What is Landcare Fire Recovery?

Upper Goulburn Landcare Network
Since the devastating Black Saturday bushfires of Feb 2009, the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network has been working with landholders and local communities in the Murrindindi and Mitchell Shires to rebuild and rehabilitate the local environment on private property.
This blog presents some of the stories.
To find out more about our program or to volunteer with one of our projects contact Landcare Coordinator Chris Cobern on 5736 0104.
Or by email on ugrecovery@gbcma.vic.gov.au

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fencing in Flowerdale

On a fine spring day 30 staff from NAB Financial Planning completed 2km of fencing at Paul Michael's Flowerdale property. The NAB team were supervised by Mick Yarwood and some of the Shepparton fella's from the Uniting Church's fencing team. The property is nearly 1000 acres and very steep and rugged country and we spotted a couple of snakes but this didn't deter the very enthusiastic team from putting in a great days work.
A couple of weeks later we finished the remaining 800m with great help from Benalla High School students and teachers supervised by a couple of our SA Rotary fencing team.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Powerful Performance by Origin Energy Team


South Cathedral Farm

Award Winning and Pet Friendly Luxury Bed and Breakfast Cottages

The rebuilding process has really moved along at Megan & Marty's place since we last visited with volunteers. The holiday cottages are up to painting stage and a bore drilling rig was working to provide a water supply to the new gardens .

Today's project was to clear vegetation from a burnt fence line . Preparing the site for the Uniting Church fencing crew to put up a new fence in the next few weeks.

Nineteen Origin Energy volunteers arrived by coach from Melbourne believing they were doing a 'weeding' job. This was very extreme weeding and the hardest , most exhausting volunteer day I have done !

Conditions were beautiful as Megan & Janet disappeared into the scrub with their chainsaws revving . The Origin Energy team followed with loppers and hand saws, clearing a four metre wide path through the regrowth and dead burnt tea trees. The front team cut and pulled while the rear team dragged and stacked the cleared vegetation into bonfire heaps. The three girls who volunteered for the catering crew cooked a wonderful BBQ back at the house aided by the bus driver. We worked for 5 hours and cleared 200 metres. This does not sound like a lot but it was a massive effort by everyone. Thank you very much guys. I think there would have been lots a sore muscles in the office on Wednesday.

Notable firsts : The first snake for the season was spotted (by a girl who expressed a fear of worms before we started working so you can imagine how she felt about snakes !) and the first Gucci handbag to be worn on a volunteer day appeared. It is modelled by its proud wearer in the pics .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Warm Mud for EPA

1041 Eucalyptus Road Glenburn.
10 volunteers from the EPA . Chris & Janet from Landcare.
Beautiful sunny , warm day.
Before lunch planted native grasses around the new dam to stablize the soil and create habitat for birds & frogs.
The EPA crew ( Caroline organised all this ) shared a sumptous picnic lunch on the back patio . Played the 'coin' game which was an interesting way to learn more about each other . Take a cup of random coins , each person takes one and looks at the date, in turn everyone tells the group what they were doing in year on their chosen coin . Eg. 1988 The bicentennial year , a cloud of fertilty had decended on Ruffy and just about every child bearing age woman had a baby . I gave birth to Jacqui at 3 minites to midnight on the 29th of February . A leap year baby but only just !
After lunch we got stuck into it , the mud I mean , the team constructed 2 silt traps below the dam to catch sediments before they reach the creek . Warm , sloppy, sticky mud everywhere.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Alan Stafford - Paul Harris Fellowship Award

Fencers Without Boundaries.

Alan Stafford was recently presented with the Paul Harris Fellowship Award by the Rotary Club of Yea.
As a volunteer with the Uniting Church Alan has been coordinating the rebuilding of fences throughout the shires of Murrindindi and Mitchell since shortly after the 2009 Black Saturday fires.
Since joining forces with the UGLN fire recovery program ‘Fencers Without Boundaries’ in March 2010 Alan and his team of volunteers from Shepparton and Benalla have rebuilt over 100km of fences.
The presentation of Paul Harris Fellow recognition is The Rotary Foundation’s way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programs.
Rotarians often designate a Paul Harris Fellow as a tribute to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of the Rotary Foundation.
Chris Cobern.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lorax project winds down for 2010

The Lorax project is winding down now until next treeplanting season.

Most of our seedlings have been distributed by Chris , Cathy & Janet .
A waiting list for next years plant selection is being compiled .
Plans to seed collect for growing next years plants are being made .
Volunteers growers are being recruited.

  • 13,200 seedlings were planted by volunteers this year.

  • A further 12,500 plants were given to fire affected landholders for them to plant.

  • 22,000 stakes were used.

  • 7,600 tree guards used.

  • 20 stainless steel 'hamilton' treeplanters are still in the landcare tool trailer

  • 4 mallets were lost , 16 remain.

  • 220 pairs of work gloves were worn out .

  • A valuable partnership between Upper Goulburn Landcare Network and Treeproject has been formed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Where did all these plants come from ?

Where did all the trees we have been planting come from ?
Actually most of what we have been planting are not trees but are understorey plants .
Shrubs , low bushes , ground covers , herbs and grasses. ( nothing too fire prone )

Our plants had been grown from locally collected seed by volunteer groups.

Euroa Arboretum grew 9,000 . Thanks to Sam Strong , Rob Hall and their volunteer workers

Tasmanian Understorey Network volunteers grew 3000 plants and Janet & Justus travelled to TAS to thank the growers and collect the plants . Not much happens in Hobart on a Sunday and the local press & TV reporters covered the story of plants going to Vic for Bushfire Victims.
I was even interviewed by Lindy Burns on 774 Drivetime about the project! We collected plants from Devenport , Launceston and Hobart and met some beaut people along the way.

Rotary Clubs in Melbourne grew 10,000 plants at the Kevin Heinze Centre .
What great effort by many people .

Backyard Blitz in Wandong

September 27 & 29th 2010
ANZ Finance Dept - 17 volunteers
plus Janet & Chris.
Todays project was to finish a garden make over for Mary-Anne & Chris Mount View Rd Wandong .
The house was saved from the fire but their garden was devastated.
We planted exotic shrubs in the newly landscaped front garden and native shrubs around the fencelines . Lots of shovelling piles of mulch around the garden and watering plants in ( believe it or not the soil was quite dry ) and general tiding up .
Chris had a bad morning and travelled many kilometres before arriving at Wandong .
The he set out from home very early but unplanned for events kept cropping up ! The seedlings in Yea needed an urgent watering , Alan Stafford needed accomodation booked , the landcare equipment trailer needed to be picked up from Kinross Farm but the gate was locked and to top it all off he had a flat tyre when he finally got to Wandong . Poor Chris , he was relieved when the day was over.
Another team from the ANZ was doing a similar job for the next door neighbour the following day with supervision supplied by Treeproject

A nice letter

Mr. Chris Cobern
Fire Recovery Landcare Coordinator
Upper Goulburn Landcare Network
Shop 5/10 High Street
Yea, Vic., 3717

Dear Chris,


We would like to express our appreciation and thanks to the Management and Staff of the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network for the assistance rendered to us since the ‘Black Saturday’ Bushfires.

As you are aware, we suffered fire damage during the fires, and lost most of our fencing, trees and pasture. We were in dire straits here and were extremely thankful that you were able to kindly help us during this trying time.

Your untiring efforts on our behalf, in coordinating all aspects of the work are most appreciated, and we would ask that you pass on our thanks to all concerned. The assistance of staff from the NAB Bank was also appreciated, as well as the Victorian Mobile Landcare Group, and the other volunteers who attended with both yourself and Janet Hagen, to re-establish our fencing and plant trees, and we will be forever grateful.

Thank you once again.

Yours sincerely,

Beverly and Jim

Kinross Chook Farm

Things got pretty muddy at Kinross Chook Farm at Flowerdale this September . Treeplanting days were postponed until the access trail dried out . So far 2 Volunteers groups have contributed their time to this wetland protection project . The owners of Kinross farm have decided to fence out a couple of beautifully big dams and plant around them to enhance wildlife habitat. We saw plenty of ducks and kingfishers while we were planting .

  • Cathy & De from treeproject worked with the first BMS team of 12 volunteers. Muddy conditions meant the everything had to be transported to the site by wheel barrow which was a bit of a struggle . The manager gave everyone 3 dozen eggs each as a thanks present.

  • Janet and Chris looked after the second team from BMS . A small be determined group of 6 who brought with them a gourmet lunch to share . 200 sedges and grasses were planted.

  • This was a landcare/ DPI partnership , Peter Mitchell organised funding for the fencing . A $2000 grant from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories paid for the plants.

Fencers without Boundaries

These photos were taken at Extons Rd Kinglake. We rebuilt fences for Joe Exton and his neighbour Lou Calageri with the Uniting Church and 30 NAB vol’s.
The volunteers also removed English broom, holy and blackberry from 2 acres and the roadside.
The weather was cold and even some snow fell in the morning but fined up for a nice afternoon.
Lou and Bridget Calageri put on a great bbq lunch which the bus driver as usual helped cook for us.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Saddle Club

Sales representatives from Bristol- Myers - Squibb Pharmaceutical Company decided to conclude their Hepatitis type B1 Conference with a team building volunteer activity. These guys were from all over Australia and needed a tree planting site within 1hours drive of Tullamarine Airport . We found that perfect site at Jonathan McLean's Equestrian Center ,Combinaine.

We admired the stables and horses before doing some garden restoration work .

Tim from Treeproject helped lay out the site with Cath Olive selecting the species. Janet entertained the visitors and Jonathan told his bushfire survival story .

12 volunteers 300 plants finished by lunch time and caught the 2pm plane home to QLD

Thanks to Nicole Goode for organising this team .

Bridgets Last Landcare Sausage

Friday the 3rd September was a momentous day for Upper Goulburn Bushfire Recovery Project . Bidget cooked her last landcare sausage !

While Bridget was cooking this sausage 38 ANZ Risk Management Team Volunteers were planting on a very risky site at Gail Tolls property in Buxton ( note large vat of pumpkin soup in foreground )

An extemely large hungry dog was watching her and very hungry team thanked her .

Windy Ridge

September 2nd 2010
Heathcote Junction . Carla Hendersons Block .
Carla lost her house during the fire , she is on her own and needed help to get started with the cleaning up . 43 ANZ volunteers pulled out burnt fencing and removed weeds and unwanted regrowth from her house site and burnt it on a bonfire.
It was so windy on this ridge top that I had to bring a tent to keep the BBQ out of the wind . Catering for this many volunteers in the field is challenging but Chris & Janet have it down to a fine art by now !

At Trevor Young's Place

Wednesday 1 September , Trevor and Jane Young's . Heathcote Junction .
ANZ Risk Management Team 37 volunteers
It rained all day and we got very wet .
Team one went fencing building with the 'Uniting Church Mobile Mens Shed'
Team 2 went woody weed cutting with Janet.
I was impressed with the multi-tasking personal assistants who proudly announced that they were mothers who could get wet , talk and kill weeds at the same time !! ( does that make them special or just a normal landcare person?)
Who is Trevour Young - very famous according to Chris - Played drums for AC/DC, Billy Thorpe , Chain etc.....Anyway he is a nice guy and we were happy to help.

Tally for ANZ Mega week

Volunteers arriving by the trailer load to Terry Hubbards planting site at Strath Creek .
Load number 2.
Tally for week
202 volunteers

490 beef sausages
20 kg onions
45 loaves of bread
70 litres pumpkin soup
10 vegetarians
2 gluten free vegetarians
3 litres tomato sauce.
36 packets of chocolate biscuits
400 paper cups

1850 plants - planted & guarded
900 metres of fence erected
4 ha of woody weed removed
800 metres of fence removed .

4 very tired landcare coordinators
10 very happy fire effected landholders

It is not all about Tree Planting

Woody Weed removal has been another important activity volunteers have undertaken .

After the bushfire is an excellent time to get on top of invasive exotic weed species.

Volunteers have been 'cutting and painting' broom , blackberries, holly and gorse from patches of remnant bush.

Loppers are used to cut the plants at ground level then the cut stems are quickly dabbed with neat round-up. This kills the plant and has the added benefit of using very little chemical .

It is time consuming and physically demanding work ( a little bit boring really ) but these young volunteers from SW Sydney Environment Group managed to clear a large patch at Kinglake West , Stony Creek Reserve. Thanks guys.