Early this year, ANGAIR met with Amanda May, the Conservation and Land Management Course Co-ordinator at the Gordon TAFE Institute, Geelong, to explore ways of working together.

 

The students are enthusiastic, and have nominated working with ANGAIR volunteers as one of the highlights of their course so far. Amanda says the collaboration has been beneficial, and, as a result of working with us, the students from this course have, “learnt a great deal about weed control, working with volunteers, and planning and running a community event”.

 

ANGAIR in turn has benefited from the injection of youthful energy, enthusiasm and muscle into two of our larger-scale weeding projects, and some smaller projects as well.

The first project focused on an area of land on the outskirts of Anglesea, bordered by the Great Ocean Road, Betleigh Street, Camp Road and Firebreak Track. It has some beautiful tracts of heathland, but has been invaded by boneseed and sallow wattle. The area is used by a number of recreational groups, including bike riders, walkers and horse riders, and is currently leased to Alcoa, and managed by Parks Victoria.

Students from the Gordon:

 

  • Performed a site assessment on the 26 March 2014, detailing and mapping the areas of infestation.
  • Planned and organised a “Weed Control Day” for the site, culminating in more than twenty students joining with ANGAIR volunteers for the afternoon of 19 May, removing thousands of sallow wattles and boneseed.

 

The second project involved removing a large infestation of bluebell creeper from private property in Aireys Inlet. Students produced an information brochure, which the Surf Coast Shire sent to landowners, along with a covering letter, requesting permission for the Gordon students,  and ANGAIR and Friends of Eastern Otways volunteers to access their property and remove the weeds. It’s worth noting that two different species of orchids were found in the area covered by bluebell creeper, namely, Diuris sulphurea Tiger Orchid and Pterostylis revoluta Autumn Greenhood. Both are uncommon in our area.

On 23 June, large amounts of the creeper were removed, hopefully safeguarding the orchids for now. Another bonus was the large basket of chocolate snowballs brought over by a grateful landowner!

Additionally, individual students have volunteered their labour in a number of different ways:

 

  • Diploma students, Kate Skinner and Rachael Beecham, have written site assessment reports for two areas of interest within Anglesea, and will follow up next semester with a management plan for these sites.
  • Several students have come to help with propagation of native plants on Thursday mornings.
  • Others have come to the Anglesea Primary School plantings, Aireys Inlet coastal weeding and ANGAIR working bees.

 

For our part, in addition to volunteers working alongside students in the field, ANGAIR has contributed two sessions to students to discuss:

 

  • What does ANGAIR do?
  • How to identify common environmental weeds.
  • Techniques of community engagement.

 

Thanks to Helen Tutt, Roger Ganly, Neil Tucker and Peter and Christine Forster for making time to contribute to these sessions, to Bill McKellar for sharing his expertise with students during plant propagation activities, and to Margaret MacDonald and Evelyn Jones who also shared their expertise.

Janet Stephens

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