Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – April 2016

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


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