FoMM Newsletter May 2023

Canberra Tree Week ends on 7 May – FoMM Tree Walk

This dedicated week showcases Canberra’s beautiful, unique and exceptional trees and forests in a program including guided walks, talks, exhibitions and film screenings. Link to the full program here

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel FoMM’s guided tree walk scheduled for Sunday 7 May due to unforeseen circumstances. We will hold other tree walks later in the year.

It is easy to see why Eucalyptus rossii is commonly called the Scribbly Gum. Photo Jenni Marsh.

FoMM Tree Week event: spotlight walk, Friday 5 May, from 5 – 7.30pm

Did you know that not all animals have eyes which reflect light at night, and eye shine colour is different for different animal species?

On the night before the full moon, enjoy a guided walk along gravel trails on the lower slopes of Mt Majura to look for nocturnal animals in grassy woodlands. We might hear or spot birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates which could be sheltering, sleeping, hunting, foraging or guarding territory.

Bring a hand-held or head-torch which is fully charged. If you have a red filter, it will be kinder to the animals. Wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes.

Meet at the Mackenzie Street entrance near Grayson Street, Hackett: this map shows the meeting point.

We might be lucky enough to spot this nocturnal animal. Photo courtesy Canberra Nature Map.

Weeding with a view – Third Sunday working bee 21 May from 1 – 4pm

Many people enjoy the Casuarina Track and the views from the ridge where it joins the Summit Track. Twenty years ago, the saddle was a treeless expanse covered with weeds – a legacy of the time when the mountain was grazed by sheep. One of FoMM’s early projects was to remove the weeds and plant a variety of local native plants which are now thriving.

FoMM makes occasional maintenance visits to remove any weeds which are creeping back. Come and give some time at this beautiful site as we hand pull Horehound and Fleabane.

Meet at the old sheep camp at 1pm. It will take about 30 minutes to walk to the site from any of the trails marked on this map. If you want to walk with a group, meet at 12.30 at the point on the map flagged 2.

Bring sun protection, drinking water, secateurs and garden gloves if you have them. Wear sturdy shoes and clothes which cover your limbs. We provide sanitiser, some tools, gloves, and a delicious cake for afternoon tea. More information here.

Enjoy the panoramic view from the weeding site. Photo Waltraud Pix.

Mondays 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 share their knowledge. We are currently handpulling Fleabane and tackling woody weeds such as Hawthorn, Briar Rose and Cootamundra Wattle.

Not all woody weeds are exotic. This Willow-leaved Hakea was cut down at the April Sunday working bee, and its woody seed cases cut and bagged so they don’t spread seeds when they open as the foliage dries. Like the better-known Cootamundra Wattle, Hakea salicifolia is an invasive non-local Australian species growing out of its range. Photo Barbara Read.

Watson Microforest featured on Gardening Australia

This popular nature play space featured on the Gardening Australia program shown on ABC TV on Friday 28 April. Costa Georgiadis interviewed Edwina Robinson, the local landscape architect who designed the Watson microforest and an earlier installation in Downer, along with one of the community instigators of the project, Purdie Bowden, FoMM volunteer Barbara Read, who grew some of its plants and the families who enjoy the revitalised park in Woolcock Street. If you missed the program, you can watch it on ABC iview from this link . It’s the first item in the program, starting at 2 minutes into the show. The microforest is also featured in the May edition of Gardening Australia magazine.

Autumn Blaze maple (Acer x freemanii) in the Watson microforest with the sculpture made by Christiane Keller from garden prunings contributed by locals. Photo Barbara Read.

News from the Parks & Conservation Service

We have recently been advised of work being done by Parks & Conservation Service on Mount Majura, including repair works on the lower Casuarina Track, rabbit control and, in June, treatment of Chilean Needle Grass, a Weed of National Significance.

P&CS also reported on results of its recent survey of volunteers, including the various ParkCare Friends groups. The survey found 74% of respondents were satisfied with their experience as a volunteer and 85% feel safe and supported in their volunteering. Volunteers derive satisfaction from meeting new people, learning more about the natural environment, seeing the results of their efforts and the volunteering opportunity being aligned with their values. Volunteers enjoy the opportunity of training courses to learn new skills, such as mapping using professional platforms. The survey also provided suggestions for improvements which the ParkCare management team will consider and address.

P&CS Rangers Emma and Chris chatting with Waltraud Pix about work at The Fair site in North Watson. Photo Margy Burn.

And finally, the 2022 State of the Environment Report

Here is a snapshot of what the report has to say about the ACT. The report is an annual scorecard on Australia’s environment, summarising key events, environmental conditions and change during 2022.

FoMM volunteers Barbara, Max, Steve and Brian doing their bit to improve the state of the ACT Environment in 2022. Photo Margy Burn.
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