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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fencers Without Boundaries

Our UGLN fire recovery fencing program 'Fencers Without Boundaries' has just completed another very successful year.
To date volunteers with our fencing program have contributed over 2500 days to rebuild 220 kilometres of fencing on fire affected properties throughout Murrindindi and Mitchell Shires.

Funded by the Federal Governments 'Caring for our Country' program, we have put tens of thousands of dollars into the local community and small business' by sourcing local accommodation, catering and meals, timber & hardware, transport, machinery, hotels, safety wear suppliers, the list goes on.

We have also employed locals from Whittlesea, Kinglake West, Yea and Kilmore.

Our program will continue in 2012 but our focus will be on fencing to protect native habitats such as waterways, remnant vegetation and revegetation sites. As seen in these photos of CVA and Uniting Church volunteers recently fencing off a tributary of the Yea River from cattle.

To volunteer or to find out more about our fencing program phone Chris Cobern on 5736 0104.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lorax project 2011 winds up for another year

The UGLN's Lorax Project has finally finished for 2011.
The high demand for trees on fire affected properties and the good soaking spring and early summer rains allowed us to continue our revegetation program a bit longer than usuall.
This year we revegetated over 31 hectares by planting 9580 plants with assistance from 562 volunteers. We also potted up over 2000 plants for next years reveg program.

The volunteers came from many different community and corporate groups including stalwarts NAB and ANZ, Stiefel Laboratories, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Kinglake

Scouts, DSE, Dept of Planning and Rural Communities, Kevin Hienz Garden Centre, Christ Church Grammar School, Marcellin College and JB Were.
Our program will kick off again in Autumn 2012.
For enquiries about tree planting on your fire affected property or to volunteer phone Chris Cobern on 5736 0104.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


When I saw the bare blackened trees that were left standing after Black Saturday, I wondered what had happened to the possums, birds and other small mammals that had once lived there.

Of the many who lost their homes on Black Saturday, our smallest and neediest.
have required more help than others in finding and rebuilding a new home. The destruction of so many trees in the 2009 fires meant the loss of sanctuary to many of our native wild life. Those animals who miraculously survived the flames soon found themselves in greater danger from predators because of the loss of their homes in the trees.

A dedicated group of people from Upper Goulburn Landcare Network have set about providing new homes for some of our furry and feathered friends. They have embarked on a project to set up nesting boxes by attaching them to the blackened trees, providing new homes for these animals. The boxes, made from timber, have different sized entry holes through which the creatures can access the warmth and safety they provide. Larger marsupials, like ringtail or brushtail possums, need a larger access hole than the smaller feathertail or sugar gliders.

The Landcare network has received help from many varied groups of volunteers, including Kinglake Scouts, students from Yea High School and Christ Church Grammar, Shepparton Mens’ Shed and ANZ volunteers. These people have donated their time and skills to make and locate the nesting boxes where needed. The boxes are attached to the trunks of trees, at varying heights near branches so that the animals can get to them easily.

We have several boxes at our place and the other day I received a big surprise when I went to check to see if it was being used. I slowly lifted the lid so that I wouldn’t frighten any new inhabitant. As I looked in, I saw two sleepy, golden eyes peering up at me inquisitively. Nestled in some dried grass at the bottom of the box was a ringtail possum who seemed puzzled by the intrusion. His little round face seemed to be asking: Who’s interrupting my sleep? Don’t you know what time it is? When he was satisfied that I presented no danger, he rustled around a little in his bed and curled up again to dream his possum dreams.

It’s heart-warming to see the return of our native wildlife, and to know that they have a safe place to live once again.

Kathy Stewart

Thursday, November 17, 2011

UGLN Awarded for Fire Recovery Effort

The enormous post fire efforts of the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network and its many supporters was acknowledged at last week’s Victorian Landcare Awards presentation.

The Fire Recovery Award was received on behalf of the Network by Terry Hubbard UGLN President and Chris Cobern, Fire Recovery Coordinator at Government House from the Hon Alex Chernov AO QC Governor of Victoria and the Hon Ryan Smith Minister for Environment.

A great deal of credit for the Award must go to those landcare people who met at Terry Hubbards place just three days after the fire and who feared a backlash against Landcare and the environment in general.

They felt that the UGLN with its ability to respond quickly and decisively and having strong environmental links with the community were well placed to find out the immediate needs of those affected, be proactive in coordinating volunteers and to this end .... work commenced immediately. This Award also reflects the earlier efforts of people like Bridget Clark, Janet Hagen and their bands of volunteers.

In total the UGLN with fantastic support from volunteers has undertaken a recovery program with an estimated value of over $3m.

All our efforts have been well supported by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, in particular Tony Kubeil who entrusted our volunteer Executive and Coordinators after the fires to roll out what has been an astonishing program.

The UGLN efforts have also been recognised for the nationally prestigious Banksia Awards (finalist) and as winner of the Regional Landcare Award.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Round-leaf Pomaderris

A team from Conservation Volunteers Australia has doing some great work with us tree planting and removing Cape Broom and English Broom from properties in the Kinglake/Flowerdale area.

One of the days was spent planting at the Stony Creek reserve in Kinglake West. The reserve has had holly and blackberry control works over the last two years. Now with the weeds under control we are able to carry out revegetation.
Plants included fifty of the very rare Pomaderris vaccinifolia or Round-leaf Pomaderris. These very special plants were grown for us by Healesville Environment Watch from seed collected in the Toolangi area.

We also planted more of the Pomaderris on private land along the Number One Creek in Kinglake, Island Creek in Glenburn, at the Murrindindi Scenic Reserve (with assistance from DSE) and on private land along the Murrindindi River in Murrindindi.

Bunnings support UGLN nest box program

On Saturday 5th November we held a nest box building day at Bunnings in Shepparton.

Volunteers from the local community, Shepparton Mens Shed and Uniting Care built 68 nest boxes for Sugar Gliders, King Parrots and Owlet Nightjars.

Bunnings kindly donated $4,000 worth of timber, hardware and paint as well as providing a marquee, cold drinks and staff to assist Karen and myself on the day.

The nest boxes will be installed on properties throughout the fire affected areas of Murrindindi Shire.

Phone Chris on 0413 855 490 for more information or if you'd like some nest boxes for your property.

Monday, October 24, 2011

DSE Planting Day on Murrindindi River

Volunteers from the DSE and the Dept of Planning and Rural Communities planted 300 shrubs and grasses along the Murrindindi River in Murrindindi.

The plantings were a great support for the local Yea River Landcare Group who have spent many hours carrying out weed control and improving this and other reserves in the area.

The reserve is a popular fishing spot and the work they did also beautifies the area for other recreational users and lovers of nature.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Local kids build homes for wildlife

Students from Yea High School and the Kinglake Scouts have been building nest boxes for wildlife which we have been installing on properties in Flowerdale, Junction Hill and Kinglake.

Due to the loss of many hollow bearing trees in the area as a result of the fires, we are providing artificial homes for the animals that generally nest in hollows in the trees. Suitable hollows can take many decades to form.

Recent inspections of boxes that we installed last year have discovered that they are being used by Ringtail Possums, Brush-tailed Phascogales and Sugar Gliders.

This is the second year that the students and Scouts have been involved with our fire recovery nest box project. Installing the boxes involves more than just nailing them to a tree. The kids record on a data sheet the height of the box, tree type, nest box and entrance aspect using a compass and they also GPS the location so we can find them later to inspect.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Free Pest Plant and Animal Control Courses

On Sunday 18 & 25 September 22 people from the Kinglake and Glenburn area attended the nineth free UGLN pest management course.
The course was held at the Kinglake Scout Hall and run by NMIT lecturer and Kinglake resident Kevin Chandler.
A delicious morning tea and lunch was provided by Flowerdale's own catering business 'Molly's Kitchen'.

Since April 2010 we have been running free Weed Identification and Control Workshops, 1080 baiting and Farm Chemical Users Courses throughout the fire affected areas of Murrindindi Shire.
The courses have also been held in Flowerdale, Yea, Strath Creek and Marysville.
They have all been well attended with almost 200 people having benefited from the opportunity provided by UGLN and funded by the Federal Governments Çaring For Our Country' program.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lorax Project In Full Swing

Our fire recovery revegetation program 'Lorax Project' is motoring along at the moment and the volunteers are enjoying getting outdoors amongst the fine spring weather.

Over the last two months with the help of many volunteers from NAB and CVA as well as local volunteers from the Kinglake Scouts and Strath Creek Landcare Group we have planted almost 3000 plants throughout properties in Flowerdale, Kinglake, Glenburn and Kilmore East.

We have also had great support from the following organistations and business' by supplying plants or funding for our plants: Fifteen Trees, Kevin Heinz School of Horticulture, Apprenticeships Plus, NAB and Rotary.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kinross Farm Landcare Project

With funding provided by CSL the UGLN has been able to implement a great environmental project at Kinross Farm in Kinglake West.
With the support and assistance of Kinross Farm we have installed stock exclusion fencing around over 5ha of remnant vegetation, carried out weed control and planted over 1200 trees and shrubs.

Recent fauna surveys carried out show the site provides very important habitat for wildlife. See photos taken by remote sensor cameras at the site below.
Evidence of a Long-nosed Bandicoot adjacent to the site also further supports this and other nearby initiatives to protect and enhance native vegetation and waterways.

Monday, August 15, 2011

National Tree Day

The Kinglake Landcare Group held this year’s National Tree day event at Bollygum Park in Kinglake.

The weather was great and over 50 local people including members of the Kinglake Scouts, Kinglake Landcare and Friends of Bollygum Park attended and planted over 500 plants in the bushland and garden areas of the newly constructed park.

A delicious morning tea of pancakes was cooked by the ladies of the Bollygum Park committee and bbq lunch provided by the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Conservation Volunteers Australia

Volunteers from Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) have recently been helping with the UGLN's fire recovery by planting trees at Flowerdale and Kinglake West and removing holly and privet from amongst bushland on the Stony Creek.

The team was very multicultural with members from Norway, America and China.

Using volunteers from around Australia and across the world CVA participate in a diversity of important projects to protect and enhance our environment.
To find out more go to: http://www.conservationvolunteers.com.au/

Monday, August 1, 2011

UGLN Fire Recovery Award

At the recent Goulburn Broken 25th Anniversary Landcare Awards night the UGLN was awarded the 'Network Award' for our fire recovery program.

This award is presented to an out-standing community group that has adopted best management practices on public or private land and is working towards enhancing or protecting an area on behalf of the community.

Photo above is President Terry Hubbard being presented with the award by Former Murrindindi Shire Mayor Lyn Gunter.

Photo below from left Terry, Secretary Lynnda Heard and Treasurer Rodney Ridd.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Christ Church Grammar School

On Friday 15th July students from Christ Church Grammar School in South Yarra returned to Kinglake to volunteer again with the UGLN fire recovery program.
This time the students takled a variety of diferent tasks.

They started the day installing nest boxes at a local landcare members property.

After lunch at the local bakery they got stuck into some tree planting at a bushland reserve in Pheasant Creek and then finished off the day cut & painting small holly bushes that are invading another section of the reserve.

Teacher Gay Wales and the kids did a great job and we appreciate them taking time out of their school holidays to help us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NAB dig in to help the helper

A team of volunteers from NAB put in a great days work planting trees for Blaze Aid founders Kevin and Rhonda Butler.

Kev and Rhonda have been coordinating the fire and flood recovery program 'Blaze Aid' over the last couple of years and it is about time the favour was returned.

The group helped to revegetate the steep hills of their sheep farming property in Kilmore East.

Thank you to Rhonda and Tom (Kev's righthand man) for putting on a great morning tea and bbq lunch.

Thank you also for the supervising assistance on the day from Shane Monk the GBCMA weeds officer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fencers Without Boundaries - Still bounding along

Terry Hubbard thanking our volunteers
We recently said goodbye and thank you to two of our stalwart fencing teams SA Rotary and the 4WD drivers at a bbq in Strath Creek (pictured left). Between the two teams they have rebuilt 62km of fencing as part of UGLN's Fencers Without Boundaries (FWB) fire recovery fencing program.

This is by no means the end of FWB.
UGLN is committed to the program until the end of 2011. With the continued assistance of the Uniting Church, our loyal volunteers from Shepparton and Melbourne and corporate groups such as NAB and Earnst & Young, all ably lead by our fencing team leader Alan Stafford.
We will continue to assist landowners rebuild their fences.
Alan Stafford and UGLN Coordinator Chris Cobern
Volunteers from  E&Y.