Happy lunar New Year to the Friends of Mt Majura! We hope you enjoyed a happy and relaxing summer break.
Working Party @ The Fair this Sunday 21 February 2021
FoMM will resume its third Sunday monthly working bees on 21 February, at the Fair site at North Watson. Register your participation at the nature reserve entrance, corner of Tay and Ian Nicol Streets. Click on this map to view the volunteer registration point and working area; the base camp will be at the Big Conifer shown on the map. Join us any time between 9am – 12 noon, give whatever time you can spare.
We will be removing tree guards from the established plants we have planted over the past 2-3 years – a fun activity for volunteers, including children. Surplus guards not needed for future FoMM plantings will be given to other Park care groups.
Since work started at The Fair site in 2012 FoMM volunteers have removed woody weeds and replaced them with hundreds of local trees, shrubs and ground cover plants which provide habitat for wildlife. We also direct-seeded wallaby, spear, redleg and wheat grasses. The spear grass, which is unpalatable to kangaroos, has flourished in the recent La Nina conditions. Go to https://majura.org/working-party-the-fair-16-06-2019/ to see photographs of the changes at The Fair since 2014.
Can you spot the bird’s nest in this bursaria bush planted at The Fair? (Photo W. Pix)
Mondays at the Fair
These weekly morning sessions resumed in early January and the mostly cooler weather and frequent rain has aided weed removal, including thistles, horehound and the fruiting seed heads of St John’s wort – especially where they are growing near to the endangered Hoary sunrays. At one recent session we filled eight wool bales with weeds. Join us any Monday morning after 9.30.
Left: Hoary sunray (Leucochrysum albicans). (Photo Canberra Nature Map). Right: Monday volunteers showing off some of their weeding. (Photo M. Burn)
Visit by Minister Rebecca Vassarotti
Greens member for the local electorate of Kurrajong and Minister for the Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti met with FoMM representatives at The Fair on 1 February. Her colleague Jo Clay, member for Ginninderra and the Greens’ spokesperson on Parks and Conservation, also joined us.
As well as showing the work being done by FoMM, it was an opportunity to raise issues of concern such as the lack of resources in Parks & Conservation for environmental monitoring, particularly of threatened species; concern about overgrazing by rabbits and kangaroos; the need for access to scientific expertise to inform the work of volunteer Parkcarers; lack of operational planning for nature reserves such as Mt Majura and associated target setting and reporting against performance.
In relation to the split of responsibility, with Minister Vassarotti responsible for policy and Minister Gentleman’s portfolio for Planning and Land Management oversighting implementation, Ms Vassarotti assured us there is good cross-portfolio coordination and the two ministers meet regularly. Responsibilities within the Environment, Planning and Sustainability Directorate are clear, despite the dispersed ministerial arrangements. There is a strong commitment to weed and herbivore management as indicated by the recent Budget announcement of $4.5 million to tackle weeds and invasive plant species, improve the health of waterways, and appoint six permanent Ngunnawal rangers. Ms Vassarotti expressed interest in meeting with all Parkcare convenors and learning about previous meetings held with Minister Gentleman, Environment ACT Executive Director and Parkcare convenors.
Jo Clay and Rebecca Vassarotti with FoMM’s Max Pouwer (left) and Waltraud Pix (right). (Photo M Burn)
Help us spread all the good news that FoMM is achieving for our local environment! Do you have communications qualifications and/or skills and looking for experience, or seeking other ways to help save our precious native flora and fauna in addition to/instead of working bees? If so, we would love to hear from you! FoMM is seeking an enthusiastic volunteer to assist with our communications, such as publishing this monthly newsletter through Mailchimp and managing our website (WordPress) and Facebook page. If you are interested, or would like to find out more, please email us here!
Volunteer activities: Parks and Conservation Service
The PCS Visitor Experience team has provided information about the following activities. For more details and to sign up visit the Parkcare Hub.
Recycling Discovery Hub Visit, 23rd Feb (2-3pm), 16th Mar (5-6pm)
Ever wondered what happens to your rubbish? Book your visit to the Recycling Discovery Hub today! We’ve managed to secure two sessions for ParkCare volunteers to visit the recycling hub in Hume. It is a great opportunity to see what happens to the items we put in the bin.
Session 1 – Tuesday 23rd February 2pm – 3pm
Session 2 – Tuesday 16th March 5pm – 6pm
Numbers will be limited to 20 per session. To book, email the education team.
Grassland Reptile and Invertebrate Surveys, Many dates in March
Conservation Research is looking for people interested in assisting ecologists to survey grasslands for reptile species and invertebrates. This will involve working in several grassland areas to locate natural and artificial burrow tubes in the ground and collecting data on the presence of species inhabiting the burrows.
Applicants must be:
- Fit and healthy – there is lots of walking and bending down required.
- Prepared to handle reptiles. Prior experience is preferable.
- Prepared to frequently encounter wolf spiders and other creepy crawlies.
- Willing to work in hot, dry conditions.
- Prior or current study in the field of ecology or related sciences preferable.
Namadgi post-fire vegetation assessments, 11, 12, 18, 19 March
This is a volunteering opportunity to help with vegetation assessments in Namadgi National Park over the next couple of months. For this project it would be useful for volunteers to be able to participate in activities on all dates listed.
The work will involve walking off-track, potentially in difficult terrain, and helping with vegetation measurements and/or data entry on a phone, iPad or tablet.
Essential requirements are: physical fitness; and liking for off-track walking. Desirable (but completely optional) requirements are: plant ID skills and familiarity with handheld electronic devices.
Dates at this stage are: Thursday March 11, Friday March 12, Thursday March 18 and Friday March 19. (There will probably be more.)
Max Pouwer’s lovely photo of a plump dragon at the Fair site