Christmas Hills Email news - 9th June 2009

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Latest email news 9/6/2009

Greetings Christmas Hills Landcarers

This newsletter is to update you on recent happenings with Christmas Hills Landcare

Included in this newsletter:

    * Next event -"Country in common - 21st June" - involves meeting with Wurundjeri people
    * Last event
    * Revised
program of events for remainder of 2009
    * Weed and warren mapping project back on track
    * Rabbit control - exploring other options
    * Plants offer from
North Warrandyte/Osborne Peninsula Landcare Group
    * CHills Happy Hour and Christmas Hills Newsletter
    * T-shirts coming

    * Current membership = insured

Next event -"Country in common - 21st June" - involves meeting with Wurundjeri people
Our next event is coming up on Sunday, 21st June at Pip and Doug's place. This event provides a unique opportunity for us to connect with the Wurundjeri,  traditional owners of Christmas Hills and other country in the Yarra catchment. Refer attached flier for more detail.

Last event
18 members gathered at Darren and Vanessa's place on Sunday, 5th April. Darren and Vanessa's house survived the fires undefended but the bush on their block was all burnt. We took a walk through the burnt bush, observing the signs of different fire intensity and noting the impact on the soil. As we went, we turned larger pieces of fallen timber to follow the contours  - a simple method for slowing down the movement of the erosion-prone soil in the event of rain. We also set up a simple monitoring photopoint on Nev and Janet's block to enable the use of photos to monitor the gradual recovery of the bus post-fires. If you are interested in setting up one or more photopoints yourself please refer to the attached document that provides some simple set up guidelines and a photopoint monitoring form. And of course we adjourned for a delicious morning tea back at Darren and Vanessa's.

Revised program of events for remainder of 2009
A number of factors have resulted in a revised program of events for rest of this year. It now looks like:
June - Country in common - a meeting with Wurundjeri people
August - Weeds - how to recognise and control different species (and maybe the results of mapping project)
October - Spring walk, gawk and talk at Chris and Tina's
December - Talk on moths and butterflies by Mike and Pat Coupar - possibly with social end-of-year event?

Weed and warren mapping project back on track
This project has been delayed initially due to a lack of success in securing the additional funds required to enable us to engage a mapping contractor to undertake the project, and then after revising our approach to fit with the existing budget, it was delayed again by the fires. Well, it's now back on track again! We fully expect to be engaging the services of a third year Environmental Science student from Deakin University in the next week or so to do the mapping for us. Once the formalities have been sorted, a letter will be going out to all landholders that granted permission to access their properties to inform them of the appointment.

Rabbit control - exploring other options
As you may be aware, following a demonstration of the Rodenator Pro system in June 2007, we have been pursuing funds to enable the group to purchase the equipment for use by its members. Although we managed to secure some funds, we did not manage to get enough to cover the full cost of the equipment. While the pursuit of dollars was occurring the Rodenator received some bad press when it apparently made it onto the front page of a local paper accused of being cruel to rabbits and posing a fire threat. (it is very likely that these accusations relate to an earlier version of rabbit warren treatment involving LPG gas). Additionally, a conversation with a rabbit control expert suggested that the ability of the Rodenator to collapse warrens as originally thought was most unlikely in the soils of Christmas Hills, so we are now looking for alternative methods for destroying warrens (the single most important thing one can do to control rabbit numbers) that may be located among sensitive bush.

Plants offer from North Warrandyte/Osborne Peninsula Landcare Group
Last month we received a very generous offer from the North Warrandyte/Osborne Peninsula Landcare Group. Their Landcare Group operates a small community propagation facility in Osborne Road, North Warrandyte, and after the fires on Black Saturday they set about propagating an extra supply of local indigenous plants for distribution to fire-affected residents or groups to assist in the revegetation process.
The provenance of their plants is North Warrandyte with the majority from Warrandyte State Park, and they believe that Christmas Hills is close enough to be able to benefit from these plants. They have also offered to provide rabbit guards and assistance with planting. Jo Hayter is coordinating our response on behalf of the fire-affected landholders in Christmas Hills.

CHills Happy Hour and Christmas Hills Newsletter
There are a few recent initiatives that are aiming to help strengthen the sense of community in Christmas Hills:
1. On the first Friday of every month, from about 5pm onwards, an increasing number of Christmas Hills people are gathering at the new Christmas Hills North fire station. Socialising with BYO nibbles and drinks is the order of the evening and is a great way to meet and catch up with your neighbours.
2. There is a resurgent effort to get the Christmas Hills Hall back into community use. For now this means securing the funds needed to repair and restore the more dilapidated sections of the hall, but should that be successful, it will mean setting up and using the hall to be the important community hub it once was.
3. Hopefully you all received your copy of the new Christmas Hills Community Newsletter. It is endeavouring to become a regular communication for the Christmas Hills community, bringing together news from the local CFA, primary school, Landcare group, BICA and anyone else who has something to share with their community.

T-shirts coming
As part of our last PPWCMA Community Grant application, we applied for (and got) $500 for group promotion. This will be spent on getting a number of T-shirts printed to help promote the Landcare group. Keep a look out for them in the near future, and if you get the chance, wear one proudly!

Current membership = insured
We get insurance for our members through our the group's membership of the VFF Farm Trees and Landcare Association. A condition of the insurance means that only those people who are current members of the group are covered - we supply a list of current members when we renew of VFF FTLA membership, and this is now due. This means that if you are not a current 2008/09 member this is your last chance to ensure you have insurance cover for Landcare activities during the 2009/10 year. Additionally, each member on the list we provide to the VFF FTLA receives a copy of each edition of the Victorian Landcare Magazine for the 2009/10 year.  The list of  current 2008/09 members is:

Peter and Jane Russ                                     Diane and Ray Marsh
Doug Evans and Pip Charlton                      Brett de la Mare
Jan Cranwell and Phil Styles                        Linda and Paul Melling
Rob Shackleton and Linda Joyce                Neroli Merridew
David Lang and Joan Stephens                  Colin and Denise Berry
Robyn Adams and Dianne Simmons         Tony and Brigid Bell
Garry and Mandy Lovell                                Liz and Peter Laver
Nicole Noy and Ross Coupar                      Kylie Moppert and Mark Gardner
Douglas and Helen Bell                                Nev Ragg and Janet Meade
Mick and Suzanne Craine                            Kevin and Margot Heeley
Veronica Holland                                           Warwick Leeson
Paul Danelutti                                                 Jackie Hamlet
Darren Bennett and Vanessa Reid             Chris and Tina Keene
Greg Bourne                                                   Bridget Bainbridge
Judith Ellerton                                                Fran and Graham Jennings

If your name is not on this list, we will need your $10 membership renewal payment (or $20 if it is your initial membership) before the end of June to get you covered for 2009/10 (please pay Rob Shackleton if you see him, or send a cheque made out to "Christmas Hills Landcare Group" to P.O. Box 274, Yarra Glen, 3775)

Cheers and hope to see you here on the 21st!

Doug Evans
40 Dean Road
9730 2626