We’ve been putting in place the preparation to hit the School term running with our Biodiversity in Schools project. Three schools in the Mornington Peninsula Shire are trialling this citizen science and communications project based around our Ramsar wetlands. Students will be monitoring populations of threatened birds, mammals and fish and sharing with their communities what they find. Artist and print-maker Kate Gorringe Smith will work with students to show through art what they have learnt. We’ll then take the project to schools in the other four council areas within the Biosphere. If you know of schools in Frankston, Casey, Cardinia and Bass Coast that wish to be involved, please let us know.
Water Stewardship is about to recruit four new businesses in Frankston in this project of waterway care and dollar savings. Protecting Ramsar Values, our project for working with recreational boaters, is getting towards the business end of this project in delivering face-to-face programs with boaties to minimise environmental impacts.
We’re also about to roll out our Banishing Biosphere’s Pests project in conjunction with the Bass Coast Landcare Network, the Western Port Catchment Landcare Network and the Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network. Predator eradication was a recommendation of the Biosphere Foundation’s highly-successful project Growing Connections. The foxes of the region should start getting nervous now.
The French Island Community and the Biosphere Foundation will be working to shape a French Island Biodiversity Plan. The CMA is currently conducting a cat management project on the Island and we plan to work in partnership with the relevant agencies to see what we can add to the care and protection of French Island. After all, the island is the conservation core, the very heart of the Biosphere.
We are starting to give shape to a project based around the 35+ international migratory shorebird species that are Flying the East Asian Australasian Flyway. These birds, some only starling-sized, fly annually between Siberia and Western Port. They visit Biospheres in China, Japan and Korea while making their mind-boggling migrations. We’re looking to share strategies with communities in these countries and their Biospheres in these countries to offer better protection to these migratory birds on their arduous flights.
These shorebirds are the focus for stronger collaborations between countries and give effect to the global network to which Western Port belongs. We’re already receiving indications of interest from the European-based hierarchy in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program in this project.
Our Science and Education Committee is looking at the direction our Shapiro Mark 2 project, or perhaps Shapiro Jubilee as it will be 50 years in 2025 since the original Shapiro Report was released. It is past time that the trove of research material that has been developed around Western Port was made accessible to all who love and study Western Port. Please watch this space.
It is a big project agenda but we’re up for it. We’ve had the best (hmm?) part of 2020 to plan and we’re ready to Zoom (sorry) into action.
If you want further information about any of these projects, or suggest new ones for us to consider, please contact us at the Biosphere Foundation office on [email protected].
Greg Hunt, Executive Officer, Biosphere Foundation