20 Nov 2017 – Rubbish clean-up in roadside vegetation

Three or so times a year, the club has committed to cleaning up the rubbish that has accumulated in a high quality native woodland.  This is located along a ~2km signposted section of the Pyrenees Hwy roadside reserve to the west of Castlemaine (i.e., on the road to Newstead; near the golf course).  The next Clean-up will be on Monday 20th November, and again we are seeking members and other interested volunteers to join the effort.  You might even get to hear or see a Scarlet Honeyeater!

If you are interested in helping out, meet at the corner of Pyrenees Hwy and Willy Milly Road (next to Tait Decorative Iron) at 9am on Monday 20 Nov.  Wear sturdy footwear and bring gloves. Garbage bags and reflective vests will be provided.  It is usually all finished by 11am.

Please Note: Rules prohibit anyone under 16 years from working on the roadside.
Thanks to Geoff and Geraldine Harris for coordinating this regular activity.

10 Nov 2017 – The Americans are Coming!

Ian Higgins is the guest speaker for the November CFNC meeting.  Ian is a renowned local botanist, and was recently recognised as the 2017 Victorian Landcarer of the Year for his work with the Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare group.

Ian’s talk, ‘The Americans are coming’, is to be about the invasive stipoid needle grasses that are spreading across many parts of Australia, including the local area.   His talk will cover:

Chilean Needle-grass (photo from the NSW DPI website).

What are they?—the seven species currently known (or prohibited in the case of Mexican Feather-grass) from Victoria
Where are they? i.e., where known to exist in Victoria and in our district.
Why are they a problem? Their behaviour and the threat posed to natural values
How can I identify them? Identification characteristics, especially how to distinguish them from native grasses
How are they spreading?  Dispersion strategies and human involvement.
How to manage them?  Duration of seed viability in soil, herbicides, etc.

Ian has also offered to help members and visitors to identify different grass species on the night.  If you have a specimen that you suspect is a weed, bring it along (preferably in a sealed plastic bag to prevent the spread of seeds).

The meeting is to be held from 7.30pm on the second Friday in November (10th Nov). Members and visitors all welcome.  It will be at the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine – next door to the Art Gallery.  Due to exams being held in hall, this talk will be held in the chapel at the rear of the main church building.

There is to be an excursion on the following day (Sat 11th Nov) to view some stipoid grasses in the field with a specialist.  More details to follow soon.


Wednesday Wildflower Wanders

Our Wednesday afternoon mini-excursions to see the Spring wildflowers will continue for a few more weeks.  We leave from the carpark opposite the motel on Duke St Castlemaine at 4 pm, and aim to be back by about 5.15 pm, depending on how good the flower show is.
On Wednesday 11th October we will probably look along Morgans Track, near Chewton, and on Wednesday 18th we may make a return visit to Kalimna.

Saturday October 14th – Excursion – Sticky Boronias

The CFNC excursion on Saturday 14th October will be to the Red White & Blue Track in the Muckleford Forest, led by  Richard Piesse.
Depart at 1.30 pm from the car park opposite the Castle Motel on Duke St in Castlemaine (next to the Octopus building).  Bring afternoon tea,  suitable footwear.
We will visit the fenced plots where rare Sticky Boronea plants have been protected.  They are spectacular in flower at present, and are spreading along the ridge.  Then back to the mine site area for further exploration.

Friday October 13th – Guest speaker

Our guest speaker this month is Robyn Davidson, who will talk about aspects of her travels in Australia. The presentation is from 7.30pm on Friday 13th October in the normal location – the Fellowship Room behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St (next door to the Castlemaine Art Gallery).  Visitors are welcome.
Robyn’s first book, ‘Tracks’, an account of her journey alone, with camels, across Australia, won several awards, and has been published in twenty languages. Since publication in 1980, it has never been out of print. She has been travelling ever since, and has written extensively on many topics.

Excursion – Saturday 9th September

The September excursion will be to the Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve.  Meet by the “Octopus” (the U3A Office) opposite the Castle Motel on Duke St, Castlemaine, to arrange car-pooling for departure at 1.30 pm.  Bring afternoon tea, binoculars and camera, and suitable footwear and raincoat – we’ve had rain recently, but the forecast for Saturday looks promising.  Peter Turner will lead the excursion.  A detailed map of the reserve is available from the Information Centre in Mostyn St.


8 Sept 2017 – Guest presenter on Banksia marginata

The guest speaker at the September CFNC meeting is Simon Heyes.  Simon  is currently studying for his Masters in Research at La Trobe on Banksia recruitment. He is looking at why banksias aren’t regenerating, and is also researching the ecology patterns of recruitment for Banksia marginata on the plains.

The presentation is from 7.30pm on Friday 8 September in the normal location – the Fellowship Room behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St (next door to the Castlemaine Art Gallery).  Visitors are welcome.  Members are encouraged to bring along friends and family.

To whet your appetite for Simon’s presentation, the following link is to an article written by Ian Lunt in 2014 about Banksia marginata (CLICK HERE).  The comments and discussion at the end of the article are also quite interesting.

Information about the  excursion on Saturday 9th September are being finalised and will be announced soon.

Wednesday Wildflower Walks will commence on September 13th for four or five consecutive weeks, starting promptly at 4 p.m. from opposite the Castle Motel. An appointed leader will take us to an area in the surrounds of Castlemaine exhibiting a variety of flowering native plants at the time. We will spend about an hour at the location. Bring field guides, magnifying glass, camera etc., and appropriate footwear.  The leaders of the first two walks are Richard Piesse (13th Sept) and Geraldine Harris (20th Sept).