Connector Newsletter – Issue 11

October – December 2016

Growing Connections Update

We have been busy consolidating the work done over the past four years:

  • On-ground works building on past investment are underway in priority areas of the Biosphere Reserve.
  • An in-field electronic data collection form has been built enabling data to be collected through site visits.
  • Site visits are underway to collect data required for carbon calculations – data from completed revegetation works will be used to calculate the amount of carbon sequestered through the project. The FullCam calculation model, recommended by the experts in the area, will be used for the calculations.
  • Our monitoring data is being collated for analysis. An ‘occupancy analysis’ will be performed on the data and a report produced which will be made public once complete.

We’ve also spent time envisioning the future of the Growing Connections project and what that might look like, as well as seeking potential collaboration opportunities, building a stronger relationship with the local indigenous community, and planning the next Western Port Ark meeting which will be reported on in the next issue of The Connector.

Chris Chambers, Growing Connections Project Officer, Western Port Biosphere

Protecting Ramsar

Western Port Biosphere facilitates community activities as a partner in the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority’s Protecting the Ecological Values of the Western Port Ramsar project. The project, which receives funding from the Australian government, focuses on issues including predator control.

Our new Cat Facts poster provides some key facts about feral and domestic cats as well as the laws governing cat ownership.

You can help us to spread the word by downloading the poster from our website and displaying it in appropriate places in your community (please ensure you have permission to do so first!).

Water Stewardship Information Sessions

Over the life of the Water Stewardship project we have given talks about water stewardship to various Landcare and community groups, including the Watson Creek Catchment Group, Merricks-Coolart Catchment Landcare Group, and more recently at Science in the Park at Coolart Wetlands.

These popular talks have proved valuable both for the Water Stewardship project and Landcare and community groups. We can provide your group with important information about the water in your catchment, local ecosystems and other natural features, and government programs to support on-ground works as well as the water stewardship process and its benefits.

In turn, Landcare and community groups can provide our project team with current information on water-related issues within the catchment, and suggest potential water stewards within the catchment, including individuals who may wish to directly participate.

An additional benefit is that our project team is well connected to the local, state and federal government agencies. We can often help facilitate regional water management solutions that individuals may not be able to undertake, by identifying issues and solutions and working directly with the agencies to implement solutions.

We would welcome the opportunity to talk to your group, business or organisation about the Water Stewardship program and the benefits of being involved, as well as how you can assist the project.

We’re also keen to speak with peak agriculture and industry bodies and we are actively seeking contacts across the Biosphere Reserve. If you have contacts within these groups we would love to hear from you.

In addition, we hope to organise regional public talks about specific catchments. The Water Stewardship project is active in all catchments of the Biosphere Reserve (Mornington Peninsula, streams draining into Western Port – around the north – and the Bass Coast catchments as well as Phillip and French Islands).

If you are interested in having us speak at your Landcare or community group, or in attending future public meetings, please let us know via the Biosphere office on 03 5979 2167 or [email protected].

Lance Lloyd, Water Stewardship Project Officer, Western Port Biosphere

Merricks Creek Catchment Update

Merricks Creek is one of the catchments where the Biosphere is recruiting water stewards as part of our Water Stewardship project.

The Lord Somers Camp at the mouth of Merricks Creek is actively working on a Site Water Stewardship Plan and we will soon have several new water stewards to announce. There will be opportunities for land managers, farmers, industry, schools and even householders to become involved in one or more projects and/or activities relating to water stewardship.

We’ve been speaking with the Merricks Coolart Creek Catchment Landcare Group to engage their support for the project and we’re keen to extend this partnership to other community groups within the catchment (and elsewhere) – see the story above on water stewardship information sessions).

The Biosphere is keen to promote all of the work within the catchment and to work with anyone who is actively committed to enhancing the amenity, biodiversity and ecosystem functions of Merricks Creek and its catchment. Some examples of other action on Merricks Creek and especially at its estuary include:

Seagrass and the estuary opening are still issues for local residents and catchment managers. The mouth of Merricks Creek closed in late winter as a result of big high tides and swells, and subsequent inflows from upstream started to fill the estuary allowing trapped seagrass a longer time to decompose. Once the mouth opened in August much of the water flushed out, but it did not remove a lot of the sand that has settled in the creek bed near the Lord Somers Camp bridge.
Designs for the proposed Timber Baffle Replacement are complete. Three timber baffles are planned which will help scour the sediment from the mouth and allow the natural opening and closing of this estuary, hopefully reducing the issues previously observed in the estuarine lagoon (information courtesy of Melbourne Water).

Lance Lloyd, Water Stewardship Project Officer, Western Port Biosphere

Register for Lifesearch 2016!

It’s almost time for Lifesearch 2016 so make sure you register. Lifesearch 2016 runs 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 citizen science project, so please alert your members!

There are prizes for the school and group recording the most observations during LIfesearch 2016 week.

Participating in Lifesearch 2016 is slightly different to last year so be sure to read the new guidelines!

Best Bites 2017 Food Guide and Awards

Judging will soon commence for the 2017 Best Bites Food Awards. Nominations for the 2017 Guide and Awards closed in early September 2016.

The annual Best Bites program was introduced by Mornington Peninsula Shire and Western Port Biosphere in 2011. Best Bites assesses and promotes local food businesses that provide safe and healthy food, use environmentally sustainable practices, and provide safe and accessible premises.

Food businesses that receive a score of more than 95% in their Shire food safety assessment can receive accreditation in the following areas:

• Nutrition and Healthy Eating
• Waste and Recycling
• Energy and Water Efficiency
• Tobacco and Alcohol
• Access for All

Businesses that meet the requirements in their nominated areas are given certificates and window stickers, and are listed in the Best Bites Food Guide which is widely available to the public. Food business proprietors who qualify for the sustainability areas of Best Bites can receive personal membership of the Western Port Biosphere Reserve.

The best performing businesses will also be eligible for the 2017 Best Bites Food Awards. This year the awards have been expanded to include Mornington Peninsula Produce-certified food producers and community food programs. Judging will commence in November, with the Western Port Biosphere an integral part of the judging process.

Customers can also nominate their favourite food businesses for the Best Bites People’s Choice Award by contacting the Shire’s Environmental Health Team at [email protected].

Award finalists will be announced and the 2017 Best Bites Food Guide will be launched in late November 2016. The Best Bites Food Awards will be presented to the most outstanding local food businesses in April 2017.

If you would like further information on Best Bites please contact the Shire’s Senior Environmental Health Officer Peter O’Brien on 5950 1050 or [email protected]

The current guide is available from

Peter O’Brien, Senior Environmental Health Officer, Mornington Peninsula Shire

Bass Coast Shire takes pledge on climate change

Bass Coast Shire Council is one of 182 founding members of the Victorian Government’s TAKE2 pledge program, joining 21 other Victorian councils as well as businesses and community organisations.

Committing to the universal TAKE2 pledge provides an opportunity to demonstrate leadership within the community and promote Council’s own efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

Council’s General Manager Sustainable Development and Growth, Allison Jones, said the council is well placed to support the TAKE2 initiative.

“The Council Plan and Natural Environment Strategy 2016-2026 have synergies to the pledge by committing Council to take action on climate change”.

“Council has already taken a number of actions to address climate change, and these actions can be used to meet the second step of the TAKE2 commitment,” Ms Jones said.

The Pledge does not bind Council to future actions beyond those already committed.

Council is currently fulfilling all of the requirements to meet the TAKE2 pledge through actions in the Climate Change Plan, the Natural Environment Strategy 2016-2026, and the Waste Management Strategy 2015-2025.

The government is calling on all Victorians to TAKE2 Steps:

  • Take the universal pledge – Working together, we pledge to play our part and take action on climate change for Victoria, our country and our planet.
  • Share the actions you are taking to help meet Victoria’s universal pledge.

Via Bass Coast Shire

Moonlit Sanctuary opens breeding facility to save critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot

To mark its 15th year anniversary, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park opened its new 20 aviary Orange-bellied Parrot breeding facility to protect one of the world’s rarest and most endangered animals.

With less than 50 of these beautiful birds left in the world, the new aviary gives a significant boost to the captive breeding program with the facility able to house 40 breeding birds and breed up to 100 birds each year.

The specialised off-the-ground aviaries are designed as a quarantine facility to prevent the spread of beak and feather disease, which can affect these parrots in the wild, and feature two 13 metre long free-flight aviaries for non-breeding seasons.

One of only two migratory parrot species, these birds make the huge journey across Bass Strait each year, breeding in Tasmania over summer and migrating in winter to south-eastern Australia, including the shores of Western Port Bay just 500 metres south of Moonlit Sanctuary.

Moonlit Sanctuary has been a key partner in the Orange-bellied Parrot program since 2013 and is committed to spending $500,000 over the next 10 years to run the new breeding facility.

Zoos Victoria has contributed almost $100,000 towards the development of the new aviary. Moonlit Sanctuary Director Michael Johnson said: “We are thankful to the funding provided by Zoos Victoria – this contribution and partnerships between governments, community groups, zoos, and the Orange-bellied Parrot recovery team is key to the survival of this Critically Endangered species.”

This spring, Moonlit Sanctuary will release three orange-bellied parrots from their captive-bred population at their breeding site in Melaleuca on the south coast of Tasmania.

via Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

Red-capped Plovers have important friends on the Mornington Peninsula

Friends of the Hooded Plover (Mornington Peninsula) have been successful in obtaining a Coast Care grant to start a Red-capped Plover program on Western Port in conjunction with the BirdLife Australia Beach-nesting Birds team.

After the interest shown by the public on Westernport and the local government last summer, BirdLife Australia felt it was a great opportunity for our group to harness this interest and start looking at how we can help these little beach-nesting birds during their breeding season.

Grant money will enable the group to start collecting much needed scientific data on Red-capped Plovers.

To commence this program BirdLife will hold free workshops for anyone who is interested in learning a bit more about these beach-nesting birds. A public workshop will be held on Saturday 15 October (see the Events section at the end of the newsletter for details).

New equipment will be purchased to temporarily protect Red-cap Plover nests and chicks and new signage will be designed to keep the public well informed.

“Beach-nesting birds (such as the Red-capped Plover) face a suite of threats from predators, habitat modification and most of all interactions with the public. Their conservation and management is often related to balancing recreational use of their habitats and raising awareness of their vulnerability to disturbance” Renee Mead; BirdLife Australia.

Diane Lewis, President, Friends of the Hooded Plover ( Mornington Peninsula) Inc.

Record year for Phillip Island’s penguins

The past year has been a big one for the little penguins on Phillip Island.

The penguins began their egg-laying much earlier than in any previous year, which meant that many of the productive pairs actually managed to lay a second clutch of eggs within the one breeding season. This resulted in an incredible average of 2.25 penguin chicks fledging (leaving the nest) per penguin pair.

“This is a very successful result when you consider that the long-term fledging average is one chick per pair,” said Dr Peter Dann, Research Manager at Phillip Island Nature Parks. “Not only did we have the most number of chicks fledge, but they were also the fattest chicks on record, which in the penguin world is definitely an asset.”

Visitors also enjoyed the fruits of all the penguins’ labours, with an average of over 1,100 penguins crossing the beach at the Penguin Parade each night across the 12 month period. Dr Dann continued: “Seasonal conditions mean that numbers do vary each night, but to achieve this average over the full year is, in the words of a former Prime Minister, a ‘beautiful set of numbers’.”

Many of the colony’s penguins are currently spending their time out at sea, hunting and fishing in the lead-up to the next breeding season. The penguins that are in their burrows now are in good body condition, suggesting that the fishing is good out at sea.

Via Phillip Island Nature Parks

In the spotlight…

In this issue we talk with Gidja Walker, ecologist, artist and teacher.

Tell us a bit about your current role and how you got there
My current role is varied. Some days are spent walking and talking, one of my favourite activities. At times I integrate it with string making and telling stories about nature; the string representing strength in biodiversity and community diversity. I’ve been a “walker-talker” all my life and I am one of the long term presenters at the Mornington Peninsula Schools Environment Week.

Much of my role on the Mornington Peninsula (I spend time also near Lake Eyre and on the Monaro Plains – but that’s another story) involves monitoring threatened species and communities and protecting or maintaining their habitat… or training people on the best methods to achieve that. Some of that is through being the President of Southern Peninsula Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association, and my role in various committees/groups such as the Biosphere and Southern Peninsula Landcare. It is also what I do professionally with Frankston Spider Orchid, Leafy Green hoods and Coastal Mona Woodland to name a few.

With Tootgarook Swamp being placed in the VCE Geography curriculum I have had an increasing role in teaching high school students and geography teachers about the swamp by leading workshops around the wetlands at Boneo Park.

Networking is a major part of my role, connecting people, groups, experience and knowledge.

What led you to become an ecologist?
I’ve always felt best when outside in nature. I was brought up in a country town and weekends were often spent walking with my father and grandfather, or beside a creek with a fire while my mother painted and my dad fished. I am also an artist and a lot of what I do as an ecologist is about looking at patterns, structure, balance and interconnectedness.

At the end of high school I had to make a choice between art or biological sciences and my mother advised that a woman these days needed an independent income and that I may want to keep art for something I enjoy rather than turning it into a “job”. I took that advice and studied Biology and later Education. I now consider myself as an ecologist, artist, and teacher (not in any particular order).

I work for the planet. For me it comes down to Dharma – do what you enjoy and are good at for the benefit of the Earth or your community…and your needs will be met. Sometimes I get paid, sometimes I don’t, but if I see a job that needs doing I just try to get it done. I’ve never had a 9-4.30 full time job partly because I wouldn’t be able to fit my volunteer work in.

What does a typical day look like?
My days tend to work around the weather and the season. Some days I weed, some days I map and identify plants, some days I walk and talk, some days I count orchids and measure the width of the leaves…..while on wet days I am reluctantly at a computer compiling species lists, prioritising weeds and writing reports or management plans.

What are you most proud of achieving?
Seeing a light turn on in a young person’s eyes as they learn about some aspect of their environment……and you know a door just opened….a  ‘reconnect ‘ with nature. This creates hope for the future.

What can people do in their own neighbourhood or community to preserve and protect native flora?

  • Protect, enhance and create habitat on your own property ….if only for something small like native bees. We have a house size coastal block which bursts with biodiversity and habitat provided by dead wood rocks, rain gardens and open sandy areas for insects and reptiles to thermoregulate. This need for diversified habitat and water sources for local fauna will increase with climate change and extreme events.
  • Join a Friends Group or Landcare…this enables people to learn about their local flora and fauna and connect with their neighbours to create biolinks.
  • Keep domestic pets controlled as they can create havoc for wildlife. Cats indoors or in runs 24/7 and dogs under control (some dogs, however, can be trained to protect wildlife and I have observed

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.

Rye ‘i sea, i care’ Ambassadors shine!

Rye Primary School is a longstanding member of the Dolphin Research Institute’s marine education program, ‘i sea, i care’. This program develops young school children in areas such as peer education, public speaking and self-confidence.

Rye Primary School is very active with their environment team, participating not only in our ‘i sea, i care’ Ambassador program but also ‘Seal the Loop’ and ‘Kids teaching Kids’.

After visiting our Institute, Rye Ladies Probus Club approached us with the idea that they would like some of our Ambassadors from a local school to present at one of their monthly meetings. The Rye Ambassadors were asked if they would like to present what they learnt at a recent peer teaching workshop. They jumped at the chance!

Bailey, Billie, Ashley and Keely talked to the ladies about seals, decorator crabs, biscuit sea stars, the dolphin trip in March, what their environment team does at school and how they became Ambassadors in the first place. They were absolutely fantastic and a credit to themselves and the school.

The ladies at Probus thoroughly enjoyed their presentation and were impressed by their confidence; so much so that Rye Historical Society has asked if the Ambassadors can present in October to their members too.

This is a great example of some of the leadership opportunities that our Ambassadors get through the ‘i sea, i care’ program.

Thank you so much for organising yesterday with the young Ambassadors, they were a real hit!  I would highly recommend them to any Probus Group for a talk. Suzanne Edgington (Rye Ladies Probus Club)

The kids were really pumped on the way back to school! It was great to see them present and share their knowledge, I was impressed at how much they could recall. Thank you for the opportunity.  Lachlan Featherston (Rye Primary School)

Jenny Parsons, Communications Officer, Dolphin Research Institute

New grant will help Bass Coast feral animal control

Bass Coast Landcare Group has again been successful in securing funding through the State Government’s Threatened Species Protection initiative, which will enable us to continue our feral animal control program on the Holden Proving Ground at Lang Lang.

The 800 hectare Holden Proving Ground is an important link in a band of the most significant vegetation in Bass Coast Shire, and is within 700 metres of Western Port, a Ramsar-listed site.

Recent surveys uncovered at least 105 fauna species and 159 flora species, with seven threatened flora and fauna species recorded on site and a further 18 directly adjacent to the site. These include the Southern Brown Bandicoot, Latham’s snipe, Swift parrot, White-footed Dunnart, Powerful Owl and Southern toadlet.

Western Port Biosphere’s Growing Connections program funded two years of weed control over half of the site, but feral animal control has not been addressed.

Currently the biggest threat to the Southern Brown Bandicoot and fauna on the site is fox predation. The site already has a three metre high chain mesh fence around the 16 kilometre perimeter.  Last year, Holden and Bass Coast Landcare Network secured funding through the State Government’s Threatened Species Protection Initiative (Community Volunteer Action Grant – Round 1) for adding a wire ‘skirt’ to half of the fence.  Recently we were informed that our Round 2 application for adding a skirt to the remaining half of the fence was also successful.

The skirt will greatly reduce fox migration, and with a fox baiting program to follow the completion of the skirt these grants will go a long way to reducing feral predation on native animals.

Rob Gray, Ecosystem Services Coordinator, Bass Coast Landcare Network

Linking the Mornington Peninsula Landscape

Landscape (LMPL) is an initiative that aims to reconnect fragmented remnants of indigenous vegetation to create wildlife corridors (biolinks) on the Mornington Peninsula. LMPL assists Landcare groups and landholders to develop collaborative local biolink plans for catchments across the Peninsula. The project, now in its second year, is currently working with Main Creek Catchment and Southwest Mornington Peninsula Landcare Groups.

Main Creek Catchment Biolink 
With 10 keen landholders on board, this is gearing up to be a super biolink. Properties involved run in an almost continuous line up Splitter’s creek, from its junction with Main Creek. Participating landholders met each other in July at an informal get together at a biolink property where local ecologist Mal Legg gave a brief presentation on local fauna.

Watson Creek Catchment Biolink
Shortly after this biolink plan was completed in late 2015, Watson Creek Catchment Landcare Group (WCCLG) received a Victorian Government Threatened Species Initiative Grant to undertake on-ground works. Planting days are planned for two properties. Fauna cameras have been set up on one property.

Sheepwash Creek Biolink
Weed control funded by a PPWCMA grant (run by Sheepwash Creek Landcare Group) has been completed on four biolink properties on the eastern branch of Sheepwash Creek.  Additional biolink works funded under a separate PPWCMA Sustainable Grazing grant have also been partially completed on one property.

Southwest Mornington Peninsula Biolink
Biolink properties have now been selected and cost estimates for the Biolinks Plan are being worked out.  The Landcare group is working with Michele Sabto to host a community biolinks session where participating landholders can meet each other and discuss their plans.

For more information and updates on LMPL, please visit the LMPL website.

Michele Sabto, Project Coordinator, LMPL

Volunteers increase biodiversity on Cardinia public land

Public land is becoming increasingly important in this built up area of Westernport, as a haven for biodiversity and an opportunity for people to enjoy nature and exercise in their roles as visitors or volunteers.

The Cardinia Environment Coalition (CEC) manages six parcels of public land in Cardinia Shire with grants from Westernport Biosphere, DWELP, Cardinia Shire, Melbourne Water, and Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority.

CEC Public Land Manager Geoff Lockwood has organised plenty of volunteering opportunities over the winter and into spring. It is fun and satisfying work – and more is planned for autumn!

Five Mile Road allotment is turning from grazing land to bush habitat thanks to an initial planting started with the help of neighbours who are keen to see the swamp remnant vegetation bolstered.

Southern Brown Bandicoot habitat is also being restored both within Bandicoot Corner property, Bayles and a nearby former farming allotment. With funding from Western Port Biosphere, revegetation projects have included both direct seeding in the past few years and now tubestock planting. This project is being supported with the help of a weekly contingent of volunteers from the Warragul Special School whose enthusiasm is transforming the landscape as they plant.

The Friends of the Beaconsfield Nature Reserve are tackling woody weeds such as pittosporum and radiate pine to enhance the native vegetation habitat and in preparation for lakeside walks to be offered on open days or family visits to the property. This 170 hectare bushland with its magnificent reservoir offering scenic water views and aquatic life is home to Powerful Owls. The Friends Group has placed some timber seats to allow visitors to enjoy wildlife observation in a glorious setting.

The CEC is mounting a weed eradication project on the Guys Hill Reserve with help from Melbourne Water and Cardinia Shire as well as the Cardinia Catchment Landcare Group working on private land to complement CEC efforts. CEC invites enquiries or comments: BNCR Friends Group, Paul Higgott, 0408 732 507/[email protected] or CEC Public Land Manager Geoff Lockwood [email protected].

Friends of Coolart Update

The Friends of Coolart (FOC) assist Parks Victoria in the preservation and enhancement of the environmental, cultural and educational values of Coolart Wetlands and Homestead. Once a farming property, Coolart is now a nature reserve and wetland catering to a myriad of species. The property also features a beautiful heritage home. The Friends group work to not only assist with environmental and natural resources of the property, but also to protect and promote the heritage and cultural values of the entire site.

Recently the Friends received a ‘Communities for Nature’ grant to purchase 4,949 indigenous plant tubestock to rehabilitate an area previously used as a sheep grazing paddock to pre-farming bushland. It will also provide invaluable native corridors for birdlife and local fauna and aid in the environmental improvement of a degraded area due to farming. Friends, volunteers and Parks Victoria rangers spent several days planting out the paddock and a few months on the tubestock are taking hold with very little loss. A future planting bee will replace the plants that have not survived and thicken what eventually will become undergrowth and native habitat.

The Friends are also involved in an ongoing survey to monitor bird numbers. All species seen and heard in eight areas within Coolart are recorded, along with information such as whether the birds are breeding. This information is entered into the Birdlife Australia Bird Atlas data base and becomes available for researchers and other interested people. Bird surveys are conducted on the third Monday of every month, meeting at 9.00am at the visitor centre at Coolart.

See the events section below for information on our Bird Surveying session and Breakfast with the Birds.

Friends of Coolart welcomes new members. Drop us a line at [email protected]

Julie Ebbott, FOC Committee Member

Student ambassadors help out Warneet Nature Reserve

In early August, the Dolphin Research Institute’s Environmental Ambassadors from 13 schools across Gippsland joined Parks Victoria and the Warneet Friends Group at the Warneet Nature Reserve in a fun day of environmental education and weed removal.

Forty one students joined Parks Victoria Ranger Rick in Sallow Wattle removal through the Warneet Nature Reserve, clearing a large area to allow for natural recruitment and improve diversity of this unique piece of Heathy Woodland. Max from Parks Victoria educated the ambassadors on the local fauna and bird life through skull identification, focusing on the devastating impacts feral animals and cats have on our fragile environment.

Members of the Warneet Friends Group took the ambassadors on a walk and talk through the adjoining remnant bushland, finding numerous orchid colonies and carnivorous plants in the amazing woodland. The students finished off the day with a barbecue at Warneet pier. Many thanks to Mandy from the Dolphin Research Institute for organising a great day in the bush, and helping the Warneet Friends Group and Parks Victoria in eradicating massive amounts of woody weeds.

Moonlit Sanctuary helps restore bandicoot habitat in Langwarrin Woodlands

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park is sponsoring the ongoing work of Langwarrin Woodlands Landcare Project to restore vital habitat on the urban fringe. Through funding a range of community workshops and on ground works, Moonlit Sanctuary has helped to engage over fifty locals in local conservation education.

The project’s key focus is to restore habitat for Langwarrin’s remaining koalas, sugar gliders and other wildlife, and improve Southern Brown Bandicoot habitat through fox control and vegetation improvement.

The project came about through a conversation between neighbours wanting to tackle ongoing fox, rabbit and weed invasion. The project received funding from the National Landcare Program, Moonlit Sanctuary and individual landholders, and resulted in a range of on-ground rabbit and fox control works, a community web portal of local conservation information, and as interest grew, a Landcare group also officially formed.

Locals are already seeing the benefits of fox control with increased wildlife, and rabbit control with vegetation regenerating.

Ella Boyen, Langwarrin Woodlands Project Volunteer

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

Sustainability Tour
Date: Sunday 9 October 2016
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Location: Selandra Community Place, 2 Forest Drive, Clyde North
More details: An 8-star, zero-energy community place, which promotes sustainable living and demonstrates ways to save money and the environment through four key themes: energy, waste, water and well-being. Free. Tours at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm. More information: contact City of Casey Customer Service.

Red-capped Plover – Conservation Workshop
Date: Saturday 15 October 2016
Time: 10.30 am – 3.30 pm
Location: Point Leo Committee of Management Offices, Point Leo
More details: Beach-nesting birds (such as the Red-capped Plover) face a suite of threats from predators, habitat modification and most of all, interactions with people. At this workshop you’ll learn about their unique nesting strategies, quirky behaviours and what BirdLife Australia is doing to help protect them. This workshop includes a field trip – please bring appropriate weather protection (raincoat, sunhat etc), water bottle, binoculars if you own them. Morning tea and lunch provided. Workshop is free but bookings are are essential. RSVP:  12 October – [email protected], or phone 9347 0757.

Building with Hempcrete
Date: Saturday 15 October
Time: 10.00 am – 3.00 pm
Location: The Eco Living Display Centre, The Briars, 450 Nepean Hwy, Mt Martha
More details: Hempcrete is a building product with excellent insulation and soundproofing qualities. It also buffers temperature and humidity and prevents damp and mould growth.  At this workshop you can find out the benefits of building with hempcrete, how to make it and how it can be used in your home.   Presented by Neil Garret from the Industrial Hemp Association of Victoria.
Cost:  $30 – Lunch included.

Introduction to Bird Surveying
Date: Monday 17 October
Location: Coolart Wetlands and Homestead
More details: Free event but places are limited, so bookings are essential.
Contact Jenny Thomas: 8427 2242.

Bird Week: Breakfast with the Birds
Date: Wednesday 19 October
Time: 8.00 am, return for BYO breakfast at 9.30 am
Location: Coolart Homestead and Wetlands, meet at Visitor Centre.
More details: Join us to celebrate Bird Week. No bookings required, BYO breakfast.

Water and Waste: Sustainable Homes Workshop
Date: Saturday 22 October & Saturday 19 November 2016
Time: 10.00 am – 1.00 pm
Location: Hewitt Eco-House, Koo Wee Rup Regional Health Service, 215 Rossiter Road, Koo Wee Rup
More details: Find out how to make your home healthy and sustainable at the sustainable homes workshop series. This event will focus on water and waste in the home. Find out about installing a water tank, water efficient appliances, recycling, composting. Free lunch, workshop materials and sustainability giveaways. Free, however donations to the Koo Wee Rup Men’s Shed Bandicoot Habitat Protection program will be welcomed. Bookings: Brian Harlow  03 5997 9687/[email protected]

Art in the Garden
Date: Sunday 23 October 2016
Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Location: Gembrook Community Centre, 24 Blackwood Lane, Gembrook
Art in the Garden celebrates Spring and art. Relax and experience the magnificent surrounds of the private botanical garden. Bring the family and let the kids get creative. Cost: $15 adult, $10 child/concession, $25 family. More information: Lynne Trensky   0419 584 498/[email protected].

Eco-makeover your Home
Date: Saturday 29 October 2016
Time: 10.00 am – 12.00 pm
Location: Eco Living Display Centre, The Briars, 450 Nepean Hwy, Mt Martha
More details: Come on a guided tour of a sustainably retrofitted house, with expert advice and practical examples to “makeover” your home. Learn how to save money on energy and water bills and make your home more comfortable. Free but bookings are essential.

Landscaping for bushfire
Date: Saturday 5 November 2016
Time: 10.00 am – 11.00 am
Location: Eco Living Display Centre, The Briars, 450 Nepean Hwy, Mt Martha
More details: Do you live near a bushland area and need to know how to minimise your fire risk?  Come along to learn more about how fire behaves, good landscape design and suitable plant types to create an environment that not only looks good but will minimise your bushfire risk.  Presented by Katie Mc Kenzie, Fire Education Officer, Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Follow your Waste Tour
Date: Friday 18 November 2016
Time: 9.15 am for a 9.30 am departure – 1.30 pm
Location: Bus leaves from and returns to a central Frankston location and travels to Polytrade Recycling Centre (Dandenong South) and SUEZ Landfill (Hampton Park)
More details: Visit a recycling processing facility and a landfill site to see what really happens to what you “throw away”. Location for bus departure advised upon registration. Refreshments provided. Free but bookings are essential. Visit  or leave a phone message on 9768 1628.

‘No Charge’ Green Waste Weekend
Date: Friday 18 November – Sunday 20 November 2016
Time: 8.00 am – 4.00 pm Friday and 8.00 am – 5.00 pm Saturday/Sunday
Location: 280 Truemans Road, Rye, 134 Watt Road, Mornington & 21 McKirdys Road, Tyabb
More details: Mornington Peninsula Shire residents are invited to take advantage of a “no charge” green waste weekend.

Before Going Solar
Date: Tuesday 6 December 2016
Time: 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm or 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm
Location: Frankston Library, 60 Playne Street, Frankston
More details: Independent, factual advice to help choose the best solar power system for your needs. Free but bookings are essential. Visit or leave a phone message on 9768 1628.