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June E-news

Time is flying! The year's first half is near its end, with lots of meetings and community events. We will all enjoy winter solstice this Thursday 22nd of June, knowing that the daylight hours will soon be longer again.


As usual, our organisation is involved in a wide variety of activities, making it challenging for our small team to keep track of everything that is happening. However, this newsletter provides a nice opportunity to reflect on the past few months.


Recent highlights include our completion of the Planting Trees for the Queen's Jubilee project, where 1000 trees were planted in our region. We also hosted an April Tamar Valley Leaders Lunch featuring the three Mayors from our local councils, and two Farm Forum events focusing on Fire and Feral Cats. We gave presentations to our three funding Councils in May and early June, and we're excited to have started an internship for the videographer and Big Picture School student Josh Steer. We are also busy working with the Sustainable Community Working Group on this year's Tamar & Meander Valley Community Garden Open Day scheduled for November.


At our recent Tamar NRM Management Committee meeting we signed off on our next Sustainable Living Festival, which is going to be on March 2nd 2024, at the Tramsheds/Inveresk site in Launceston. The theme of the Festival will be ‘Going Circular’ - an invitation to the community to showcase existing practice and become involved in the Circular Economy in our region. Don’t know what the Circular Economy is all about? Come to the Festival and find out!


I hope you enjoy this newsletter which celebrates all the activities our small team at Tamar NRM brings to the community. We have been doing this for 25 years, thanks to the exceptional support we get from out funding Councils at the City of Launceston, West Tamar and George Town, and the involvement of legions of people from the community who volunteer or take part in our activities. Thank you to you all.


Ben Hooper

President





Funding Success!

We are delighted to report that our three Great Regional City Challenge projects have been selected for funding! Thank you to everyone who voted for us. The final confirmation will be coming through next week, but the President of the Great Regional City Challenge says this is largely a formality. To remind you what they are...


  1. Community Connection for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Tasmanians – funding for buses and interpreters to enhance community engagement for former refugees

  2. Great Tamar Tree Trail - a community selected virtual trail of the Tamar Valley’s favourite trees

  3. Tamar Region Through the Lens – showcasing our natural treasures (Youth project) - funding for video clips of the natural wonders of the Tamar region

These projects will be rolled out over the next 12 months.

 

More funding to tackle Besom Heath

Besom Heath has been found in which is growing in a relatively small area of land in the Bridgenorth and Rosevale area. Image courtesy Flickr by Svetlana.

We have also been successful in our bid for more funding to tackle the nasty invasive weed Besom Heath.

We have received a Targeted Small Grant of $50,000 from the Weed Action Fund to employ a Field Officer and have funding for chemicals to treat the weed.

Good news for us, bad news for Besom Heath!

Image: Invasive weed Besom Heath has been found growing in a relatively small area of land in the Bridgenorth and Rosevale area. Image courtesy Flickr by Svetlana.


 

Plastic Free Launceston launches its Water Refill Project

On World Environment Day,


Plastic Free Launceston launched its simple but innovative Water Refill Project.

This initiative invites you to refill your water bottle for free at participating businesses when you see the REFILL HERE sign.

There is no obligation to purchase anything from the business - the aim is to reduce the need to purchase bottled water.

If you are a local Launceston business interested in participating, please email Trish at pflaunceston@gmail.com or send a message to Tamar NRM to connect you.

 


Trowunna Wildlilfe Park Outing

Tamar NRM’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Community Connections Working Group took 60 people to Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary in Mole Creek for a special morning where old Tasmanians met new Tasmanians and fun was had by all. We’d like to say a special thank you to Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary for giving the group a wonderful discount rate and a lovely few hours in the sanctuary.

Many of the participants were recent arrivals to Tasmania so introductions to native wildlife were a real thrill.

Read more about the CALD CC Working Group in the Working Groups section below.


SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

On Farm Forums

Farming, Fire and Everyday Life

In partnership with Red Hot Tips and SFMC, our first Fire on Farms session was held at Flowery Gully May 20th. The attendees received expert advice from Red Hot Tips Team, Andrew Cargil, Sam Tacey and Frank Bishop, on how to best live with, manage and reduce the fire risk on their property, and Pep Turner, the Manager of the State Fire Management Council, Tasmania.

A practical session planned for May 27th was postponed to July due to wet weather. Participants will be contacted shortly with the next date.

Feral Cats on Farms

In partnership with the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) and Landcare Tasmania, the Feral Cats on Farms session on Friday June 2nd at Hillwood shared an understanding of what is involved in managing feral cats.

The event attracted a lot of interest from the region, and covered the impacts of feral cats in Tasmania, the tools that are legally available for effective management, strategic planning and monitoring, agricultural impacts (toxoplasmosis and sarcosporidiosis), Landcare case studies, and practical demonstrations and hands on training on effective cage trapping and motion camera setting-up techniques.

The session has received excellent feedback and Tamar NRM would like to extend its gratitude to all the guest speakers who all contributed to an informative and empowering session, providing landholders and land managers with the practical advice to take home.

 

Tamar Valley Farm Discussion Group

The group continues to meet on the first Thursday of each month, supported by Tamar NRM. Meetings regularly attract 12-15 attendees, with farmers taking it in turns to host a meeting. Please get in touch if you are a farmer who would like to join the group.

 

WEEDS

Tamar NRM has continued its work on weed control projects, specifically the eradication of Besom Heath in the Bridgenorth area and Gorse in the Piper’s River catchment. These projects are currently halfway through and are funded by the Weeds Action Fund (WAF), a Tasmanian Government initiative. In addition, Tamar NRM is providing support for a state-wide scoping study for Bridle Creeper through a targeted small grant WAF application by Enviro-Dynamics.


The Chemical Trial for the Besom Heath Eradication Project is now complete, and a Best Practice Manual is expected to be completed by July. Two Field Days are being planned for August – Thursday 17th and Saturday 19th - aimed at landowners with Besom Heath infestations. Chemical treatment will begin in September. Tamar NRM has recently secured an additional $50,000 from the Tasmanian Government's Weed Action Fund to increase capacity for treating Besom Heath. The funds will be used to

employ a Field Officer and purchase chemicals or other equipment for on-ground work.


The Towards Gorse Eradication in the Pipers River Catchment through implementation of Property Weed Management Plans (2021-2023) project now involves 62 sites with 47 Management Plans in place, and thus far over 30 hectares of gorse have been treated. A Review Forum was held in April, and with Kay Bailey at the helm, providing excellent leadership of this project, it demonstrates the importance of multi-year projects in weed management.

 

SUSTAINABLE LIVING

Community Gardens Network

Fifteen member Gardens from the Tamar and Meander Valley Community Gardens Network met on 18th of May at the new Meander House Community Garden, at the former Meander Primary School site near Deloraine.

The Garden at Meander House was established some years ago when the school was still open, and the new managers are keen to revamp the Garden and get some vegetable and fruit production going. Network members were keen to give Tanya, Geoff and John some suggestions and advice, and we’ll all be interested to see how the Garden progresses in the coming months and years.

The Tamar & Meander Valley Community Gardens Network is delighted to be involved with the upcoming agriCULTURED Agri-Food Festival, at its Community Day on Thursday the 3rd of August, from 2-4pm at the UTAS Inveresk Community Garden.

Representatives from gardens across the Network will be onsite to share the love and work from their gardens, which is more than just growing food. They will also be promoting the eagerly anticipated annual Tamar & Meander Valley Community Gardens Open Day to be held later this year.


The Community Gardens Network is an initiative of the Tamar NRM Sustainable Community Working Group.



 

Tamar Valley Leaders Lunch

Image: Clockwise from left, Danny Gibson, Kirstin Seaver, Will Cassidy, Nick Flittner, Peter Roberts, Greg Keiser and Christina Holmdahl

The April 19th Leaders Lunch had a great turnout of over 80 people. The event featured the three Mayors of the Tamar Valley: Danny Gibson, Christina Holmdahl, and Greg Keiser, who shared their personal journeys and visions for their communities.

During the panel discussion for the last 30 minutes of the event, the issue of Council amalgamations was a hot topic due to the release of the amalgamation discussion paper on the same morning of the lunch.

The next Lunch is scheduled for July, with the Guest Speaker yet to be announced.


The Tamar Valley Leaders Lunch is a joint initiative of Tamar NRM, Launceston Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Central Launceston and the Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston. Special thanks to Velo Wines for its ongoing sponsorship of the event.

 

BIODIVERSITY

City of Launceston Reserves Project

The collaborative pilot project at Cambridge Street Reserve in West Launceston is steadily progressing, with approximately 75% of the Reserve's weeds removed and plans for a fuel reduction burn underway. The group conducted a transect survey of several burn units to identify weed revegetation under different burn conditions. The recent front-page article in The Launceston Examiner has attracted new members and volunteers, highlighting the collaboration between the City of Launceston, Tamar NRM, and the Australian Plant Society Tasmania.

Community members are welcome to attend monthly working bee sessions on the first Thursday and Saturday of every month.

For more information about the Friends of Cambridge Street Reserve please contact Roy Skabo on 0458 696 639 or Dale Luck on 0438 431 447.


The City of Launceston Reserves Project aims to preserve and manage bushland reserves in Launceston. It is a joint effort between Tamar NRM, the City of Launceston, and the Australian Plant Society Tasmania.

 

Planting Trees for the Queen’s Jubilee Project

The Planting Trees for the Queen's Jubilee Project, initially launched and celebrated in 2022, saw the planting of 1000 trees during April and May 2023. On April 22nd, a group of 40 members from the Frankford community, overseen by West Tamar Landcare, planted a total of 500 trees at the Frankford Memorial Hall site. The location previously hosted a Celebratory Event in November 2022, which was presided over by Tasmania's Governor, Barbara Baker. Over three days in May, John Calvin School and Newstead College students planted another 500 trees at Youngtown Reserve in Launceston. Memorial plaques have been installed at each site to honour the Queen's Jubilee.

 

George Town Reserves Project

The George Town community, Council, and Tamar NRM are collaborating to create some sustainable planting for Boongala Reserve. Local experts will guide species selection, and the reserve will be mapped and landscaped accordingly. Tamar NRM will prepare a proposal and budget for the project and plan community engagement and activities.

Stay tuned for more information if you are a George Town community member. The project will begin with consultations with the George Town Neighbourhood House and Port Dalrymple School in July.
 

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Source to Sea – Kings Rivulet

The Source to Sea Program is designed for school and community groups to explore the Kings Meadows Rivulet with the guidance of experts.

Starting at Kate Reed Reserve, the excursion follows the rivulet as it winds, curves, dips, and occasionally disappears.

Along the way, you will encounter various environments and land uses, providing ample opportunities for study.

The journey ends at Queechy Lake, where the rivulet meets the North Esk River to continue towards the sea.

The excursion is free for schools and community groups, but you will need to arrange your own transportation.



 

Friends of Low Head Penguins

Tamar NRM is in the process of creating a Volunteer Guide Training program in partnership with Low Head Tour Operator, Parks & Wildlife Tasmania, BirdLife Tasmania, and Friends of Low Head Penguins (FoLHP). On May 30th, Nick Duigan MLC shared the story of FoLHP with Parliament and mentioned Tamar NRM, which helped raise awareness of the project and potential funding opportunities.




George Town Coastal Communities Working Group (GTCC)

Revised Strategic plans for each community are in progress.


Sustainable Community Working Group (SCWG)

This group meets regularly to discuss issues around sustainability and the circular economy, and to plan events and activities. Current work is focussed on Community Gardens, and consideration of another Sustainable Living Festival being planned for March 2024. Meetings are held monthly, and more frequently as required. Members come from the three Tamar Valley Councils, Launceston Chamber of Commerce, Plastic Free Launceston, Transition Tamar, and Tamar NRM.


Weeds Working Group (WWG)

This group meets three times a year to discuss and provide coordination of weed management across the Tamar Valley. The group’s members represent the three Councils of the Tamar Valley, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, Biosecurity Tasmania, Crown and Services, East Tamar Landcare, and interested community members. Next meeting is scheduled for June/July 2023.


Russell Street Community Garden Working Group (RSCG)

Negotiations between the City of Launceston and the local community at Russell Street continue, with various ideas and concepts being considered for the future of the garden.


Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Community Connection Working Group (CALD CC)

Tamar NRM and the Women's Friendship Group (a local refugee resettlement support group) have collaborated to offer activities and experiences related to NRM for the former refugee community in the Tamar Valley under the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Community Connection Working Group. A day trip to Devonport Arboretum was organised on April 24th, which was attended by over 50 individuals. As mentioned above, on June 12th the group visited Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary in Mole Creek. A full bus of 57 plus 6 volunteers had a lovely day out saying hello to the native wildlife.

A highlight, as always, was the chance to cuddle a wombat and to watch the frenzy of the Tasmanian Devil feeding time.

In case you missed it, Tamar NRM has received funding from the Great Regional City Challenge to help this group with transport and interpreters. Planning for future trips and activities is underway. Thanks for your votes!


Big thanks to our team who help to bring everything together...

  • Nick Flittner - Program Coordinator: 1.0 FTE (0.8 FTE from June 1st)

  • Kirstin Seaver - Program Coordinator: 1.0 FTE

  • Jessie Stanley - Communications and Administrations Officer: 0.4 FTE

  • Kay Bailey - Weeds Project Co-ordinator – work as required, including Ragwort Raid, Boneseed Blitz, Nassella project; and Project Co-ordinator of the Piper's River Gorse Eradication Project

  • Trish Haeusler - Catch It In The Catchment, Plastic Free Launceston, Source to Sea

  • Denis Giasli - Project Co-ordinator of the Besom Heath Eradication Project

  • Ben Hooper - President, Tamar NRM - 0.2 FTE

  • Kate Richards - Casual Project Officer (Treasures of Tamar & Community Projects)

  • Jonty Dehnert - Casual Project Officer (FoCSR & On Farm Forum events)

  • Joshua Steer - Intern Videographer (0.2 FTE Term 2, casual as required)

 

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