Christmas Hills Landcare email news - 15th January 2011

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This newsletter is to update you with news and events related to Christmas Hills Landcare.

Included in this newsletter:

    1. Next Landcare event – Environmental planning session and AGM - Sunday, 13th February
    2. Christmas Hills Landcare Group AGM - Sunday, 13th February
    3. Are you Fire ready? - Bushfire Safety meetings - Saturday, 15th January
    4. Working bee – Rabbit bait station construction – date TBC
    5. Nillumbik Landcare Support grant application
6. Strategic weed control on fire affected public land
. 2010 - 2011 CHLG membership reminder - EFT now available
    8. Christmas Hills News - January edition

1. Next Landcare event - Environmental planning session and AGM - Sunday, 13th February
At the CHills Lounge in December last year, we were introduced to a project that offers our community a rare opportunity to create a shared plan for managing the land and environment that we collectively share here in Christmas Hills. The Community Environmental Recovery Action Plan (CERAP) project seeks to take into account the Christmas Hills community's views on our local environmental assets, land management and bushfire safety, to develop a plan that provides clear guidance to landholders in Christmas Hills for land and environmental management and fire recovery actions.

The consultants engaged by Nillumbik council, EnPlan Partners, have agreed to provide the Landcare group with an opportunity to input into the early stages of the CERAP process. Darrel Brewin and Alan Thatcher from EnPlan will present the information gathered to date, explain what directions and priorities are emerging, and what form they see the plan taking. Our group has the opportunity to identify any gaps in information or sources, contribute content, and offer guidance on the structure/design of the plan itself.

The planning process is very similar to the one we started a few months ago that we anticipate will enable our group to determine its priorities, and decide what activities to focus on and what things to seek funding for. The process we commenced used an “asset-based” approach – ie identify and map the high value environmental and land assets in Christmas Hills, describe why they are considered high value, identify the key threats to these assets (and if appropriate map these as well). This would then lead to describing the types of land management actions required, and in which locations, which in turn would guide what any one landholder could do to contribute to caring for the environmental assets of Christmas Hills. We now hope that the CERAP process can do a lot of this for us.

Then we elect the Christmas Hills Landcare Group management committee for 2011 (see next item for more detail), before breaking for afternoon tea and socialising.

It all happens from 2pm to 5pm at Gad and Kylie’s on Sunday, 13th February - more details in the attached flier.

2. Christmas Hills Landcare Group AGM - Sunday, 13th February
The time has come for the Christmas Hills Landcare Group to take a more formalised approach to its management.

Over the five years the group has been in existence we have grown in profile and membership, our projects have become increasingly ambitious in scale and complexity, and we now have several projects on the go at once. This has led to an increased number of decisions to make and more things to organise.

To date the group has not had a formal management committee, and decision-making on behalf of the group has been made by people not elected by the membership. We now arrive at the time where we need to broaden the number of people participating in the group’s management and decision-making, and mandate their role by electing them onto a management committee.

The role of the management committee is to:

  • Set the future directions for the group (ie vision, purpose, aims, strategic pathways)
  • Decide on the group’s priority actions for 2011
  • Monitor, evaluate and be accountable for the group’s activities and finances
  • Ensure the group remains focused on fulfilling its agreed purpose
  • Ensure that the group operates within the laws and rules that govern it
  • Ensure that all the group’s money, property and resources are properly used, managed and accounted for
  • Ensure that the group’s people are managed effectively
  • Keep the rest of the group membership informed of directions and decisions

We are aiming to have a committee of 6 to 10 people, with office bearers for at least the following positions:

  • President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary

Other positions will be established by the elected committee as and if required.

So we need people willing to be nominated, and people to both propose and second their nominations, in time for elections at our inaugural AGM on Sunday, 13th February at the event at Gad and Kylie's. Only current members (see below) are eligible for election, and only current members can propose and second nominations.

We are fortunate in that a number of people have already expressed their willingness to be nominated. These people still need to be nominated and seconded, using the attached nomination form, and the form returned to me before the elections are held at 3:30pm on the 13th February 2011.

These people are:

  • Doug Evans
  • Rob Shackleton
  • Tina Keene
  • Nicole Noy
  • Ross Coupar
  • Mark (Gad) Gardner
  • Kylie Moppert

We would also welcome any other members who are willing to be nominated.

So if you are willing to be nominated, please let me know. If you are willing to nominate or second one, some or any of those who have expressed willingness to be nominated, also please let me know. I will then endeavour to match nominees with nominators and seconders, and circulate the forms fro completion.

It is anticipated that the new committee will need to meet for the first time soon after the AGM.

The CHLG AGM will be held at 3:30pm at Gad and Kylie’s on Sunday, 13th February - more venue details in the attached flier.

3. Are you Fire ready? - Bushfire Safety meetings - Saturday, 15th January
The CFA invites you to attend a free information session about:

  • the bushfire risk in our local area
  • developing a bushfire survival plan
  • personal survival and how you can protect yourself
  • how you can prepare your house
  • what "leave early" means
  • defending your home
  • information and warnings during a bushfire

There are two local street corner community meetings being held in Christmas Hills/ Bend of Islands this Saturday, 15th January:

10:00am to 11:00am - corner Osborne and Skyline Roads
12:00 noon to 1:00pm - corner Ridge and Westering Roads

BYO chair. You can register your planned attendance at (search by 'Nillumbik' and 'Christmas Hills'). Enquiries - ph: 8746 1400.

4. Working bee – Rabbit bait station construction – date TBC
There still remains some work to do to complete the wire mesh cutting and assembly of the rabbit bait stations. With about 20 of the 80 stations still to be completed, Mark “Gad” Gardner is organising a working bee to finish this task. Expected to be on a weekend soon, stay tuned for an email from Gad with details of where and when. Leather gloves and bolt cutters will be handy if you can bring them. If we can get 6 people, it should take no longer than two hours to finish.

5. Nillumbik Landcare Support grant application
We have recently lodged an application with the Shire of Nillumbik for their annual Landcare Support Grant. Following a discussion at our December event, the following items have been included in the application:

  • Engagement of a specialist contractor to demonstrate the use of explosives to collapse rabbit warrens (will form part of a Landcare event mid 2011)
  • Sign writing for the tool trailer (to help promote the group)
  • Insurance for the tool trailer and its contents
  • Additional tools and equipment for the trailer (wheelbarrow, wire strainers, star picket ram, star picker lifter, first aid kit, plant identification field guides)
  • Additional equipment to make using the motion-sensing cameras easier (viewing screen and SD card reader)
  • Additional equipment to enhance the fauna monitoring program (binoculars and bird identification field guide)

6. Strategic weed control on fire affected public land
The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria (PV) are undertaking a project to protect threatened plants and ecosystems on public land which are vulnerable to the
impact of weeds after fire.
Though many native plants are adapted to fire, and even rely on fire to regenerate and remain healthy, the repercussions of fire can negatively affect native plants. The disturbance caused by bushfires can stimulate rapid growth of weed seeds in the soil whilst there is minimal competition from native plants. Fire suppression machinery (such as bulldozers creating fire containment lines) can introduce and disperse weed seeds into formerly weed-free
areas. The establishment of these new weeds can cause localised extinctions of threatened native plants; especially those which do not have widespread distribution.
This project will be integrated with other weed control and fire recovery programs across the state, and will be delivered by DSE and PV using local weed contractors. Local communities will be invited to assist in the survey and monitoring of new weeds.

The Strategic Weed Control Project aims to reduce the negative impact of weeds on biodiversity, threatened plants and ecosystems after fire on public land. The project involves three key actions:

  1. Identification of high risk locations for new weeds.
  2. Survey and monitoring of high-risk locations.
  3. Control of weeds, via chemical, manual and other methods.

For further information on the project please contact:
Penny Richards – Fire Recovery Planning Manager, Pest Plants, Department of Sustainability and Environment
Ph: 03 9785 0135

7. 2010 - 2011 CHLG membership reminder - EFT now available
Haven’t paid your 2010/11 membership yet? Why not get next year’s membership fee out of the way at the same time?
Ongoing membership of the Christmas Hills Landcare Group is an important way to demonstrate your support and ensure you are kept informed of news and activities. Membership for the first year is $20.00 and gets you a group member gate sign, after that it is $10.00 per year. Memberships run from 1st July to 30th June each year.

The current 2010/11 members are:
Robyn Adams and Dianne Simmonds
Kay and Rod Armstrong
Douglas and Helen Bell
Tony and Brigid Bell
Darren Bennett and Vanessa Reid
Greg Bourne
Mick and Suzanne Craine
John Devling
Judith Ellerton                              
Doug Evans and Pip Charlton                   
Noreen and David Evans
Richard and Margie Forster
Jackie Hamlet
Sarah Hammond and Rhys Morgan
Jo Hayter and Adrian Dyson
Kevin and Margo Heeley
Veronica Holland                
Chris and Tina Keene
David Lang and Joan Stephens
Angie and Greg Macmillan
Linda and Paul Melling
Neroli Merridew
Paul and Jenny Mitchell
Kylie Moppert and Mark Gardner
Nicole Noy and Ross Coupar
Rob Shackleton and Linda Joyce
Peter and Jane Russ
Joane Sharman and Tomas Clark
Deb Wadsworth

If your name is not on this list, please see this as a reminder that your membership renewal for the 2010/11 is now due. Your continued support in the form of a $10 membership renewal payment (or $20 if it is your initial membership) is very much appreciated.

You can now pay via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). The bank details for the Landcare group are as follows:
Account name: Christmas Hills Landcare Group
Bank: Bendigo, Yarra Glen branch
BSB: 633108
Account number: 1259 18920

Please ensure that you include your initials and surname in the payment description so we know who the payment has come from.

Alternatively you can send a cheque made out to "Christmas Hills Landcare Group" to P.O. Box 274, Yarra Glen, 3775, or pay Rob Shackleton directly  if you see him.
On the assumption that they no longer have an interest in the group, people who have not paid a membership for more than two years will be removed from the email news list.

8. Christmas Hills News - January edition
The January edition of the Christmas Hills News is now out. You can download a copy from the Christmas Hills Landcare Group website at: