Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter June 2014

Welcome to the June 2014 edition of the FoMM newsletter. Are you looking for something extra to do outdoors this winter? FoMM will be busy planting and maintaining native plants over the next few months so you are invited to get active and join us in helping our local environment, as well as get some satisfaction from seeing new trees in the ground. We will also be spreading more woody debris around the seedlings to protect them from rabbit and kangaroo grazing, reduce erosion and encourage natural regeneration. We have been particularly encouraged recently by the sighting of the first Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans var. tricolor), an endangered daisy, to naturally germinate at The Fair site!
See you on the mountain.
Jo Lynch
FoMM Secretary

FoMM activities and news:

Majura Paddocks update
The big news this month is that the Majura Paddocks will soon be returned to nature reserve. Click on this link to read the letter we received recently from Katy Gallagher. This has been a long fought battle over the last 10 years since the paddocks were removed from the nature reserve for horse grazing. For further background information click here. A big thank you to all the people who helped by signing the petition last year.

Yellow box – Red gum Grassy Woodland at the Majura Paddocks (Photo: W Pix)

However we are being cautiously optimistic because the return of the paddocks was promised in 2008/09 but then stopped. And we are also very concerned that the Government is considering using the rezoned Majura Paddocks to offset the destruction of endangered grassy woodland elsewhere. A letter from Joy Burch, acting Minister for the Environment, stated recently that they are seeking assurance from the Commonwealth Dept of Environment that the site can be counted as a ‘biodiversity offset’. This is not acceptable as the land was nature reserve before Government rezoned it as horse paddock in 2002 based on incorrect advice that the area had “limited tree habitat and good pasture suitable for grazing“. Instead, the area contains critically endangered Yellow box – Red gum Grassy Woodland, as well as many mature trees of high habitat value that provide food and breeding habitat for declining woodland species.

Glossy Black Cockatoo feeding on Drooping She-oak seeds near Majura Ridge (Photo: W.Pix)

She-oak Planting @ Majura Ridge – Sunday 15 June, 1pm – 4pm
Help us save the Glossy Black Cockatoo! We will be planting Drooping She-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata), which is an important habitat tree for local woodland birds, including the rare Glossy Black Cockatoo, and other wildlife. You will be rewarded with splendid views, a sheep camp cake and the satisfaction of enhancing the local bush environment.
Where:  Meet at the old sheep camp on Mt Majura ridge where the Casuarina Trail meets the Summit track.
Bring and wear:  Sun protection, sturdy shoes, garden gloves and a trowel, if you have one; wrap up warmly.
Enquiries: Ph. 6247 7515 or email
Click here for more information

National Tree Day is a great day out for the whole family (Photo: W.Pix)

National Tree Day 2014- Sunday 27 July 1pm – 3.30pm
Come and celebrate National Tree Day with a planting party in the Mt Majura nature park. Get your hands dirty and plant local trees, shrubs and flowers into the ground. This year’s event will be the third stage of a community re-vegetation project that started in Winter 2012 in the nature park behind “The Fair” in North Watson. We aim to replace weeds with local native plants, provide habitat for little woodland birds and improve the overall condition of the degraded endangered grassy woodland in the area. Volunteer registration opens at 12.45pm. The day will start with a fun demonstration on how to plant by TAMS Minister Shane Rattenbury.
Where: Mount Majura nature park behind (east of) The Fair in North Watson.
Bring and wear: Bucket, trowel or small mattock if you have one (please label items with your phone number so that we can reunite any left-behinds with the owner), garden gloves, appropriate clothing and foot wear, wrap up warmly.
Enquiries: Ph. 6247 7515 or email
Click here for more information

Volunteers planting Clustered Everlasting daisies (Chrysocephalum semipapposum) at The Fair (Photo: J. Lynch)

Fridays @ The Fair
We’ve had a very productive month at The Fair treating woody weeds, supplementary planting and spreading lots of woody debris around the plants. A few university students have been joining us too, to get some practical hands on experience for their environmental degrees. Over the next month we will be getting the site ready for National Tree Day. Let us know if you would like to give us a hand!

ACT Environment Grant

Bernie Bugden, the new Landcare Coordinator from the Molonglo Catchment Group, recently coordinated a grant application to the ACT Government to support FoMM, Friends of Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie Weeders to manage threats to biodiversity. If successful, the grant will involve mapping priority pest weeds/animals, developing control plans, implementing works to address these threats (such as weed removal, erosion control, revegetation, encouraging natural regeneration), and monitoring biodiversity improvement using a Vegwatch citizen science approach. Fingers crossed!

Other items of interest:

National Museum of Australia – Majura Food History
Before the construction of the suburbs Downer, Watson and Dickson in the 1960s, much of the land below Mt Majura was an agricultural experiment station operated by CSIRO. Scientists at the station generated ideas to boost the productivity of modern farmland. Australian and international farmers regularly visited the station to discover the findings of cropping and grazing trials. Playing fields, houses, backyards, and many vegetable gardens now cover the station site. Go to the NMA site to read more about the history of our area.

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