Eltham Copper Butterfly Talk by Elaine Bayes and Karl Just

Castlemaine and Bendigo host the largest area of Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) habitat in the world.  Given the global decline in insects, particularity Butterflies which appear to be the hardest hit, it is now critical that we protect our Australian butterflies, of which ECB is a flagship species.

At our meeting on Friday 8th November Elaine Bayes and Karl Just, local ecologists, will be presenting the current distribution of ECB, the amazing relationship ECB has with Notoncus ants and the host plant Sweet Bursaria.  Current programs of monitoring and management will also be presented. There has been little research on the north central ECB for the last decade. Elaine, Karl and Julie Radford are trying to change this by leading the community in searching for new ECB populations and mapping colonies so we can protect them from planned burns and other threats.


Upcoming opportunities for the local community to be involved in studying and saving this species will be provided.  Monitoring ECB also provides a great excuse to walk through our stunning bushlands over the summer months when ECB are flying.

This monthly CFNC meeting will start at 7.30pm on 8th of November. Please note that this month the meeting will be held in the Chapel behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine (next door to the Art Gallery and Museum).  All members are all encouraged to attend and, as always, visitors are also very welcome.  There is no cost for entry, and no need for RSVPs.

13 Sept 2019 – David Cheal talk on habitat restoration

David Cheal is the guest presenter at the September 2019 Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club meeting.  David is currently the Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for Environmental Management at Federation University, which is a continuation of a highly successful career in many fields of ecology (click here for further info about his research interests).  His talk is titled Habitat Restoration in the Mallee – major landscape improvements over the last 25 years or so.

Of this talk, David writes “There has been a campaign to control & reduce browsing & grazing pressure in the Mallee Parks for a few decades now.  We know how much time, effort & budget was spent on these campaigns, but have these campaigns been successful?  Have the habitats and the natural environment generally responded positively?  Where exactly is recovery evident?  What have we learned about such long-term degradation and long-term oriented recovery?  This presentation reports an objective assessment of recovery and future directions to further this encouraging process.”

This monthly CFNC meeting will be held at the usual time and location – from 7.30pm on the second Friday of the month – 13 September – in the Fellowship Room behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine (next door to the Art Gallery and Museum).  All members are all encouraged to attend and, as always, visitors are also very welcome.  There is no cost for entry, and no need for RSVPs.

9 August 2019 Speaker: Paul G Bates from DELWP

Paul is the Acting Regional Manager of Forest Fire Operations for DELWP in our region. He will talk about the draft strategic fire management plan that is currently out for engagement and also what is on the joint fuel management plan in the Castlemaine area. He is happy to answer questions after the talk.

The presentation will be held in the Fellowship Room behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine, commencing from 7.30pm on Friday 9th August.  Members and visitors are all welcome, and there is no cost for entry.

12 July – Speaker: Patrick Kavanagh on his studies of insects

Discovering the hidden world of invertebrates using macrophotography

The natural world has many wonders hidden from our unaided sight by their tiny scale. With the advent of digital macrophotography, these micro worlds become accessible to our perception.

Patrick Kavanagh is an avid macrophotographer of invertebrates in the woodlands of the Newstead area. In this presentation, he will discuss the challenges posed in photographing the miniscule and how digital photography makes new solutions available for these challenges. He will also share some of the fascinating tiny lives he’s discovered on his bush block at Strangways.

15 June 2019 – Excursion to Wombat Forest

Gayle Osbourne (Wombat Forestcare) will lead the excursion on Saturday 15th June, to look for fungi  – following Alison Pouliot’s talk to the club on Friday. To allow reasonable time for fungi-hunting before it gets dark, we’ll leave earlier than usual, and take a picnic lunch.  The forecast weather is reasonable:  cold 10C, but sun and cloud, and minimal chance of showers.  Bring suitable clothes and footwear (it will be damp underfoot), picnic lunch and afternoon tea.  Gayle will bring a camp stove, kettle and tea and coffee.

We’ll leave the Octopus at 11.15 am sharp for the 45 minute drive to Lyonville Springs Recreation Reserve, to meet Gayle at 12 noon.

14 June 2019 – Alison Pouliot – A Foray in Fungal Realms

Hygrocybe sp. HYG8103 © Alison Pouliot

Alison has worked as a scientific photographer and ecologist for almost three decades. She has presented over 350 workshops and seminars on environmental and conservation themes in Australia and internationally – more details at alisonpouliot.com    

Throughout history, fungi have confounded humans with their strange appearances, peculiar habitats and dubious connotations. Yet without fungi, life as we know it would be radically different. Fungi regulate the biosphere and support the earth’s ecological functioning. They provide us with food, wine and medicine.

Alison will take us deep into the fungal kingdom, showcasing the aesthetics of these perplexing yet enchanting organisms, and explore some of their natural and cultural curiosities.

The talk is open to both members and visitors – bring along friends and family.  The evening will commence from 7.30pm on Friday 14 June at the Fellowship Room, behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St (next door to the Art Gallery and Museum).  Tea and snacks available afterwards.   There is no cost for attendance