NAB Corporate Volunteers enjoying a break.
Eighteen National Australia Bank Corporate Volunteers arrived at the Hubbard shearing shed for a morning cuppa. This was the second Corporate Volunteer planting day in Hidden Valley this season. And it appears to be the Battle of the Banks; a small group of ANZ volunteers planted 230 seedlings at this site a month ago and now it was time to see what the NAB volunteers could achieve.
The plan was to take the group all the way to the top of the hill and plant some of the higher ripped areas in this project site, but the previous day’s rainfall was enough to make it too risky to drive in this hill country; one of the volunteers even bogged his own vehicle before the day even got underway. Continue reading
John Hamilton’s dozer ripping the SW facing slope.
The 6.3 ha Granter site was fenced back in Feb 2013 and now it’s being prepared for planting. John Hamilton’s dozer creates three rip-lines up to 500mm deep with each pass. These rip-lines will allow newly planted seedlings to quickly get their roots deep into the rocky ground, as well as capture and store rainfall that may otherwise have run-off (see below for additional comments). It’s a strategy that, if carried out well, has few disadvantages and can give seedlings a big advantage in their first few years. Continue reading
NAB volunteers at King’s.
Planting has begun on another of our projects sites. Susan & Joel King have a long, narrow 6.2 ha site that was fenced last November and has now had about half it’s 1000 seedlings planted. As well as seedlings, planted on the steeper slopes (image at left and below), there’ll be direct seeding on the upper slope and ridge-line a little later in the season.
All indigenous seedlings planted at this and all project sites are grown locally, from seed collected in the district. Twenty-five different species were planted during this session.
Seedlings planted included (@ 20% canopy species):
Acacia verticillata Prickly moses
A. mearnsii Black wattle
A. dealbata Silver wattle
A. genistifolia Spreading wattle
A. verniciflua Varnish wattle
A. leprosa Cinnamon wattle
A. acinacea Gold dust wattle
A. implexa Lightwood
A. paradoxa Hedge wattle Continue reading
Ripping has been done with precision and care.
Managing the steep hills of Hidden Valley (Sites 3A & 3B) is being achieved with a combination of controlled grazing and revegetation. But, what is the best way to encourage woodland regeneration on steep, stony slopes, where growing conditions are tough and where access is difficult?
It took quite a few months and many conversations within the project and with machine operators, before we finally felt confident of our plan and ripping got underway in Hidden Valley. An experienced machine operator, John Hamilton from just over the range at Dairy Creek, took two days to finish the job, pulling 3 tines behind his dozer. The end result looks great and has clearly been done with precision and care. Continue reading
Local provenance Sticky Hop Bush (Dodonaea viscosa) direct seeded and doing well.
With the first eight months of the project completed, it was time for the Steering Committee to get out into the paddock and see first hand how the project sites were progressing.
While Steve (Proj. Coordinator) and Terry & David (local volunteers and Landcare advocates), were already very familiar with the sites, having spent many hours erecting several km’s of fences and coordinating volunteers, the rest of us needed an on-site update of the project’s progress. Continue reading
Ernst & Young volunteers still smiling at the end of day!
Great preparation went into a day when an enthusiastic team of young people from Ernst and Young were to arrive to help us fence on some very difficult terrain. The refreshment site prepared at the lower end of the valley resembled an army camp and most of the organisation had a similar character about it. The team arrived at 09:30 hours on Monday, December 3 and were ferried into the Valley in 4 wheel drives to face a safety briefing and receive PPE gear over morning tea.
A well-deserved morning cuppa.
Possible Glider feed-tree in Hidden Valley.
What Happened to this Tree?
This young Long-leaf Box (Eucalyptus goniocalyx) was spotted on the side of the access track in the “ Hidden Valley” Restoration site. These strange scars ran the length of the entire trunk and some of the upper branches. They are quite deep and glistened with sap in the wounds. Is it possible the culprit is the Yellow-bellied Glider (Petaurus australis)? Or maybe it is the work of the much smaller and more common Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps)? Or perhaps it’s something altogether different? The opinions of our Fauna Survey Team are divided.
The next move is to get some cameras and sound recording devices set up in the area with the assistance of Focus on Fauna to try and obtain evidence as to the animal responsible for the damage to this tree. Continue reading
Paul and Joel fencing on a steep slope, Grey Box trees in background.
The 22nd of October saw the start of our first fence line in the Strath Creek Biodiversity Project.
Allan Stafford from Benalla, who is well known locally as being part of the UGLN Fire Recovery Team overseen by Chris Cobern, has been seconded along with his co – worker John to work with us on the three sites that need fencing in the Strath Creek Biodiversity Project.
John hails from the northern suburbs of Melbourne and has put a tremendous effort into the fire recovery as a volunteer. Now he is doing the same with our project also as a volunteer. Continue reading
Aerial view of the direct seeding.
In Early October this year, the first of our Carbon Farming Demonstration Sites began it’s journey back to providing ecosystem services, thanks to help from local direct-seeding contractors Janet & Justus Hagen and landholder Steve Joblin.
This site was chosen early on in the project and was one of the few project sites suitable for mechanical direct-seeding. Though getting a little late in the season for mass plantings, good soil moisture from the last two wet years meant good conditions for direct-seeding. And who knows what next season will be like? Continue reading
Participants listen to the opening address.
On Saturday 25th October, under grey skies, light drizzle and majestic Manna Gums, 25 Landcarers and friends gathered in Coonan’s Reserve on the King Parrot Creek at Flowerdale. The chorus of thornbills, wrens, grey shrike thrush, eastern whipbird and crested shrike tit and the creaking of gang-gangs gave way to the bright chatter of people making their way down the track to the centre of the Reserve. In the clearing, a grand vista of the 3 Sisters across the creek formed an impressive background for a ‘Welcome to Country’ delivered by Kym Monohan, Executive Officer of the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation. Assisted by one of our younger landcarers ‘Jack’, Kym then planted a Candlebark, the first seedling of the Strath Creek Biodiversity Project, in the clearing.