13 Nov – Saving orchids from extinction: the RBGV Orchid Conservation Program – Noushka Reiter

Since 2014 the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Orchid Conservation Program based at the Cranbourne site of RBGV has grown a large ex-situ collection of orchids for conservation, introduction and education. Seeds are germinated symbiotically with their mycorrhizal fungi in the laboratory and grown on in flasks before being potted up in the nursery. This ex-situ living plant conservation nursery now consists of over 20,000 plants from 165 species of orchid. Noushka will talk about the pollination ecology, mycorrhizal associations and introduction of four of the species she has been working on with her team.
A wasp removing the pollen bearing organ from a flower of the Candy Spider

Wed Oct 14: Tanya Loos – Joint CFNC-Birdlife Castlemaine District meeting

Join Tanya Loos, BirdLife Australia, on a walk through Australia’s largest annual bird count – the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Now in its 7th year, this event is especially catered to the beginner birdwatcher. Tanya will discuss how to get involved, how the count relates to BirdLife Australia’s conservation and advocacy work, and finally some tips on bird identification and FAQ.

A bit more about the count. Held from 19th to 25th October, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard, no matter where your backyard happens to be. You can count in a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, down by the beach, or the main street of town. ⁠In fact, you don’t even have to leave home, making it the ultimate COVID-safe activity!⁠

Last year’s count revealed a distinct southward trend of birds such as White-winged Triller and Crimson Chat, due to an irruption of dry country species into Vic.

If you have registered for our previous sessions, you will be sent the link for registering with Zoom. If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au 

Fri Oct 9: Dr Greg Kerr : Restoring Wetlands in SW Victoria and SE SA

The wetlands of SW Victoria and SE South Australia have been extensively drained and modified over the last 150 years. Drainage, groundwater extraction, irrigation and cropping have all combined to alter a predominantly wet landscape to one where most wetlands either disappeared or became severely degraded. Farmers and other land holders are now realising they or their predecessors went too far in draining the wetlands and that many of these drained lands are rarely productive.

Enjoying sunset at a restored and evolving Walker Swamp

Dr Greg Kerr, Senior Ecologist, Nature Glenelg Trust, will tell an inspiring story of how resilience, patience and cooperation between the NGT, community groups and the local Catchment Management Authority is successfully restoring over 40 wetlands of the Wannon River Delta, a 13 km2 wetland complex at the base of the Grampians, into healthy productive wetlands with positive consequences for biodiversity.

 

If you have registered for our previous sessions, you will be sent the link for registering with Zoom. If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au 

Suspension of Castlemaine FNC Activities (Updated)

Due to Federal and State Governments’ requirements for restricted activities during the Coronavirus pandemic, the CNFC Committee has decided that for the time being, all club face-to-face activities will be suspended – general meetings, excursions and committee meetings. Until further notice, monthly general meetings of the club are being held by zoom and the Committee continues to meet via zoom and email.

However, we can still enjoy nature, and we encourage you to record your observations of interesting plants, birds and other creatures even from your backyard, taking photographs of special sightings.

Consider preparing a short note on interesting observations, and emailing it to the CFNC address (castlemainefnc@hotmail.com) for the Newsletter. Watch the club Newsletter, website and emails for other ways in which we can all participate in nature for enjoyment and protection through the challenging months ahead.

11 Sept 2020 – Birding in Bhutan – Webinar

In May 2019 Giles Daubeney and Nina Tsilikas travelled to Bhutan on an 18 day tour to see the stunning birds and nature of this beautiful country. They travelled with the off to Bhutan Birding company with 4 other birders who also happened to be from Australia! The tour started in Guwahati India and finished in Paro, Bhutan.

The presentation will cover some of the species of birds that were seen as well as some of the species of fauna, insects and plants. Giles and Nina will also describe the countryside they visited as well as the friendly people and their culture. 

If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner by 12 noon on 11th September at munrodsl@iinet.net.au

Rufous-necked Hornbill

14 AUGUST 2020 – PLATYPUS MYSTERIES REVEALED – GEOFF WILLIAMS

The platypus is one of the world’s most amazing animals.  This furry, warm-blooded mammal lays soft-shelled eggs like a lizard, uses its bill to navigate underwater, and sorts out arguments with the help of venomous spurs.  But what about the platypus’s own environmental needs?  How is the species faring in the wild?  And what needs to be done to ensure that populations survive in our local rivers and creeks?

Geoff Williams from the Australian Platypus Conservancy will share his knowledge of this amazing monotreme via a Zoom link-up on Friday 14 August starting at 7.30pm. 

If you registered for our May or June or July sessions, you will be sent the link for registering with Zoom on Monday 10th August.  If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner by 12 noon on 14th August at munrodsl@iinet.net.au

10th July – the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas: its Purpose and Significance – Elizabeth Newton

Our guest speaker in July will be Elizabeth Newton, who has worked for DELWP but is currently seconded to Trust for Nature.  Her talk will be a webinar presentation by Zoom on the importance of ensuring environmental data is recorded on the VBA.

7.30 pm Friday 10th July

If you registered for our May and/or June sessions, you will be sent the link for registering with Zoom on Monday 6th July.  If you have not joined earlier webinars and wish to attend, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.au

Exploring the purpose and significance of the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas database – making your observations count!

The Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (VBA) is a foundation dataset that feeds into biodiversity tools used in the government’s everyday environmental decision making. Approvals and permits, funding decisions, and burn planning all rely on biodiversity observations submitted to the VBA.

In this presentation we will cover what the VBA is, contributing your data, and how your own flora and fauna records can make a difference.

We will also explore why the Department of Environment, Land & Water (DELWP) uses the VBA, and how it differs and interacts with other biodiversity databases such as Atlas of Living Australia, iNaturalist, and Birdata.

12 June 2020 – Solutions to Insect Armageddon: Webinar Presentation

Our meeting on Friday 12 June at 7.30 pm will be online using Zoom. The guest speaker will be geneticist Professor Phil Batterham, of Melbourne University’s School of Biosciences.

Prof. Phil Batterham’s career has spanned almost four decades at the University of Melbourne. Throughout his career, Phil has wrestled with the problem of insecticide resistance, providing both practical solutions for more sustainable control of the insect pests of agriculture and major contributions to our understanding of evolution.   In recent times Phil’s focus has switched to the impact that low doses of insecticides may be having upon global populations of insects that are in decline.

Insects are everywhere, and vital to human food production and natural ecosystems. While most of us are familiar with the tasks of some beneficial insects, we rarely stop to consider just how fundamental their role really is. Bees pollinate crops, dung beetles recycle nutrients, ladybirds control pests and bogong moths are food that sustain endangered pygmy possums. 

Globally, there is evidence that beneficial insect populations are in freefall, and insecticide use to control pest insects is a key suspect. So how can humans control the insects we don’t want, while avoiding collateral damage to the insects that we need?

Solutions to Insect Armageddon addresses this question, showcasing four fascinating stories of breakthrough research from the University of Melbourne driving new, non-chemical ways to control insects.

If you wish to attend this webinar, please email Peter Turner at munrodsl@iinet.net.auto receive details on how to register.

Note: If you registered for the May webinar, you will receive an email with details on how to register for the June session.

SUSPENSION OF CASTLEMAINE FNC ACTIVITIES

Due to Federal and State Governments’ requirements that we practice “social distancing”, restrict gatherings severely and avoid non-essential travel the CNFC Committee has decided that for the time being, all club face-to-face activities will be suspended – general meetings, excursions and committee meetings. The Committee will continue to meet as necessary via teleconference and email.

So, the general meeting on Friday 17th April and excursion on Saturday 18th are both cancelled, as are all subsequent meetings over the next few months until further notice.

However, we can still enjoy nature especially during this fine Autumn weather, and we encourage you to record your observations of interesting plants, birds and other creatures even from your backyard, taking photographs of special sightings.

Consider preparing a short note on interesting observations, and emailing it to the CFNC address (castlemainefnc@hotmail.com) for the Newsletter.Watch the club Newsletter, website and emails for other ways in which we can all participate in nature for enjoyment and protection through the challenging months ahead.

14 March – Karl Just leads a walk where the Eltham Copper Butterfly has been found

Karl Just, local ecologist, has been preparing a Management Plan for the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens Nature Reserve – the “wild” area up the hill, west of Barkers Creek.  Karl will lead our excursion on Saturday afternoon, March 14th, through the area, which is where the Eltham Copper Butterfly was first found in this region.  CFNC members were very involved assisting with weed removal and planting to protect the Bursaria spinosa  which is the food for the ECB caterpillars, attended by their guardian ants.  Meet as usual at 1.30 pm at the Octopus, opposite the motel in Duke Street to share transport, or in Froomes Rd, opposite Burnett Rd. The paths are steep in places and a bit rough, so wear suitable footwear.  Bring afternoon tea.