What's New in March 2021

BCLN E-news

Hello to all of our Landcare Members, Partners, Sponsors and Friends throughout the Bass Coast Landcare Network. In this e-news we are so happy to share information with you on more 'in-person' events than we have  had for a while, including the River Garden Blitz, Dung beetles events, open days and gatherings. There are also still quite a few available grants (such as electric fencing grants and new Agriculture Victoria Grants) and training opportunities including supported places on a Mental Health First Aid Training Course. We are delighted to announce that our Landcare Indigenous Nursery, located beside the footy oval in Bass, is now open to the public for sales on most Fridays, with bookings in advance! So take a break, make yourself a cuppa and enjoy our latest edition of the Bass Coast Landcare Network Enews.


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Upcoming River Garden Blitz!

It has been a very long time waiting for official volunteer activity at the River Garden to kick off again. The cancelled River Garden Blitz day in February due to the snap lockdown had much interest and it was such unfortunate timing.

The good news is that the long awaited River Garden Blitz is coming up this weekend, on Saturday March 13th!! So, if you aren't already signed up, this is your chance. Past volunteers at the River Garden say pulling out weeds is immensely satisfying. Gardening is excellent exercise and a great way to spend time with family, friends and to meet new people outdoors. There are tasks for all abilities, sharing of information and produce, plus learning for all.

Click on the link below for details and to join in on this action and info sharing session with our growing River Garden Community! 

We are calling out to all our members and River Garden Volunteers for an espalier expert who can assist at the River Garden. Please get in touch soon if you are, or know of, an espalier expert!

sign up

Nature Parks Community Open Day

Phillip Island Nature Parks Community Open Day is coming up on Sunday 14th March. It is one of the many special things about being a Bass Coast Shire resident! There's free entry to Nature Parks attractions including the Penguin Parade, Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies, Koala Conservation Reserve and Churchill Island, as well as walks, talks, kids’ fun and live music.

This event is also a great opportunity to meet the Phillip Island Rangers, researchers and volunteers. BCLN's own Jason McCracken (BCLN's Rabbit Officer) will be attending the Conservation heroes section and the Phillip Island Landcare Group will also have their information trailer at Churchill Island. 

Locals can book tickets for the event on Sunday 14th of March by emailing bookings@penguins.org.au or in person by visiting Churchill Island, Koala Conservation Reserve or the Nobbies Centre. Please note: Bookings are essential for the Penguin Parade (free entry to general viewing only). ​View the website and event flier here.


Discover the majesty of Dung Beetles

Is your curiosity sparked by Dung Beetles!? Ours is..

South Gippsland Landcare Network is about to trial two dung beetle nurseries in the Fish Creek area - one in Labatouche and the other in Toora. You are invited to come along to find out about the project and how you can get involved - at a free presentation and farm walk. 

This is a great opportunity to gain awareness of the surprising majesty and importance of Dung Beetles! Did you know that Dung Beetles make soil healthier? and more productive? They interrupt parasite life cycles, clear up paddocks and dramatically reduce fertiliser costs.  Dr Russ Barrow from Charles Sturt University is the Technical Research Coordinator for the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project is presenting at the events.

Register for either event by Sunday 21st March. Numbers are limited. For more information contact Cassie Wright: cassie@sgln.net.au, 0448 739 559.

Event 1: Labertouche Community Centre on Tuesday 23rd March at 10am-12:45pm. To register click here. 

Event 2: Toora Community Hall, on Wednesday 24th March at 10am-2pm. To register click here.


Mental Health First Aid Training

In 2020, the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority supported more than 30 landcarers to gain valuable skills needed to practice Mental Health First Aid. Another 14 people can now be supported to complete this course!

The online training is thorough and well-paced, delving into the type of conversations and actions you as a mental health first aider can apply to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health condition.
The course is run over 2 x 2.5 hour sessions. You must be able to attend both sessions as well as complete the pre-course work.

Two course dates and times are available: 19 March and Friday 26 March, 10am to 1pm and Sunday 21 March and Sunday 28 March, 2pm to 5pm. To register click here.


Online Webinar: Stubble, Straw and Carbon - Panels pellets and alternative uses

Stubble management can be a complex issue for farmers. Stubble retention has well-documented benefits, including nutrient recycling, reduced erosion, improved rainfall infiltration and reduced moisture evaporation. Retaining stubbles also improves soil health and biology. For seasons with large stubble loads there is room to put some of it into other productive uses. In this free webinar Graeme Anderson will explain the basic carbon cycle and the benefits of putting stubbles into building products to capture carbon for the long term.

At the webinar, you will also hear from expert, Steve Layfield from Ortech Industries on using straw stubbles in building products and from Ray Davies from the Pyrenees Shire Council, who will discuss how local farmers are converting stubble straw to energy as one means of alleviating the need to burn stubbles in autumn. 

The Webinar is on Wednesday 24th of March at from 12 noon to 1pm.  Click here to register your attendance


Port Fairy Women on Farms Gathering

The Annual Women on Farms Gatherings have been held across Regional Victoria for 30 years. This year’s theme Women for All Seasons is a nod to changes in our lives as well as the seasons we encounter each year on the land. The event will showcase the spirit, skills and dignity of the women who produce so much of the food and fibre for the world. The organising committee have worked hard to provide a diverse range of workshops for the 2021 event – focusing on opportunities for innovation and leadership for rural women, alongside practical skill development and network building, guest speakers and farm tours.

The three-day event is sure to inspire women interested in any area of the agriculture sector. This is an opportunity for friends old and new to enjoy a weekend together with lots of learning on the agenda – from micro-enterprises and sustainability, to civic participation and accounting.

Women on Farms Port Fairy will run from Friday 26 March until Sunday 28 March 2021. Click here to visit the event website.   



Farm Walk Integrating Compost on Farms

On March 4th ​BCLN successfully hosted over 30 people at the 'Integrating Compost on Farm' event at the property of Tarwin Lower landowner, Mark Burfield.  Organised in partnership with David and Meg Walker from Aussie Compost, the day was highlighted by a demonstration of compost turning as well as comparing different age compost rows and varying temperatures. Independent expert agronomist, Chris Alenson, also provided expert advice on what to look for when considering the use of compost on farm.  He had two main take home messages for those who attended:

1) Always ask for an analysis of the compost you are bringing onto your farm.  You have a right to understand what the quality is of the product you are purchasing.  
2) Look out for the carbon nitrogen ratio of the compost product.  A good mix is about 2/3 carbon rich materials and 1/3 nitrogen rich material.  

A fantastic day for everyone with a good mix of theory and paddock based discussion.  Thank you for all those who made the day so successful. 

Click here to read about the event and view the photos from the day!


Tackling Rabbits at French Island

Sunday 28th February saw a great rabbit management event at French Island, led by Bass Coast Landcare Networks Jason McCracken and Ecosystem Services Manager, Robbie Gray. Topics ranging from monitoring, rabbit biology, and integrated control were discussed and many questions were asked on the day.

This is the first of a series of workshops on French Island focusing on rabbit control, funded by the Victorian Rabbit Action Network. Upcoming workshops will include detailed rabbit control advice from Tim Bloomfield (14th March), how to monitor and use Feral Scan (online, date TBC), and in field rabbit control demonstrations (28th March). Workshops are open to those from French Island and from the Bass Coast region.

If you wish to participate contact: filandcare@gmail.com. Click here to view our webpage on controlling rabbits at BCLN.


Success with Coastcare Action Grant for Phillip Island Landcare Group!

The Phillip Island Landcare Group were delighted to hear the news of a successful Coastcare Action Grant. The Projects long title is Phillip Island Coastcare Blitz - Collaboration, engagement, training & action.

This project brings together and supports five Coast Action groups across Phillip Island in collaboration with two separate landholders, Phillip Island Nature Parks and the Bass Coast Shire Council. David Rooks, Group President is, “immensely excited about the July activities where coastal people and rural land holders will come together and share their stories and learnings”. Photo of the group was taken by Claire Davie, local Phillip Island photographer.

Click here to find out more about Phillip Island Landcare Group


BCLN local indigenous nursery open for direct sales to friends and members

The Bass Coast Landcare Network Indigenous plant nursery is now open for sales on Fridays! Local indigenous species are grown by volunteers led by Landcare Staff and are now available for retail sales in a range of sizes from hico tubes to 6 inch pots. 

The nursery operates most Fridays. Prior to a visit you must confirm with managers Stevie stevie.wynen@basscoastlandcare.org.au and Robbie Gray robbie.gray@basscoastlandcare.org.au. Please note payment is by card only and receipts will be emailed or sent via SMS.

Click here to find out more about our Indigenous Nursery.


Gippsland Intrepid Landcare clean-up at the Powlett River!

Well done to the team of local Intrepid landcare volunteers who picked up over 30 kg of rubbish from the Powlett River last weekend for Clean up Australia Day. Gippsland Intrepid Landcare is a volunteer group for passionate, creative and energetic 18-30 somethings. Intrepid Landcare connects young people to their region through environmental projects and epic adventures. This year a dance, trip to the prom and a tree planting roadshow is planned. New members are always welcome.
Click here to view Gippsland Intrepid Landcare's website!


Featuring Ferals for Photo and Video Competition

The Centre for Invasive Species has launched a Feral Photo and Video competition with prizes of outdoor cameras, books and trap devices. BCLN has entered this photo of Fox with a Magpie! You can submit images and video footage which showcase invasive species such as pest animals, weed infestations, exotic insects and/or the damage these species cause. Remote camera images and footage is allowed. Entry is free and you can enter as many times as you'd like. The winning entries will be completely decided by you, the audience, through a popular vote.

Entries opened 2nd February and close on Friday April 30th.
Click here to see the competition rules and to apply.



Electric Fencing Grants

With the success of the 2019 grants and a continuing commitment to support projects aligned with the priority areas of conservation, grazing management and feral exclusion, sponsoring business Gallagher and Landcare Australia are proud to offer the 2021 Gallagher Landcare Electric Fencing Grants.

A total pool of $100,000 (ex-GST) of support is available for up to 12 groups or individuals to receive a 2021 Gallagher Landcare Electric Fencing Grant. Eligible applicants are invited to apply for an individual electric fencing project grant for up to $8,000 (ex-GST) for fencing materials – with costs to be determined in consultation with your local Gallagher Territory Manager. Grant submissions close on Friday, 9th April 2021.
Click here to read more.


Farm Table AgLibrary

The Farm Table AgLibrary provides a one-stop online farming resource hub for the Australian agricultural industry. Containing pre-populated information toolkits, farmers from all across Australia and across different industry specialisations can browse relevant content from their desktop, phone or tablet.

"The Farm Table saves so much time; to have all the information in one reputable place and to know where to start looking rather than endless searching is an asset to the whole sector." - Aimee Snowden, Farmer, Tocumwal 

Click here to check out the Farm Table AgLibrary.


Agriculture Victoria: Small-Scale and Craft Program

The Victorian Government (through Agriculture Victoria) has developed a program aiming to target businesses looking to scale-up operations, diversify product lines and expand outreach. It builds from the Artisanal Sector Program, which delivered grants to businesses in Victoria’s highly valued and diverse artisanal produce sector, helping them grow production, enhance their farmers’ market potential and take their local produce to the world.

Grants up to $15,000 are available to eligible small-scale and craft agribusinesses for projects that support businesses to modernise equipment or adopt new technologies, leverage their business, diversify product range, access new markets or develop specialised skills. Recipients are required to make a cash co-contribution of a minimum of 50% of the total costs of the project. Applications open 24th February and close on 26th of March, 2021. Click here to find out more and to apply! 


Farm Safety Rebate Scheme

The Victorian Government (through Agriculture Victoria) has provided an opportunity to improve safety outcomes on farms with the establishment of the Farm Safety Rebate Scheme. Rebates of up to $5,000 excluding GST are available with at least 50% co-contribution to assist eligible farm businesses within Victoria to invest in infrastructure and equipment to improve safety for farming families, workers and visitors to Victorian farms.

Applications open 25 February 2021 and close on 31 December 2021. Rebates are available until the closing date or when program funds are fully allocated, whichever is sooner. 

Click here to access the Rebate Scheme website.


Junior Landcare Grants

Woolworths and Junior Landcare (Landcare Australia) are offering support for hands-on projects in schools and early learning centres that focus on sustainable food production, improving waste management practices and enhancing habitats. This year, in addition to the grants of up to $1000 on offer, there is extra funding of up to $500 for projects that have a bee component,  as bees and pollinators are so important to our environment. With up to 1,000 grants on offer, this is the largest number of Junior Landcare Grants ever given out in a single round. 

Applications close on 19th March 2021. Click here to apply.



BCLN Works Crew Available to Assist You!

It has been a busy time for the BCLN works crew, led by Mark Rowe. The hard working crew are now gearing up for the tree planting season and we are taking bookings. Mangroves are already making a comeback, with  Project Officer - Jye Andersen, organising three days work -  collecting seed, connecting the seed to a bamboo stake and planting 1500 seeds near the Queensferry Jetty. Above photograph is of Work's Crew worker, Stevie Wynen. Stevie also helps manage BCLN's Indigenous Plant Nursery.

The BCLN Works Crew are available to assist with many of your site preparation jobs including fencing, spot spraying and weed control. For competitive pricing and free quotes, please click below to contact our Works Crew and request a quote. As a not-for-profit, any revenue generated goes back into supporting the activities of the Bass Coast Landcare Network!  

Click here to view our services.


River Garden Community update

This month we hosted a volunteer session for a group of 15 Geocaching enthusiasts (pictured above), on Saturday 27th February where many hands made light work of weeding some of our swales, great conversations were had and the group even got to check out a few new caches in Bass! Other Volunteer efforts include weekly visits from Interchange Gippsland with a small group (10-15 people) with various disabilities who continue work on the garden beds at the bottom of the swales and mulching fruit trees.

It's been such a strange season for vegetable growing in Southern Victoria where our corn, tomatoes, eggplant and capsicum would normally be in full harvest mode right now, but we are still waiting for them to ripen. The wet year however has meant less watering has been needed. We continue to sell small amounts of produce to Udder and Hoe, including beetroots, lettuce, cucumbers and beans, so if you are after fresh locally grown produce head over to the back of the Kilcunda store where Udder and Hoe stock a range of vegetables, staples and other eco-friendly products. 

This month and next we are looking forward to our new Volunteer mornings, River garden Blitzes, where we will be there every second Saturday of the month from 9.30am-12.30pm, all are welcome, follow the link below to register, we can't wait to see you down at the River Garden!

Click here to join the River Garden Community.


Offset Your Vehicle Emissions with Local Planting Projects!

If you feel passionate about the environment and want to do your bit for our beautiful native flora and fauna, why not consider offsetting your car emissions with Bass Coast Landcare Network? Just click on your car's size to make a donation, which will cover the planting of enough indigenous plants to offset your car’s emissions for a year and contribute to restoring your own local landscape. 

All your friends and family will also see your complimentary car sticker showing your commitment to the Bass Coast environment.

Offset today

Bass Coast Arc – Landcare Public Fund making projects a reality – Donate today to make a difference!

The Bass Coast Landcare Public Fund is a regional non-profit organisation focusing on conserving biodiversity throughout Bass Coast.​ The Bass Coast Arc – “Community Access to Public Space” concept supports community groups to work with public land managers to improve the environment of our public spaces and create appropriate access to these unique areas.

Your contribution, no matter how small, helps to protect native plants and animals in Bass Coast’s most ecologically important landscapes. ​

SUpport us

What's your story?

We would love to hear from you and your Landcare group with stories and photos of what's been happening in your area and any suggestions of things that you would like to see in your E-news.

We look forward to meeting and catching up with you at upcoming events and activities around Bass Coast.

Until next edition, 

Happy reading, from the Bass Coast Landcare Network.

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We want to hear from you for the next E-news!

Please send us any of your stories, events or other information for the next edition of the E-news by the end of the first week of the month.

All we need is a photo and a couple of paragraphs to be sent to:  lisa.wangman@basscoastlandcare.org.au

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