Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter February 2022

Happy (lunar) New Year – Gong Xi Fa Cai

It’s never too late to make a resolution to give something back to the nature park in our back yard.

A huge effort by FoMM volunteers in 2021

Despite Covid disruptions, including more than three months of lockdown when it was not possible to run organised events such as weeding groups, FoMM made a huge contribution to nature conservation over the year. FoMM volunteers logged an incredible 5559 hours of activity in 2021, weeding, watering, spreading mulch, planting tube stock, sowing grass seeds and mapping. That’s equivalent to more than three years of a single ranger’s work.

Fifty-six individuals contributed to FoMM parkcare activities in 2021. Some work every week, some contribute monthly or less regularly, some come only once or twice in a year. The most outstanding effort was by Waltraud Pix, who works nearly every day on Mount Majura and expertly guides the work of other volunteers.

Waltraud Pix receives the Landcare Community Group Award made to FoMM in 2007. Photo Geoff Comfort.
Some 300 people receive this newsletter. If you haven’t volunteered before, consider coming to one of our events in future. You will be made very welcome. Any contribution is helpful, and no experience is needed. Newbies will be shown what to do and can work with an experienced buddy.

FoMM provides sanitised tools and leather gloves; disposable nitrile gloves, which can be kept and reused and facemasks for those who wish to use them. And we have a QR check-in code. You can also BYO tools and gloves. It is easy to maintain distance while working outdoors.

Volunteers enjoy a well-earned afternoon tea after the Juy Third Sunday working party, photo Margy Burn.

February FoMM activities

  • Sunday 20 February, from 9am to noon
  • Mondays at The Fair, every week from 9.30am to 12.30pm
  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, every week from 6pm to 7.30pm

At all February sessions we will be hand-pulling St John’s Wort at The Fair site. Register at the nature park entrance at the intersection of Tay and Ian Nicol Streets, north Watson.

Stay just as long as you have time to give. Wear sturdy shoes and clothes which cover your limbs; bring sun protection, drinking water and garden gloves, if you have them. More information on our website

An evening weeding session to remove St John’s Wort at the Fair, photo Ernestine Kirsch.

St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort (Hypericum perfatorum) is the worst weed on Mount Majura and is proliferating at The Fair, thanks to plentiful rain and sunshine. Parts of The Fair are rich with native wildflowers which are also enjoying the La Nina conditions. We are concentrating on hand-removing StJW plants from these patches of native vegetation before they drop their seeds. The heavy rain this summer means it is easy to pull StJW from the soft soil.

While FoMM volunteers have been engaged in the somewhat daunting task of removing StJW at The Fair, we have discovered three new species of previously unrecorded rare wildflowers growing there. Another reminder of the importance of our work for nature conservation.

St John’s Wort flower heads bagged ready for removal, photo Waltraud Pix.

What else did we do in 2021?

We worked at the drainage ditch near the Hackett reservoir to remove invasive weeds such as ivy, honey suckle and sedge. We replaced the weeds with Lomandra, Hardenbergia, native geranium and the beautiful native raspberry Rubus parvifolius.

Native raspberry flowers, photo Waltraud Px.
Also at Hackett, we had search and destroy missions to locate and remove Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana), an invasive tree which competes with local natives, and Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) a prolific seed-setter, from areas we have previously cleared.

We planted tube stock plants bought from Greening Australia at The Fair, including Blue devils (Eryngium ovinum) and a native plantain (Plantago lanceolata) in the fenced seed nodes, which we hope will act as a ‘Noah’s ark’ in times of heavy grazing of native wildflowers. We also sowed native grass seeds, including a native lovegrass – these latter we collected from plants growing along the fence line at the EPIC markets.

Blue devil in flower at Mount Majura, photo Max Pouwer
A grasshopper among the Vittadinia at Mount Majura, photo Max Pouwer
We removed invasive Blue gum seedlings which had jumped the fence from Valour Park in north Watson.

We held a bird walk led by Peter Miller in May; a tree walk in August and a wildflower walk in November, both led by Michael Doherty.

Michael Doherty leads the wildflower walk, photo Max Pouwer.
We hosted a visit for Rebecca Vassarotti, Minister for the Environment and a local member for Kurrajong, to explain the work FoMM does. Rebecca also joined some of FoMM’s organised walks.

And when the Covid lockdown forced the cessation of organised events, our monthly e-newsletters informed you about the many beautiful wildflowers which could be seen during permitted outdoor exercise and also some interesting bird sightings, such as nesting Gang gang cockatoos and fly-overs by Brown falcons.

Young male Gang-gang in a nesting hollow at Mount Majura, photo Jochen Zeil.

Children’s contributions

Some of our activities are suitable for (accompanied) children. Our youngest participants, two sisters aged 2 and 4, come with their father for most Mondays at The Fair. Other children have enjoyed weed blitzes at Hackett and the organised walks. The Majura Mountain Scouts Cub Pack spend two evenings with us each year and this year planted trees and shrubs at The Fair in May, then returned to weed the same plants in December. We look forward to working with students from Blue Gum Community School as part of their outdoor education activities in 2022.

Cubs and scouts during their May planting session, photo Margy Burn
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