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Greenwrap - Spring Edition

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Welcome to Winter 

How great is winter! Stews, soups, rain for the garden and cool foggy mornings. Hopefully you have a chance to get up early and into one of Banyule's spectacular natural spaces.

Cooking to reduce waste and save money. 

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Residents came together in May to learn some new recipes to reduce their impact on the environment.

Cooking to reduce food waste saves the resources used to produce wasted food and reduces methane emissions. Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas which emits from rotting food waste in landfill. 

The morning was full of delicious tastings, lots of questions and answers and new ideas to take home and try.  Participants learned lots of tricks for saving time and money too. Jen and Gaby from Plan Buy Cook www.planbuycook.com.au shared their 4, 2 & 1 approach to meal planning: prepare 4 meals for the week, prepare double quantities of your 2 favourites and freeze to eat later in the week, then have 1 special meal – take out, or a quick meal prepared on a busy night.   With the time saved, you can do more with your family and friends, or take your dog for that extra walk.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can reduce your impact on the environment, and connect with others in your community, sign up for our contact list by filling in this survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SustainableCommunitiesContactList

We will send you information on upcoming local events as part of the Sustainable Homes and Communities Program.

Sustainable Homes and Communities is a program of Darebin and Banyule Councils.

www.sustainablecommunities.vic.gov.au

Speed date a sustainability expert

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The Environment Team was delighted to host our first Speed Dating session in partnership with the Alternative Technology Association this week.

The sold out event enabled residents to seek clarity and answers around a range of household sustainability issues, such as how to undertake an energy efficient renovation.

Often it is this small amount of advice that provides people with the confidence to take more concrete steps forward in their plans.

We look forward to holding the event again in the future. 

Working together at Banyule Flats

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The Bushland Management Unit, Warringal Conservation Society and the Green Army have joined forces to revegetate the “Frog Bog” at Banyule Flats. The Green Army has worked hard for the last few months, brush-cutting the invasive grasses to help prepare the site for planting on Sunday the 20th May with Warringal Conservation Society.

On Friday the 18th of May, the Bushland Management Unit worked at the flats, applying the finishing touches before the community planting day. Using Weed Dragons, (basically flamethrowers) the crew burnt the last of the weedy biomass and freshly germinated weed seeds from the site so that the new indigenous plants going in on Sunday have the best chance of surviving and not being outcompeted by weed species.

One other management issue at this site is rabbits. A constant issue for land managers, rabbits will eat new plants before they have had a chance to take hold and flourish. Caging plants and adding in fences are two ways to protect new plantings.

“The Green Army have worked really hard to get this area prepared for planting”, Megan Lowe, Ranger at Banyule Flats, said. ”The work they have done and continue to do will give the new plants every chance of survival.”

Recent rains after a very dry autumn have been welcomed, returning vital moisture to the soil.

For more community planting days at Banyule Flats visit Warringal Conservation Society’s Facebook page.

Bush Crew Diaries 

Eliza - Plenty River Bush Crew

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Along the Plenty River our bush crew have set up some motion cameras to observe the wildlife along the riparian corridor. In the last couple of weeks we have captured pictures of a resident wombat which is living along the river bank. He’s been seen nosing his way around and turning upside-down on his back in to give himself a good scratch on the surrounding vegetation.

Wombats tend to live along wildlife corridors which provide shelter and protection from external threats and predators.

Along the Plenty the greatest threats to wombats are humans, dogs and pest species such as foxes. Worryingly, all three of these were captured on camera at the same point that were saw our wombat friend. People can erode or collapse burrows while walking. Dogs and foxes will attack and cause physical harm. Foxes have also been known to move into wombat burrows in the cooler months and spread the disease mange on contact with the burrows.

Nationally, mange is the number one threat to wombats. Mange is a condition where parasitic mites dig into the skin of the animal and feed off its muscle tissue. The animals become extremely itchy and can result in loss of hair, skin infections and in some cases death by secondary infection. It is spread by contact, making it extremely contagious and can be passed between species.

To help with the sustainability of wombat populations you can do your bit by keeping your dogs on a leash and staying away from the vegetation along the river banks.

Tom – Darebin Creek

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The first quarter of 2018 has been all about our cute furry friends: the sugar gliders! They are a small nocturnal marsupial which grow up to around 170g. A rather territorial species, a colony will usually consist of 5 to 10 gliders of which the majority are female with one dominant male.              

Thanks to the friends of Darebin Creek who helped to build nesting boxes in February, we have managed to install 12 new glider boxes at various locations along the creek. It didn't take very long before we noticed some residents moving in to their new homes! The boxes are designed in such a way to prevent common myna birds from invading. You can tell if gliders have used a nest box as there will be nibble marks around the rim of the entrance.              

We decided to run our very first spotlight night walk with the Friends of Darebin Creek to observe the gliders foraging. The popularity of the event was astounding as we had around 35 attendees which meant we had to run two separate groups at different locations on the creek. After a shy start to the evening, we were lucky enough to spot 3 sugar gliders clambering through the canopy of eucalypts. One of these decided to give us their famed acrobatic show by gliding about 15 metres between trees. A rather lazy jump for the species which can glide upwards of 50 metres if required! They’re able to achieve this through the use of a padagium, a membrane which connects the 5th finger to the ankle which acts as a sail – a rather nifty adaptation to save energy and escape predators!         

As the weather takes a wintry turn we are gearing up to begin our planting season. The first of our community planting days with the Friends of Darebin Creek will be Sunday 27 May from 10am to 12pm at the Banyule Northern Grasslands Reserve. This will be followed by planting some of our revegetation beds around Olympic Park on 24 June also from 10am to 12pm. For further information, please visit www.friendsofdarebincreek.org.au.  

Adrianna - Yarra 2

Panic Veld Grass (Erharta erecta) – a common weed of bushland and home gardens and requiring commitment to eradicate.

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Panic Veld Grass is a very common introduced grass found in Melbourne. It is native to Southern Africa and was originally introduced to Australia around the 1900’s as a pasture species and also for erosion control.

It is a perennial grass which grows to around 60 cm tall, flowering and seeding for most of the year. Mature plants can produce viable seed every four weeks. Seed longevity in the soil seed bank is approximately three years.

This grass species is an aggressive competitor and can quickly reduce biodiversity of native ground flora if left unchecked.

Our strategy for controlling this weed has been to kill perennial plants and control seedlings for three years in close succession throughout the year, preventing any seed set. After several years of this management technique in treated areas, we are now seeing the wonderful results in our bushland areas.

This plant can be easily removed by hand weeding. If you would like to control this weed in your home garden, remove it before it sets seed throughout the year.

 

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Conversations on the #RightTrack 

Right track workshops are an initiative developed at the Asylum Seekers Resource Center to facilitate constructive conversations about the issues that face people seeking asylum within our community. Importantly, the community conversations are not about the politics of the issue, but rather values – particularly focusing on ideas of a fair and humane process, and what this should look like.

The conversations run for an hour and are hosted by an experienced facilitator who takes the 8-10 participants through four stages, interspersed with recordings that provide an insight into the real experiences of a person seeking asylum and their immigration lawyer.

At each stage the group are asked one or two questions to guide their discussion and at the end of the conversation participants fill out a survey which indicates their views.

A highly successful pilot conversations project was run in the Higgins electorate recently, with 47% of participants shifting their views to support fair and humane alternatives to the current process, whilst 52% were already in support. 

To find out more about #RightTrack go to the ASRC Website

To find out more about events in Jaga Jaga, contact program facilitator Pam Rowley on 0417 110 837

 

 

Have a community environmental event you want promoted in the Greenwrap?

Send us details at environment@banyule.vic.gov.au