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Southern Otway Landcare eNews July 2013

Are you a land lover? Come to the Landcare Expo 10am – 4 pm August 10

Rob Fenton with flock of Damara cross sheep at the National Environment Centre.

Landcare are pleased to announce the line up for our Landcare Expo, which will be held at the Apollo Bay Youth Club in Moore Street on August the 10th. The Expo will feature a range of presentations and displays with a focus on productive land use for our smaller Otways Landholdings, including: Rob Fenton (National Environment Centre) Rob’s  400 acre organic farm produces  lamb, free range pork, chicken and eggs, flour, honey and olives. Hear about the design of his property and how he markets his produce to local people. David Stewart (Small Farm Services Victoria) David returns to the Otways to talk about small cattle herd management and co-operative farming systems. Kirsten Larsen and Serenity Hill  (Australian Food Hubs Network) How can the local community support local producers? Drawing on recent work with regional development authorities, Kirsten and Serenity will present on the whys and hows of local food distribution. Agroforestry  Activities Trees are the heart of the Otways. Learn the most efficient ways of wood heating your home with BREAZE. Gather around  demonstration fires on a winter’s day and see what types of wood burn best. Hear about how shade and shelter plantings can improve your productivity. Talk with local experts from the Otway Agroforestry Network and touch and feel timber products. Small scale food production.Be inspired by the wealth of local knowledge on honey, llamas, sheep, spinning, seed saving, biodynamics, rainwater planning and more. Celebrate your local environment See Parks Victoria’s collection of underwater images from the 12 Apostles. Look at the minibeasts that live in our waterways. There will be activities for kids, food from the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program and hot coffee available. Indoors, in winter so come along for a great day out.

New Property Planning Project

Southern Otway Landcare were recently pleased to learn that we have received a grant to run the “Otways Community Based Stewardship Program”. Forget about the confusing title, basically this is a project to work with local landholders to undertake property planning. We will be using the funds to work with groups of landholders across our four Landcare areas to develop a plan for their properties. By participating in the project you will develop a foundational understanding of basic land management concepts such as land forms, soil type and water management. We will then work to connect you with experts who can provide specialist knowledge based on the needs and interests of participants. These may be specialists in herd management, agroforestry or whatever needs emerge during the foundational sessions. At the end of the process you will have a plan for moving ahead with a variety of projects on your property. All costs will be fully covered, we will only require your time. We anticipate that property planning workshops will commence in 2014. Please contact Mike on 5237 6904 if you are interested in participating.          

Archaeological excavations at Brown’s Creek

In April and May of 2013, a team of archaeologists from Biosis Research and LaTrobe University undertook excavations at Browns Creek, east of Skenes Creek.  Although there is presently a large amount of archaeological work being undertaken by consultants in Victoria in the context of development, research archaeology projects have become rare. The work at Brown’s Creek offered students an opportunity to understand the different techniques of archaeological excavation in research contexts in an unusually large and rich midden site. The Brown’s Creek material will have been deposited some time within the mid – late Holocene (ie: the last 5,000 years) and the team are hoping to obtain funding to undertake carbon dating of some of the material to obtain more accurate dates. Traditional Owner  Ron Arnold was on hand working on site throughout the week and Landcare was lucky to have the opportunity to escort some of the local school kids  and listen to Ron talk about this important place.

Report from the July Committee of Management

The July Committee of Management meeting was preceded by an informative presentation and discussion on Carbon Farming led by Neil Longmore. Neil talked with community members about the Australian Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative, explaining that it provides some opportunities for Otway landholders to incorporate carbon farming into their property based enterprises, through both conservation plantings and farm forestry. Please register your interest in this topic (and any questions) with Mike at SOLN. The group then undertook a tour of the new Barwon Water storage facility, ably hosted by Peter Scheiwe and David McKinnis. In wet and windy conditions we were still able to appreciate the careful planning and management of on-ground works at the site. The subsequent Committee of Management meeting was another lively discussion over dinner in a warm and convivial venue (Barham Park). Committee members encouraged our Landcare community to make use our growing resource library, recently bolstered by the addition of our Otways and Coast Permaculture Group’s references.

Federal Government Funding Cuts

Recent announcements from the federal government have generated funding concerns for Landcare groups. Cuts were made to Caring for our Country (CfoC) during the May budget and most recently it was announced that large amounts of funding to the Biodiversity Fund has been suspended to cover the shortfall expected by the early transition to the ETS. CfoC and the Biodiversity Fund were expected to be the major source of environmental funding in 2013 / 2014. It is expected that cuts to these programs will be felt by the Southern Otway Landcare Network and other environmental organisations. We now face the challenge of moving ahead in difficult circumstances and will keep the community informed as information comes to hand.

~ by SOLN on July 23, 2013 . Tagged: , , ,

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