Tag Archives: Muckleford Forest

Birds in the Muckleford Forest

We’ve just started ten bird survey transects in the Muckleford Forest!

There is a new page on our website with all the details. Let us know if you want to join in! We’ll report on results via the website and posts.

Good ‘swiftie’ news from Tassie too – Birdlife Australia is reporting that the Tasmanian Upper House has voted down the proposal to allow logging in 356,000 hectares of forests including 12,000 ha of Critically Endangered Swift Parrot habitat.

 

 

 

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Don’t miss Talking Fire – register now

Talking Fire picsCome along to Talking Fire, 12-13 November. It’s free and you can come for the whole weekend, or drop in for a day or a session.

Talking Fire is about our local community, and fire in our local landscape. How can we work better as a community to reduce the risk to us – to our homes, families and friends – as well as protect our forests, wildlife and cultural sites? Talking Fire won’t be anything like the standard annual fire briefing!

Saturday will start at 10am with a welcome to Country, short talks on cultural burning, ecology, local fire experiences and fire myths with speakers Trent Nelson, Professor Andrew Bennett, Joan Sartori and Sam Strong.  Then we’ll head out to Mt Tarrengower to hear from long-term fire spotter Peter Skilbeck. Then we will visit the Muckleford Forest to look at how the forest has recovered after the 1981 fire and the more recent planned burns, with guides Paul Bates (DELWP), Tanya Loos, David Cheal and others. Instead you can drop into the Newstead Community Centre and record your fire stories with Gordon Dowell, or map favourite places that you’d like to see protected from fire. Everyone will come together at 3.30 to share what we have learnt, and set the scene for Sunday.

Sunday morning starts at 10.30, and our focus will be on risk. We’ll hear about landscape-scale fire planning from Alison Boak (DELWP), community planning around risk from Steve Pascoe, and vegetation and fire from David Cheal, fire ecologist. Turning to the local scene, representatives from our local brigades and the Shire will look at how local planning could reduce risk.

After lunch, provided by Newstead Men’s Shed and Community Garden, Jinette de Gooijer will facilitate an exploration of ideas and options on how we might respond – as a community – to what we have learnt over the weekend.

What will come out of Talking Fire? That is in the hands of everyone who comes and contributes! So come along. Register via our website – talkingfire.org – it only takes a minute and it’s free.

Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants, Maldon & District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank), and the Norman Wettenhall Foundation for funding support, and to all the local organisations and individuals who are helping make Talking Fire a reality.

Maldon, Newstead and places in between – Talking Fire

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Join us in a conversation to better understand fire in our landscape at the Newstead Community Centre over the weekend of 12/13 November.

‘Talking Fire’ will discuss what fire means for our local communities and the environment. The aim is to bring local expertise and knowledge together with outside experts in the field of fire behaviour and fire ecology, so that the community can talk about and better understand, plan, and live with fire.

Some of the questions driving our conversation are:

  • What is the history of fire in our area?
  • How have the landscape, community & fire policies changed?
  • How can we protect what we value?
  • How can we respond to fire risk, now & in the future?

You may have other questions, ideas or solutions.

We are also seeking local knowledge and stories. Do you have a “fire experience”, direct or indirect, to share? As a part of the weekend Gordon Dowell will be recording the stories and histories of locals. The Newstead CFA Auxiliary are amongst those we will be keen to hear from.

We hope that from the weekend our local landscape can be seen anew, through the eyes of scientists, fire experts and long lived locals alike, and through a wider, “landscape lens”, not just from a household or property viewpoint.

Whether you live in Newstead or Maldon town, or the bush and farmland surrounds, we invite you along to ‘talk fire’. Come to any or all sessions. The event is free, but we need bookings to help our caterers, the Newstead Preschool and Mens’ Shed, provide enough for all.

Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire, Maldon & District Community Bank and Norman Wettenhall Foundation for supporting the event. Many more supporters are contributing in non-financial ways. See our website http://www.talkingfire.org and to book.

Please download and share our flier too, and look for Talking Fire on Facebook.

Talking Fire: A Community Conversation (12-13 November, Newstead)

Our Community Conversation will explore many questions. For example: Will bush regeneration change fire risk?

Our Community Conversation will explore many questions. For example: Will bush regeneration change fire risk?

Muckleford Forest Friends Group has received a grant through the Mount Alexander Shire Council 2016 Community Grants Program to present a Community Conversation on Understanding fire in our landscape.

The idea comes from the Newstead Community Plan, and reflects a concern about the way that prescribed burning has targeted public land without a landscape-wide consideration of risk and risk reduction. The new approach adopted by the State Government – Safer Together – suggests that new approaches are possible, and that it is a good time to open up a community-wide conversation.

During the weekend we will explore the history of fire in the Newstead-Maldon landscape, looking back to land and fire management practices of the Jaara people, reflecting on landscape changes, mapping what we value, and building an understanding of risk and different ways to we can respond to risk.

This event is being designed for in Newstead, Maldon and everywhere in between and close by!

Planning is underway for the weekend and we’d welcome your input – ideas, possible speakers, helping planning walks and site visits, sourcing maps and resources – and of course coming along and being part of the Community Conversation. Able to help? Please email mucklefordffg@bigpond.com

This project is supported through the Mount Alexander Shire Council 2016 Community Grants Program, auspiced by MULGA (Maldon Urban Landcare Group), and supported by local groups including Newstead Landcare, Muckleford Catchment Landcare, Newstead 2021, Connecting Country, Newstead CFA Brigade.

You can download a summary of the grant application here and also look at page 42 of the Newstead Community Plan.

 

Guarding our internationally important bird area

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Diamond Firetail (Geoff Park)

In 2014 Connecting Country posted that we have an internationally recognised IBA – an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) right here!

IBAs are sites of global bird importance, and are considered to be critical for bird conservation.  BirdLife Australia has identified approximately 300 IBAs across the Australian territories, each of which had to meet at least one of four strict criteria

In Connecting Country’s area of interest, four local patches of habitat were included in 2009 as part of the Bendigo Box Ironbark IBA.  These include our patch – the Muckleford Forest – and three other areas, forest within mostly privately owned land in Strangways (but also encompassing the Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve); the Sandon Forest; and the Pilchers Bridge Nature Conservation Reserve. Read the full CC post.

The Bendigo Box Ironbark area was considered to be an IBA on the basis of it being an internationally important site for the Flame Robin, Diamond Firetail and Swift Parrot. Now Birdlife are looking for guardians for each IBA and Connecting Country are keen to find out if those who participate in Muckleford Forest activities via this blog are interested in getting involved. Interested? Email mucklefordffg@bigpond.com and we’ll let you know more!

Updates, meetings and a grant!

EBox-Ironbark Research – Community Presentation

Presented by La Trobe University and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Listen to the outcomes of the final report on the impacts of large mosaic burns on Box Ironbark ecosystems in the Heathcote/Greytown area.

 Tuesday 24 May 2016, Bendigo Town Hall, Hargreaves Street, Bendigo, 7.30pm (follows DELWP Fire Planning Open House). For more information click here for the Box Ironbark Landscape Mosaic Burning Project Invite.

Share your knowledge on fire planning

Join Forest Fire Management staff to discuss the strategic plans which outline the frequency and location of planned burns, the three year schedule of burns and the mulching and grooming activities planned for Central Victoria at one of our two open house events. For more information click here for the Flyer for FOP Open House 2016.

Bendigo Open House
When: Tuesday 24 May 2016
Where: Bendigo Town Hall, Hargreaves Street, Bendigo
Time: 2pm and 7pm- Drop in any time to discuss fire planning
Followed at 7.30pm by the Box-Ironbark Landscape Mosaic Burning Project community presentation

Castlemaine Open House
When:
Wednesday 1 June 2016
Where: Ray Bradfield Rooms, Frederick St, Castlemaine
Time: 2pm and 7pm- Drop in any time to discuss fire planning.

 

Understanding fire in our landscape: a community conversation

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Our Muckleford Forest Friends group, auspiced by Maldon Urban Landcare (MULGA), has achieved a grant from the Mount Alexander Shire to run a community conversation to explore fire in the Newstead-Maldon landscape. Supported by community and external experts, participants will learn about fire risk, local fire history, values, ecology and environmental history of the our area, and contribute to community-based approaches to landscape management for biodiversity and human safety. Thanks to those who supported our application: MULGA, Newstead and Muckleford Landcare, Newstead 2021, Connecting Country, the Coordinator, Conservation and Land Management Bendigo TAFE, the CFA and the Newstead CFA brigade and by a number of key individuals. More soon as we start planning the project, hoping those who read this blog will want to get involved.

 

Birds in the Muckleford Forest

 
For some more positive news about birds and partnerships in the Muckleford – watch this space!

A new year

Its been a long time between posts on this blog – apologies.

Based on the outcome of the last Fire Operations Plan consultations and our continued advocacy, the Muckleford Forest now has no planned burns scheduled. There are proposals for planned burns in Goughs Range and Mt Tarrangower – but not this year.

Since the Fire Operations Plan was finalised, the Lancefield fires have happened. A planned burn that went seriously wrong. The report is now out on that burn, and in recent days, the media has been full of criticism about what has been happening down on the Otways’ coast. Terrible experiences for all those involved.

Here is a good article by Phil Ingamells from the Sunday Age on prescribed burning – limits to fuel reduction burning.

What astonishes me is that we think that we can ‘manage’ nature by going in and lighting up the bush, but without the resources to control what we start.

And when I talk to a lot of people about ‘bushfires’, they believe that most are arson – deliberately lit! Not sure if my sample is mainly urban folks, but as a country dweller I know that most fires are ‘accidental’.

Reducing these accidental fires seems to be an important and ignored goal – the slasher or the motor bike in the very dry paddock grass, the car driving into grass beside the road, the grinder in the shed where the sparks stream out … no doubt there are many other careless things that any of us might do one day, by just not thinking.

But if we stopped these careless, accidental fires, we would cut the ‘fire toll’ remarkably. Most fires are not deliberately lit – they are humans being careless. We need to manage ourselves – our actions. We are the major makers of fire and we are the threat to the bush – not the bush to us.

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