Connector Newsletter – Issue 10

July – September 2016

Raising our profile

Things are really on the up – the Hastings Chamber of Commerce have installed this new signage on the roadside coming down Frankston Flinders Road at the entry to Hastings.

The Foundation has also joined with Good Company/Karma Currency Donations online facility to provide greater options and access for those wishing to make a donation to support the work of the Biosphere.

This includes working with community groups on revegetation projects that connect and improve migration corridors to provide safer habitats for native animals like the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot, raising awareness about our internationally significant Ramsar wetland, and facilitating collaborations with local councils, community groups and other organisations to protect our vital waterways.

Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. You can even make a donation as a gift to a friend.

Visit our Good Company/Karma Currency donation page.

Second annual Biodiversity Forum

The Biosphere’s second annual Biodiversity Forum was a great success with over 80 people attending. In the beautiful setting of the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne guests heard the latest news about Biosphere projects, including Growing Connections which is funded by the Australian Government, as well as from some of our partner councils, Landcare and community groups.

We were fortunate to have Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt address the Forum, followed by a “Question & Answer” session. Minister Hunt announced that following a further scientific review the Southern Brown Bandicoot will remain on the endangered species list.

Minister Hunt also referred to a program mooted at the Threatened Species Summit in 2015 under which five islands around Australia will be declared cat free. French Island, which is within the Western Port Biosphere Reserve, will be the first island with this designation.

Highlights from Western Port Biosphere presentations included:

  • Launch of the online version of the Biosphere’s innovative Biodiversity Plan (see below for more detail)
  • Establishment of the Western Port Pest Animal Group under the Growing Connections Project. The Group will define best practice and continued improvement in pest control and coordinate on-ground works with community groups and individuals.
  • A year-long fox control program is in progress in the Tooradin area as part of Growing Connections. Baits have been laid on private properties and along the coastline as part of the Ramsar wetlands protection program. The program will help protect national and state threatened species (see update below)
  • Fourteen landholders had signed up as water stewards at the time of the Forum, and expressions of interest have received from other landholders, businesses and organisations.(see update below)

Attendees were both moved and shocked by Professor John Woinarski’s keynote speech which highlighted Australia’s poor record of species extinction. Professor Woinarski, who is Deputy Director of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub in the National Environmental Science Programme at Charles Darwin University, said Australia has lost far more mammal species than any other country, with 30 species classified as extinct, a further 56 terrestrial mammals qualify as threatened, and another 52 as near threatened.

We also heard about the pest control activities and biodiversity initiatives of Frankston City Council, Cardinia Shire Council, Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network, Bass Coast Landcare Network, Cannibal Creek Landcare, French Island Landcare Group and Birdlife Australia.

Presentations from the Forum are available on the Biosphere’s website.

Karen Sprey, Communications and Community Engagement Manager, Western Port Biosphere

Our Biodiversity Plan is now online!

Have you read the Biosphere’s Biodiversity Plan? You can now view it online.

The interactive online version contains layered maps, links to Biosphere and government information, and will soon feature a portal through which anyone undertaking works will be able to add project information, and learn about other projects being implemented.

Biodiversity monitoring and fox control

We now have more than two million images collected from a suite of motion-sensing cameras deployed across northern Western Port. Nearly half of them have contributed to our fauna data, but this number includes many exotic species. Some cameras are fixed at sites where the batteries and memory cards are changed monthly. Others are set at random points where they remain in place for approximately one month and are then moved around so that we can collect samples from random sites across the whole target area.

The purpose of this data is to monitor biodiversity, but in particular to apply statistical analysis of the data collected over time to help us determine if bandicoot occupancy has changed and, if so, whether fox control measures contributed to the change.

We do know that foxes prey on bandicoots. But, given that there are a lot of other factors that contribute to the reduction of bandicoot populations; loss of habitat and inappropriate burning, for example, we can’t be certain what impact fox predation has on the survival of bandicoots in the long-term.

To test the effectiveness of a fox management program, we need to measure the response by bandicoot populations to fox control. Initially, we need baseline data to determine the ‘occupancy’ (a scientific model that predicts the chances of the species being present in a given area) of foxes and bandicoots across the landscape.

Once we have the initial data we will regularly collect follow-up data, in conjunction with implementing a fox control program. Any changes in the occupancy of foxes or bandicoots will allow us to measure the impact of the fox control program on the bandicoot population.

A baiting program aimed at reducing fox populations in the Tooradin area began in early May 2016, and will run for approximately one year.

The camera monitoring and fox control programs are part of the Western Port Biosphere’s Growing Connections project, funded by the Australian Government, which aims to create a biodiverse and resilient habitat within the Biosphere region.

Sally Jacka, Project Officer, Western Port Biosphere

Water Stewardship

We are well on our way to building a Water Stewardship community in the Western Port Biosphere Reserve with more water stewards coming on board, delivery of our training course for new water stewards and our inaugural bus tour to see some of our water stewards work on ground.

We now have water stewards across multiple catchments including Watson, Merricks, Balcolmbe, Sweetwater, Langwarrin, and Cardinia Creeks. They are a very diverse group of early adopters including a chicken processor, horticulture farms, a plant nursery, livestock producers, grazing properties, schools, a camp site, an historic homestead, golf course, and horse agistment.

Our training course was attended by new water stewards Bembridge Golf Course and the Sorensens from Watson Creek Catchment, and Lord Somers Camp from Merricks Creek Catchment. Other new water stewards including Peninsula Fresh Organics (Watson Creek) and Harewood (Cardinia Creek Catchment) will undertake training in the next month or so.

If you are in one of these catchments, or anywhere within the Biosphere Reserve, now is a good time to sign up to our Water Stewardship program as we can very quickly provide you with training and resources to get your site water stewardship plan underway!

Our first water stewardship bus tour, across the Watson and Merrick Creek catchments, was very successful despite the wet, windy day. The tour started at Inghams Enterprises with a brief talk from Water Treatment Plant manager Hudson Cameron about Inghams water stewardship plan and on-ground works for their processing site and farmland. We then stopped at TGA Australia, a plant nursery in Somerville, where CEO Peter Wilkins explained how they recycle well over 90 percent of water applied onsite. TGA Australia are extending their recycling efforts and also developing wetlands to jointly work with agencies and neighbours to address pollution, nutrients and sediments problems within Watson Creek. While viewing field locations along Merricks Creek, Paul Hodgson from Melbourne Water explained some of the issues and problems the catchment faces. The tour finished at Lord Somers Camp where John Roberts described water management issues on both the camp site and the adjacent Merricks estuary.

If you are interested in becoming a water steward, we invite you to join us on a future bus trip to see how current water stewards have benefitted their own operations, their communities and the environment through improved water management (a win-win-win outcome!). Contact Lance Lloyd on 0412 007 997 or [email protected].

Lance Lloyd, Water Stewardship Project Officer, Western Port Biosphere

Western Port Biosphere at Science in the Park: Wildlife Counts

August is going to be a busy time, we’ll be participating in Science in the Park: Wildlife Counts at Coolart Wetlands & Homestead on Sunday 14th August as part of National Science Week 2016. We’d love you to come along, have a chat and find out more about what we do.

There will be plenty to do on the day including presentations, exhibitions and free science activities for all ages from a range of organisations including the Biosphere, Prime Sci!, Monash University, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Victorian National Parks Association, Birdlife Australia, Deakin University, and Platypus Education Group.

Are you a citizen science enthusiast?

Lifesearch 2016 will run from Saturday 15 October to Sunday 23 October 2016, providing another opportunity for everyone in the Western Port Biosphere Reserve to participate in this enjoyable and exciting citizen science project.

Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for information on how you can be involved.

WPCC second Eastern Arm boat excursion

Due to high demand, the WPCC conducted a second boat excursion in April to explore the elusive East Arm area of Western Port. This part of the greater catchment is scarcely visited by community and agencies due to its remoteness and difficult access.

An enthusiastic group of 40 passengers embarked on the Tidemaster at Tooradin, crossing the shallow channels within the ‘Watershed’ near north-west French Island, then heading south before returning along the shallow channel near French Island. It was another great opportunity to exchange knowledge, experiences and questions while examining the fascinating sites, mud flats, seagrass beds and general ecology of Western Port. Two special guests from Thailand accompanied our legendary Dr Tim Ealey, sharing their professorial knowledge and insights on climate change.

Observations on this trip included:

  • Major erosion of cliffs along a seven kilometre section between Lang Lang and the Inlets
    High levels of turbidity from sediment sourced from these cliffs, drain catchments and suspended silt
  • Exploration of carbon sequestration benefits from ‘blue carbon’ directed at conservation of seagrass, saltmarsh, mangroves
  • Historical loss of seagrass around 30 years ago with only partial recovery
  • Surprising shallowness of the water shed zone that separates tidal movement with an overall clockwise movement
  • Ecological values from reemergence of seagrass through mangrove revegetation

Other topics of interest included:

  • King George Whiting life-cycle. Mature roe in recently-caught specimens suggests breeding in nearby locations. However, prevailing research suggests adults migrate towards deeper water near South Australian border at about four-six years of age
  • Change in fish catches including Elephant fish, whiting, garfish
  • Cultural artefacts from French Island’s rich history
  • Acclimatisation of hares, sambar deer, colonial plants at Harewood homestead in the 1800s
  • Land use changes from historical draining of the 300 square kilometre Koo Wee Rup Swamp
  • Recent departure of mature migratory wader bird species to Russia, Japan, China region

There was consensus that more concerted planning is required in this area of Western Port, a hidden treasure with substantial ecological values.

Thanks to Lindsay & Rex of Tidemaster, all participants, the Western Port Biosphere Foundation, Parks Victoria & Port of Hastings Corp. for mutual support and sponsorship.

For more information about the WPCC please contact Ian Stevenson (Exec. Officer hon.): [email protected]

Ian Stevenson, Western Port Catchment Committee

Are you climate ready?

This past autumn was one of the warmest on record, increasing ocean temperatures and driving massive coral bleaching over much of the Great Barrier Reef. In more recent months, as the cooler weather has set in, wild storms associated with an East Coast low lashed the New South Wales coast and brought flash flooding to Launceston.

These extreme weather events are on the rise. As ocean temperatures increase, so does the intensity of storm events. As sea levels rise, coastal erosion from storm surge will become more extreme. Have you stopped to think about what this means for you? Are you prepared for climate change?

To get some tips to help you prepare for climate change – whether it is for drought, heatwave, extreme storms, flash flooding, or bushfire – visit This website has lots of information on climate change, local climate change risks as well as step by step instructions to help prepare you, your family or your business. You can find out what your local risks are by using the Climate Ready map and develop a plan tailored to your township and situation.

The Climate Ready website was developed for the Mornington Peninsula Shire, Kingston City Council and Bayside City Council by Federation University and was funded by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Nicci Tsernjavski, Mornington Peninsula Shire

World Environment Day civic reception

The City of Casey held a Civic Reception on Friday 3 June coinciding with World Environment Day, to celebrate and thank the community groups and residents involved in the conservation and improvement of our environment.

Council presented the Casey Environment Volunteer of the Year award on the night, which went to Judy Smith for her commitment and work to the Cardinia Creek Bushland Reserves.

Judy went to the first meeting of Wilson Botanic Park Berwick 25 years ago and joined the Friends group, and has been to the meetings and working bees ever since.

She formed the Friends of Cardinia Creek group about 22 years ago, and it still runs to this day, with six of the original members still involved. The group holds monthly working bees where they have removed copious amounts of weeds and replaced them with thousands of indigenous plants funded through grants.

In March each year, the group organises Clean Up Australia Day events throughout Berwick and Beaconsfield, collecting more than 40 bags of rubbish. Judy herself picks up rubbish twice a week in the area.

Working alongside her husband Ralph Smith and the other volunteers, Judy has helped improve and enhance the environment at Wilson Botanic Park Berwick and Cardinia Creek for the public to enjoy for years to come.

Photo: Cr Amanda Stapledon, Deputy Mayor Cr Wayne Smith BJ JP, Deputy Mayor Cr Mick Morland OAM and Cr Damien Rosario with Casey Environment Volunteer of the Year award winner Judy Smith

Steve Coldham, City of Casey

In the spotlight…

In this issue we talk with Robbie Gray, Ecosystems Services Coordinator with the Bass Coast Landcare Network.

How long have you been involved with Bass Coast Landcare Network and what is your role?
It’s getting close to 10 years now. I started in 2007, supervising our first two trainees and working on planting, weeding and small infrastructure projects out of a small tools trailer. Over time I took on additional projects such as managing our offset program, trialling an offset exchange system with State Treasury and Environment departments and California Institute of Technology, and working on the Red Gum Grassy Woodland tender program. Currently I manage the Ecosystem Services portfolio, which includes overseeing our on-ground Works Crew, managing our nursery, implementing operational plans developed through partnerships with Phillip Island Nature Parks and Westernport Water, managing pest plant and animal projects and enquiries, and a range of small projects such as agricultural diversification trials, sow and grow workshops, and volunteer projects with Work for the Dole.

What does a typical day look like?
Lots of different activities! I meet with the on-ground Works Crew first thing in the morning to keep in touch with the works program, then go down to the office and field a few pest plant and animal enquiries (mostly about rabbits), work with colleagues on planning and scheduling works for various projects, attend a meeting with a partner organisation or committee, work on a grant-based project (implementation/ report/ application), and sometimes attend a Landcare group or board meeting in the evening.

What led you to become involved with Landcare?
After three years working in the environmental field at Alice Springs, my partner and I decided to move back to Victoria. She secured a job at Greening Australia, and after a month of enjoying being in proximity to the beach again I started looking for work. Through contacts at Greening Australia I heard of an opportunity at Bass Coast Landcare Network and applied for a job. There was no real intent to get a Landcare job, but with hindsight it has been the best decision I have made.

What are you most proud of achieving?
The environmental outcome I’m most proud of is securing covenants for 150Ha of vegetation and the work we are currently undertaking at the Holden Proving Ground at Lang Lang. The proving ground is 880Ha of high quality remnant vegetation, containing a diverse array of flora and fauna including several threatened species, and we have weeded close to half of it through funding from the Western Port Biosphere Growing Connections project. We are also about to predator-proof a large portion of the perimeter fence and undertake fox control through a threatened species grant. I am equally proud of providing employment and training for nine trainees, and developing the works crew from two staff and a trailer to four staff plus casuals working out of a shed filled with equipment, and more recently adding a nursery.

How can the local community get involved to help the organisation achieve its objectives?
There is a range of ways to get involved. Volunteers can get involved (or become a member) with their local Landcare group and participate in projects and activities (mostly planting, but also weeding, mapping, monitoring), come along to one of a dozen community planting days held over winter throughout Bass Coast Shire, join our volunteer nursery group at Bass, and attend a range of field days and workshops.

Do you have a suggestion for someone we can feature in a future issue (whether they are an individual, or from a community group or organisation)? Please contact [email protected] and tell us briefly why you have nominated them and how they can be contacted.

Community Compass tool for Cardinia residents

Cardinia Shire Council has launched an online mapping service, giving residents access to valuable community information such as garbage/recycle days, the date for the hard waste collection, and details of the plant zone as well as off-leash dog parks and recreation reserves, your local Councillor, and nearby facilities including schools and child care centres and how to get there.

The free service is based on the most frequent calls to the Shire’s Customer Service Centre and is available 24 hours a day. It is designed to enhance your experience of living in Cardinia Shire, giving you access to a wealth of information about your property and surrounds.

Via Cardina Shire Council’s Down to Earth newsletter

Bass Coast Shire Council leads the way on actioning climate change

Bass Coast Council has reduced internal emissions by 16.5% over six years from 2009/2010to 2014/2015.

This reduction has come mostly from the Sustainable Street-lighting project where residential street-lights were upgraded with energy efficient T5 globes, saving approximately 858 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gas. In addition, Council has made sure that recent building and equipment upgrades incorporate energy efficiencies; for example in heating and cooling systems.

Other initiatives include; investing in renewable energy – Council has installed a number of photovoltaic systems (total of 28kWh) across Bass Coast, and strategic land use planning to consider the impact of river flooding, and sea-level rise on development. Climate change action is also embedded across the organisation as part of Council’s annual business planning, to reduce our impact on the environment with what we purchase on behalf of Council.

What can you to do to be prepared?

  • Separate your waste into composting and recycling to reduce your carbon emissions.
  • Reduce your energy use by turning off lights and appliances at the wall, and stopping drafts: the less electricity you use the less carbon emissions you make Installing solar hot water or solar panels will reduce your energy use even further.
  • Reducing the amount you use your car will also reduce carbon emissions. Group your trips e.g. shop after you drop the kids to school rather than make a separate trip, walk around town to get those jobs done, carpool with neighbours or other families for school drop off/pick up.
  • Be prepared for emergency situations e.g. fire, floods, heatwaves: stay up to date with and ABC radio and pre-pack an evacuation kit
    Make sure your insurance is up-to-date and your level of cover is appropriate.

Check out for more information and ways you can be prepared for climate change.

Liza Horsburgh Price, Bass Coast Shire Council

New Penguins Plus viewing experience wins World Environment Day award

The new Penguins Plus viewing experience at Phillip Island Nature Parks, which lets visitors get up close to penguins at the Penguin Parade, won the inaugural “Infrastructure Innovation” award in the 2016 United Nations World Environment Day Awards.

Penguins Plus is an innovative, sustainable and unique penguin viewing experience, providing Australia’s only underground beach viewing opportunity within the world’s largest colony of wild little penguins.

The new Infrastructure Innovation category recognises excellence in sustainable infrastructure. “We believe the project demonstrates excellence as it was motivated by sustainable practice and backed by world-leading scientific research, environmental management and ecotourism principles,” said Phillip Island Nature Parks CEO, Matthew Jackson.

The project was made possible through a major partnership with RACV.

Take a look at Penguins Plus and Underground viewing:

Via Phillip Island Nature Parks

Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network update

The Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network (MPLN) is gearing up for the start of our Green Army Round 4, which involves work on both private and public land. We are pleased to announce that our service provider, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA), has employed Aaron Lee as the Team Leader for the group, who comes with experience as a summer ranger for Parks Victoria.

The MPLN is now working on their Green Army Round 5 application. The Linking the Mornington Peninsula Landscape project is progressing well, with site visits currently underway in the Southwest Mornington Peninsula Landcare Group and Main Creek Catchment Landcare Group. Southwest Mornington Peninsula Landcare Group’s Indian Myna trapping project has begun and welcomes landholders across the peninsula to be involved – please contact Malcolm Legg [email protected] for information.

Balcombe Moorooduc Landcare Group and Southwest Mornington Peninsula Landcare Group recently worked together with Narelle Debenham from Natured Kids on projects that allow children to connect with, contribute to and care for our local natural environment. The children have enjoyed making Indian Myna traps and nesting boxes with members of the Mornington Mens Shed, which is a lovely way for different generations to work together on practical projects.

Jacqui Salter, Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network

Frankston Environment Friends Network 20th anniversary

During 2016 the Frankston Environmental Friends Network (FEFN) is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The FEFN now comprises more than 20 volunteer environmental groups, ranging from small local reserve Friends Groups to large, well-known organisations such as Kananook Creek Association Inc. and Frankston Beach Association Inc. No matter what size the organisation, they have all contributed to helping protect and enhance our natural environment in the Frankston area.

The FEFN was formed in 1996 to provide a forum for communication between all of the community groups associated with Frankston’s natural reserves, the Frankston City Council environmental officers and reserve maintenance staff. Over the years, the FEFN has broadened its membership to include representatives of other bodies working for Frankston’s natural environment. It has also taken up environmental issues beyond the natural reserves when it considers this appropriate and necessary.

The FEFN has many passionate representatives who contribute significantly to our monthly meetings. Each of these representatives is associated with one or more of the incredible volunteer groups who work tirelessly for Frankston’s wonderful natural reserves and the foreshore.

The FEFN can also boast that they assisted Frankston City Council in achieving the 2015 Australian Sustainable City Award.

The FEFN has launched a Facebook page as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations.

David Cross, Chair Frankston Environmental Friends Network, 2016 Frankston Citizen of the Year

Langwarrin Woodland & Northern Westernport Landcare Group kicking goals with rabbits

Woodlands Landcare has been making a huge impact on rabbit numbers this year, thanks to a $25,000 grant from Port Phillip Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA).

The group started with 10 members late last year, and by the time it applied for the grant 41 properties were on board to tackle the ever growing rabbit problem. Through the program, the group has now grown to 70, with neighbours talking over the fence and joining.

The group’s grass roots approach of offering to help neighbours and subsidise their costs, has been pivotal in the success of the program, as it means regular families are joining, and not just the ‘converted’. As a result, there are whole blocks of properties with all neighbours involved.

The group has been using a strategic approach of ferreting/netting, warren fumigation, and follow up baiting and warren work. Professional contractors are being used to prevent any off-target damage to flora and fauna, and educate residents as we go.

A series of workshops has been held including demonstrations on ferreting, netting, fumigation, baiting, night netting and a forum on integrated approaches and likely impact of the new Calicivirus.

Residents are now being encouraged to contribute some matched funding to keep numbers down and prevent re-infestation, so that remaining funds can be used to tackle foxes, with the goal of seeing Southern Brown Bandicoots repopulate the region.

Anyone living in the region, whether on a bush block or suburban property is encouraged to join. The region covers Skye to Cranbourne Botanic Gardens (including Botanic Ridge), Devon Meadows, Cranbourne South, Cannons Creek to Pearcedale, Langwarrin South, Langwarin and parts of Somerville.

Ella Boyen, Langwarrin Woodlands and Northern Westernport Landcare Group

Become a member of the Biosphere

Become a member of the Biosphere Foundation and you will be supporting our goals of bringing people together to foster conservation and sustainable development.

Membership costs $25 and includes invitations to Biosphere events, the latest Biosphere news and the opportunity to network with like-minded people.

You can join by calling us on 59792167 or visit our website.

Upcoming Events

Birdlife Mornington Peninsula Outing – Coolart Wetlands, Somers
Date: Wednesday 13 July
Time: 10.00am
Location: Meet in the car park – enter off Lord Somers Road near Beach Hill Avenue
More details: This outing will be held in the theatrette and will include morning tea and a talk by Roger Standen on “Roebuck Summer”, then a walk to the lagoon bird hide (Melway reference 193 J9). More information: 0429-947-893.

Comfort Cooking
Date: Saturday 16 July
Time: 10.00am – 12 noon
Location: Eco Living Display Centre, The Briars, 450 Nepean Hwy, Mount Martha (at the top of the hill)
More details: Learn how to put some zing in your winter menu using herbs and spices. Along the way get some tips on sourcing fresh local produce and shopping sustainably. Presented by Joey De Backer from Living Nutrition (Nutritionist and Dietician). Cost: $15. Bookings Comfort Cooking booking.

E-waste Recycling Drop Off – Bunyip
Date: Saturday 16 July
Time: 9.00am – 12 noon
Location: Bunyip Primary School, Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road, Bunyip
More details: Drop off your unwanted or no longer functioning electronic items for recycling at this free drop off event. Electrical items with battery or a lead will be accepted, except white goods (fridges, washing machines etc.) which can be put out as part of your hard waste collection.

Growing Friends Winter Plant Sale
Date: Saturday 23 July – Sunday 24 July
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Location: Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, cnr Ballarto Rd and Botanic Drive Cranbourne
Come along and select from a range of plants, many of which you’ll find growing in the Australian Garden. More information: 5990 2200.
National Tree Day
Date: Sunday 31 July
More details: This year is the 21st anniversary of the first National Tree Day and since then over 3 million people have planted over 22 million trees and this number is still growing. More information: Planet Ark’s Tree Day website

Seasonal Cooking
Date: Wednesday 10 & Wednesday 17 August
Time: 6.00pm – 8.00pm
Location: Lynbrook Community Centre, cnr Lynbrook Blvd and Harris St Lynbrook
More details: Winter warming recipes using local seasonal produce to inspire delicious meals.
$20 per class. More information: Lynbrook Community Centre: 9792 7370 / [email protected].

Backyard Beekeeping
Date: Saturday 6 August (Part 1) & Saturday 20 August (Part 2)
Time: 10.00am – 12 noon
Location: Myuna Farm, 182 Kidds Road Doveton
More details: Ever wanted to keep bees but thought you needed to live on a huge property? Think again. Backyard beekeeping in suburbia is a fast-growing hobby; it’s easier than you think and can be very rewarding!
This two part presentation (theory only) will go through all the information you need to get started with keeping bees. The sessions will include rules and regulations, equipment required, the nature of bees and seasonal activities you need to know. Bring your own lunch, drinks and snacks or visit the café on site. Opportunities for participants to view live hives and to gain practical experience can be arranged through the facilitator and/or associated network groups.
$30 per session. Bookings are essential.

National Tree Planting Day – Bunyip
Date: Sunday 7 August
Time: 10.00am – 12 noon
Location: Bunyip Nature Sanctuary, Wattle Tree Road, Bunyip
More details: Meet at the Wattle Tree Road entrance of the reserve at 10am. Tree planting will occur within the centre of the reserve. Bring sturdy footwear or gumboots and appropriate planting clothing.
More information: Rob Jones: 0359454274, [email protected]

Science in the Park: Wildlife Counts (part of National Science Week)
Date: Sunday 14 August
Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm
Location: Coolart Wetlands & Homestead
More details: Identify and monitor local birds, frogs, koalas, ants and freshwater invertebrates; hands on science activities; science seminars, and exhibitions. Join Western Port Biosphere and other organisations for a day of science-related fun and learning.
BYO picnic. Sausage sizzle, soup, tea & coffee available.

Native Plant Sale (plus bush foods, bee hotels & stalls)
Date: Saturday 3 September
Time: 9.00am – 4.00pm
Location: Wilson Botanic Park Berwick, 668 Princes Hwy Berwick
More details: The Wilson Park Berwick Branch of the Australian Plants Society is holding its 18th annual Australian Native Plant Sale. There will be a wide variety of native plant stalls, as well as bush foods, bee hotels, food stalls, a specialist book stall, native flower display and a raffle. Come along, check out the range of beautiful Australian plants and make them a part of your garden.