Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter August 2022

Thanks to the 98 people who gave time to remove weeds, plant and tend local natives this past year. FoMM volunteers contributed more than 3000 hours (some 428 days) labour in 2021/22 despite suspension of activities during three months of lockdown. Despite this great effort, there is always more to be done. Even a few hours on a Monday morning or a Sunday afternoon helps. Join us to give something back to the nature park in our neighbourhood. Every hour helps restore this important grassy woodland ecosystem.

National Tree Day – 31 July

Local ecologist Michael Doherty again gave generously of his time, leading a group of 30 to learn about the trees growing on Mount Majura, including the ice-age relic Snow Gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora). Parkcare Ranger Tensin joined us, along with eight Taiwanese landscape architecture students currently visiting the University of Canberra.

The ABC celebrated the day with a poll to find Australia’s favourite tree. Choose your most loved tree from 33 beautiful and unusual species ranging from the Boab to the Wollemi Pine. Vote for your three favorite trees from a list of 33 until August 11. On August 12 voting commences on the top 10 trees, with the winning tree announced on August 26.

Friends of Mount Majura enjoy a guided tree walk on National Tree Day 2022. Photo M. Burn

Third Sunday Working Party – 21 August from 1pm

We will work at The Fair site in North Watson, removing Fleabane (Erigeron sumatrensis) Cleavers, aka Sticky Weed (Galium aparine) and Blackberry Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) at the south-eastern part of the site, close to the Antill Street roundabout.

Register at the Tay and Ian Nicol Streets entrance to the nature park at 1pm. Walk with us to the site and stay only as long as you have time to spare. We provide tools, gloves, hand sanitiser and a delicious home-made cake for afternoon tea.Monday morning volunteers have been working in a big area, outlined in orange on this map which shows our winter work focus areas.

There is more work to be done, but we are enjoying the early signs of spring in areas we have weeded, including sightings of native Clematis leptophylla which will soon bloom. If you can’t join us at 1pm look out for the hi-vis vests we will wear. More information
Clematis leptophylla in full flower climbing a tree: Photo B Read

Monday volunteers remove a nationally significant weed

Every week a group of volunteers meets 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.

To give ourselves a change from removing Blackberry Nightshade and Sticky Weed, we recently spent a morning at the north-eastern part of the site removing Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) seedlings which have jumped the fence from Valour Park and are not local natives. While there, we spotted a small outbreak of Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) taking care to dig up its underground tubers.

Bridal Creeper is a Weed of National Significance, an aggressive and highly invasive plant which smothers native flora. It can be difficult to control, so early detection and removal is vital. On-ground work by Parkcarers makes a significant contribution to nature conservation which could not be done given the limited Ranger resources.

The small outbreak of Bridal Creeper shown next to a mattock
Bridal Creeper tubers. Photo B. Read

Cool burning demonstration

FoMM is a member of the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Network (UMCN), a forum which supports sharing and collaboration to improve and protect the natural values within the catchment. UMCN recently organised a demonstration of cool burning by Ngunnawal elder Wally Bell at Icon Water’s Williamsdale property.

Click here for a short video of cool burning in practice.
ACT’s faunal emblem, the Gang-gang cockatoo has – sadly – been added to the endangered species list but we regularly hear and see these beautiful birds while working in the nature park. FoMM volunteer Max Pouwer took this recent photo of Gang-gangs feasting on the buds of Blakeley’s Red Gum (Eucalyptus blakelyi) in trees adjacent to the nature park.
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