeds to be tackled, and plenty of them as we found in May when we worked with the Ainslie Weeders. There will be plenty more to find in other sections of The Common in June. Garden Asparagus is quite common in this area and easily spotted while its fronds are yellow. If the conditions are right the asparagus crowns can be dug out using large garden forks, and then bagged with any berries from the fronds, but if the soil is dry and the digging too hard, we will leave this for another time.

Information on garden plants that became environmental weeds is available at our working bees.

Asparagus on Mount Majura – Photo Canberra Nature Mapr

Birds in The Common area, Way Back When and Now

For a great story about vegetation and birdlife in The Common area, see a report from Rainer Rehwinkel available on his FaceBook post of 15 May. Rainer as a child lived on the boundary and he compares the current situation with what it was like in the 1960s to mid 1970s and in the mid 1990s.  See

“So, the take-home from this is that there can be positive environmental news. It may take time, almost a lifetime in the case of the formerly grazed and exotic dominated pastures on the lower slopes of Mt Ainslie. But I’ve seen this transformation back to a healthy, functioning, Box-Gum Grassy Woodland in my lifetime. There is hope for our critically endangered woodlands … they just need a bit of loving care and some time.”

There is an eBird Trip Report for this: and keep up the loving care for our endangered Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands.

Winter Bird Walk: Sunday 23rd June: 8-10am

Meet: at Mt Majura nature reserve entrance gate off Tay St & Ian Nicol St, The Fair, North Watson.

What: Walk with bird enthusiast Peter Miller through grassy woodland to spot, observe, listen to and learn about the amazing variety of birds on Mt Majura. We plan to walk on rough foot tracks, and off track on uneven ground.

Bring: Sturdy shoes, binoculars, camera, Bird ID app or handbook if you have them. Gold coin donation for bird list.

A group of White Winged Choughs, Corcorax melanorhamphos, foraging near Clancy’s track earlier this year. Photo by Waltraud Pix, courtesy of Canberra NatureMapr. White wings? Yes! The wings have some white when they are spread.

Trees and Shrubs Walk: Sunday 30th June: 2-4 pm

Meet: Nature Reserve car park, Mackenzie St near Grayson St, Hackett.

What: Join Ecologist Michael Doherty for an informative walk to learn about trees and shrubs of Mt Majura, and how to identify them. We will follow fire trails, mainly on lower slopes (easy), and possibly up a slope (medium) to see Snow Gums.

Bring: sturdy shoes, drinking water, warm clothes.

For more information on both walks and maps of the meeting locations, see the FoMM website here.

Urn Heath, Melichrus urceolatus, a small shrub which flowers for a long period from April right through the winter months. Photo courtesy of Canberra NatureMapr.

Another New Weed Species for Mt Majura

This new plant species, called Nettle-leaf Goosefoot Chenopodium murale seems to be rather innocuous; the leaves are even said to be edible. Ranger Steve found it growing in a high nutrient soil location under native cherry trees when he and a team of other rangers were searching in the wider Fair area for the more troublesome Inkweed Phytolacca octandra – click on the scientific names to see photos of these weeds.

Prize Winning Nature Photography Exhibition

Canberra NatureMapr had a photography competition recently and now the prize winning pictures are in an exhibition at the Discovery Centre at the CSIRO Black Mountain site, Clunies Ross St, Acton, on display on weekdays until 27th June, right next to the cafe. For more information and a link to the list of prize winners see here. It’s an exhibition to inspire joy and wonder and to showcase the beauty of our natural environment – worth conserving!

Have Your Say on Nature Conservation – click the heading to go to the website

The ACT government is to conduct a review of the Nature Conservation Act 2014 and the ACT Nature Conservation Strategy . They are calling for public comments on how well the Act has achieved its objectives and for discussion on opportunities for improvement for nature conservation in general. The Act is more than 330 pages long and but there are useful links on the Have Your Say webpage to a discussion paper and more information about the Act as it is now in a questions and answers section here. As the Act is the chief legislation for the protection of native plants and animals in the ACT and for the management of the conservation reserve network, it has a big role to play in the future of our environment.  And its interactions with other legislation governing our urban areas deserve scrutiny – for example the Urban Forest Act 2023 and the Pest Plants and Animals (Pest Plants) Declaration 2015.  The separation of the management of the Reserves from the management of urban green spaces does not bode well for environmental connectivity so essential for biodiversity conservation.
So that’s my view … Have your say on how to improve things for nature.
Submissions close 1 July 2024.

Nature in the city – Antill Street green space, May 2024. Red marks invasive species including Nettle Trees, Desert Ash and Privets.
We could do better!
Nature in the city – wildflowers and native grasses direct sown along a Melbourne street. Melbourne News 28 March 2024.

Track Upgrades at Mt Majura

Parts of both Clancy’s Track near The Fair and the Casuarina Track at the Hackett end of the Reserve are undergoing some maintenance work to improve them by diverting water away from the tracks and removing or smoothing rough patches to provide better accessibility for all walkers.
And for those who like to explore further afield…
Ginninderry Conservation Corridor New Walking Tracks

Stop Press:

On World Environment Day, 5 June, Rebecca Vassarotti, Minister for the Environment, Parks and Land Management, announced the 2024-25 ACT Environment Grants and FoMM were successful! Our project titled Landscape Restoration Weed Management at The Fair Watson will guide our work with St John’s Wort and the three worst grass weeds, African Love Grass, Chilean Needle Grass and Serrated Tussock.

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