Southern Grampians update including new regular volunteer opportunities at Fieldwork Fridays!

Tom and Rosemary, our Field Ecology and Works Officers in western Victoria, have been really busy at Walker Swamp during June and July, as they, together with a fantastic group of volunteers, have been building a tall macropod-proof fence using recycled posts and wire as part of our recently initiated Fieldwork Friday program in the Southern Grampians. This fence will protect the many precious seedlings that will be planted later in spring, as well as any plants that will now naturally germinate and grow, safe from grazing pressure. It will be fascinating to see what plants appear. Of course, our work won’t stop with planting, as we can imagine many introduced species will also germinate alongside the natives. Any necessary control measures will take place as required.

As well as the work on this tall fence, our volunteers have helped with fence and track clearing, field camera and sound recorder data collection and battery change overs, and tree guard removal. Twelve people have helped us over the past six weeks, which is a fantastic effort for which we are very grateful.

One of our other projects in the area, working with the Hamilton schools, Good Shepherd College and the Parklands Special Development School, is drawing to a close. Lauren (Aquatic Ecologist) and I are having our final trip with the students out to Walker Swamp in late August, where we’ll celebrate the launch of the easy-English wetland guide that they created, with them, their teachers, and the NGT volunteers who have been mentors during the program. This has been an amazing project, and we are looking forward to sharing the guide with all you soon.

Looking south west across Walker Swamp through the ring of River Red Gums

Volunteering at our Southern Grampians Reserves is an great way to meet new people, work in a beautiful environment, learn new skills, help others learn new skills – or just enjoy a day out in the fresh air! We meet at 10.30am at the Walker Swamp bird watching tower, and finish about 2.30pm, depending on the task – and the weather! With a break for lunch, the day quickly disappears.

After a flurry of activity in recent weeks, we are now switching the frequency of our Fieldwork Friday gatherings to the last Friday of the month. We also have a number of other events coming up at Walker Swamp – jot these upcoming dates in your diary!

Friday 26th August 2022: Fieldwork Friday
Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 2022: Full moon camp out at Walker Swamp. Activities will include planting, fencing, fence line clearing, etc. Feel free to come for either day if you don’t want to camp.
Friday 30th September: Fieldwork Friday
Early-mid October: Planting day with the Friends Of The Forgotten Woodlands at Long Point. Exact date to be determined.
Friday October 28th 2022: Fieldwork Friday
Friday 25th November 2022: Fieldwork Friday
Early December: Annual River Red Gum assessments with Greg Kerr. Dates to be determined.

If you would like to register or find out more about any of these events, please contact me by email () or on 0428 749 235.

Finally, thank you to Wayne Suffield, local bird watcher and photographer, for sharing these photos with us. Wayne captured these images of two male Australian Shelducks chasing each other at Walker Swamp in June. Australian Shelducks, also known as Mountain Ducks, are monogamous and nest in large tree hollows. Females can be distinguished by a white ring around the eye. These two were likely competing for a mate!

These activities are supported by the Victorian Government through the 2021 Community Volunteer Action Grants.

Lisa McIntyre