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September E-news

As we step into spring and some warmer weather beckons, we are pleased to bring you another update from the team at Tamar NRM.

The last three months has been a busy time, as it always seems to be – we're either running about doing things or sitting about planning the next round of things!

The big news for this edition is the development of our planning for the Sustainable Living Festival, scheduled for early March next year. We have a theme of ‘going circular’, which reflects the change in thinking which is gathering pace in government, business and community circles towards a ‘circular economy’. We are delighted that Sandy Astill has agreed to work as Festival Coordinator again – she brings a wealth of experience and skills to the position.

We’ve had a busy time with weeds of late – don’t we always! - with significant work done with gorse, besom heath, boneseed and serrated tussock. Sea spurge will be the focus of activity in George Town in October. We are interested to see what plans the political parties have to replace or continue the funding provided by the Weeds Action Fund, which comes to an end in June 2024.

We are delighted to see a surge in interest in our Source to Sea program, particularly from schools who see the value in using the trip as part of their curriculum offerings. This is a great opportunity for us to engage ever more closely with the education system in our part of the state, and for schools to provide real-life experiences in the natural environment to their students.

You’ll find many more inspirational stories in the newsletter – we’ve tried to make it shorter but there is just too much going on!

Our team of full-time, part-time, and casual staff is bolstered by an army of volunteers who put heart and soul into the work we do – and of course we are always thankful to our funding Councils for their support.

Ben Hooper


Staff News

Four new Tamar NRM team Project members will be on the ground to assist our busy Coordinators Nick and Kirstin on exciting new projects: Jonty Dehnert, Isabella Kingston, Kate Richards, and Dr Megan Grant. Their interests, experience and expertise will allow us to deliver a wider range of activities in environmental education, biodiversity and sustainable living to our community and partners. Thanks to Joshua Steer for the pic. Welcome onboard!

From left: Jonty Dehnert, Kirstin Seaver, Isabella Kingston, Kate Richards, and Dr Megan Grant.

With planning now underway for our 2024 Sustainable Living Festival – Going Circular, we are delighted to announce that our fabulous Festival Coordinator from our last festival in 2020, Sandy Astill, has accepted our offer to take up the reins again. Sandy will be employed on a part-time basis from now until the end of March 2024, and will no doubt bring all her enthusiasm and skills to bear to make this Festival even better than the last (is that possible?).

We have been successful in obtaining additional funds to support the Besom Heath Eradication Project and are delighted to announce the engagement of Anthony Randall as Field Officer to assist Project Coordinator Denis Giasli to roll out the on-ground works over the next 6 months. Anthony will work closely with landowners to identify and treat besom heath on their properties.

Our Intern videographer Joshua Steer from the Launceston Big Picture School has spent much of 2023 capturing on video and stills, events, and interviews from a wide variety of Tamar NRM’s activities and partners. He has accompanied his mentor, Kirstin Seaver one day a week as he learnt about the organisation and the Tamar Valley environment. Joshua presented his video to the Management Committee at a recent meeting and is keen to continue with future video projects for the Great Regional City Challenge project.

Check out Joshua's latest film about Tamar NRM:


Save the Date - Upcoming Events


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.

Vet Consultant Bruce Jackson was the guest speaker at the August meeting hosted by sheep farmer Denis Giasli at Winkleigh. There was a lot of blood and gore as Bruce demonstrated how to diagnose probable causes of lamb mortality through surgery. We will spare you the gory photographs.

Please get in touch if you are a farmer who would like to join the group.



Tamar NRM continues its work on weed control projects, with this period involving Gorse, besom heath, Serrated Tussock and Boneseed.

Kay Bailey continues her sterling work with the landowners involved in the Towards Gorse Eradication in the Piper’s River Catchment project. With the project now in its third year, landowner numbers have grown from the initial 22 to over 70. Many of the sites will be receiving a second or third treatment this year, before the ending of the formal project in May 2024. Tamar NRM is considering how to best provide support to the landowners in the coming years to ensure monitoring and treatment is continued for a minimum of another 7 years.

Two field days were held in August at Beaconsfield to promote the Besom Heath Eradication project. With the completion of the herbicide trial and the production of a Best Practice Manual to guide affected landowners, the project is gearing up for on-ground works to tackle this highly invasive weed. We are hoping to hit the weed hard over the next 6 months to contain the spread and eventually drive it to a containable area, where future efforts can be made to eradicate the weed completely. This will be a long process.

Thanks to Project Co-ordinator Denis Giasli and Project Officer Anthony Randall for their work, and to Weeds Working Group Chair John Thorp who dedicated many many hours of volunteer time to work on the Besom Heath Best Practice Manual and associated herbicide guidelines document.

Four community Boneseed Blitz events were held in early September – at Hillwood, George Town, Swan Bay, and Supply River – and another four in late September/early October – at Beechford, Lulworth, Weymouth and, Belligham. These sites are regulars for the Boneseed Bitz each year and there are good signs that the continued efforts by Tamar NRM and the local communities are having an effect – there were relatively few plants found and search areas were expanded in each case.

Thanks to Kay for her persistence and organisational dedication, and to community members for turning out to lend a hand.

With the project now in its fourth year, a small team met in the Mount Direction area in September to monitor for Serrated Tussock. With the help of landowners, there are signs that this weed is diminishing in this area, the only known infestation of Serrated Tussock in the Tamar Valley. Another survey will be done in November, and we are hoping to obtain the services of Fonzy, the scent dog, to support the human efforts next year. We are grateful to have the support of the Tasmanian Government’s Highly Invasive Grasses Project to continue with this work.



Sustainable Community Working Group

The Sustainable Community Working Group is concentrating its efforts in two areas – Community Gardens and the 2024 Sustainable Living Festival.

On August 3rd members of the Tamar and Meander Valley Community Gardens Network took part in an event that was part of the agriCULTURED program. Seven Community Gardens set up a display at the UTAS Community Garden at Inveresk to provide information and practical help to anyone interested in community gardening. Demonstrations on topics such as composting, seed propagation, and vegetable growing were held, and Network members were on hand to chat about all things gardening.

Three upcoming events to note:

Spring meeting of the Tamar and Meander Valley Community Gardens Network

This will be hosted by the Beaconsfield Community Garden on Thursday, October 5th - all network members are welcome, from 10.30 am to 1 pm at Beaconsfield House. For catering purposes please register here.

Tamar and Meander Valley Community Gardens Network Open Day

Our second Open Day, where Community gardens open their doors to the general public for a morning.

Date: Saturday, November 11th, 2023

Location: Community Gardens across the region.

Time: 10 am – 2 pm.

Cost: FREE!!

Each Garden will provide a different range of activities and opportunities. This is a great chance for anyone interested in gardening, vegetable growing, or community gardens themselves, to pop along and have a chat or take part in activities. All details will be on the Tamar NRM website in the next couple of weeks, including an interactive map so you won’t get lost!

2024 Sustainable Living Festival - Going Circular

We are delighted to announce some details about our proposed Sustainable Living Festival, which this year has the theme of ‘Going Circular.’

Date: Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 – with associated events in the week before.

Location: Inveresk Precinct, Invermay. Main venue The Tramsheds.

Time: 10 am – 3 pm.

Cost: FREE!!

There will be stalls, talks, information and demonstrations, music, food, and even tram rides around the site during the festival!

Keep an eye out for an official launch and the availability of all the information, documents, sponsorship, and stallholder packages, including an invitation to businesses to nominate for the Sustainable Business & Community Awards, which will be announced at the Awards Night on Friday 1st March at the Tramsheds.


Tamar Valley Leaders Lunch

Our third Leaders Lunch for 2023 was held on 26th July and we were engaged and challenged by Guest Speaker Owen Tilbury, who has a long track record with community-led events and partnerships.

Owen is the current President of the Great Regional City Challenge, Director of the Breath of Fresh Air Festival (BOFA), and Principal Consultant of community-led partnershipsplace-based.

Owen’s talk was ‘creating positive change through community-led place-based initiatives’ and was well-received by patrons. The final Leaders Lunch for 2023 is scheduled for late October or early November.

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.



City of Launceston Reserves Project

This pilot project at Cambridge Street Reserve, West Launceston is steadily progressing, with approximately 85 percent of the major weeds removed. As summer approaches the working group will focus on grassy weeds and follow up on new seedlings. To celebrate the first anniversary, an open invitation is extended to the community to join in guided Wildflower Walks on Saturday 28th October at 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 am. There will be a social BBQ afterward, organised by Tamar NRM and the Australian Plant Society of Tasmania. All are welcome.

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.


Great Southern BioBlitz 2023

Planning is underway for the Great Southern BioBlitz to be held between 24th and 27th November across the Tamar Valley.

The Great Southern BioBlitz is an opportunity for all Southern Hemisphere countries to record organisms during Spring and showcase our beautiful biodiversity to the world. The event is run by a grassroots network of keen citizen scientists from across the globe.

The Great Southern BioBlitz for 2023 will run from November 24th - 27th. Participants will then have a further 14 days to upload and identify all of their observations made during this period to the iNaturalist platform.

Tamar NRM will hold a Schools Day on Friday 24th November, with school visits during October and early November for teacher support and training. The Tamar Valley BioBlitz 2023 will be staged at multiple locations in the Tamar Valley... we hope to see you there!

If you’d like to participate in Tamar NRM’s Bioblitz, keep an eye on our website and Facebook for further information.



Source to Sea – Kings Meadows Rivulet

With the warmer weather we are seeing an increase in interest in the Source to Sea program, particularly from schools who are keen to use the trip as part of their curriculum offerings.

We have six trips booked, with interest from others including community groups like the Scouts.

This is a great program that takes people on a journey down the Kings Meadows Rivulet from its source in the Kate Reed Reserve to Queechy Lake where it flows into the North Esk and then into the sea via the Tamar. The trip looks at the various iterations of the Rivulet as it passes through different natural and human landscapes, including one section where it disappears underground for a distance.

Image: Australian Christian College students recently participated in the Source to Sea Kings Meadows Rivulet excursion, with a special interest in macro invertebrates and water quality.


Friends of Low Head Penguins...Join the Penguin Crew

Last month's Volunteer workshop at Low Head Pilot Station was attended by almost 20 members of the local community and focussed on minimising disturbance to breeding Little Penguins. The half-day workshop had speakers presenting information on all aspects of threats to penguins while they are ashore - from dogs, cats, and humans.

Speakers from the Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service and BirdLife Australia presented illustrated talks before an open topic discussion engaged all attendees.

These training sessions aim to support the Low Head Penguin Tour operators and strengthen community engagement with the Friends of Low Head Penguin Colony, ahead of the busy summer tourism season.

Huge thanks to Dr Eric Woehler, Lou Purcell, and John Bowden for a great presentation, and to all who attended with their support for our little feathered friends!

George Town Coastal Communities Working Group (GTCC)

Revised Strategic plans for each community are in progress, with a focus on Sea Spurge and Feral Cat Management. The coastal Boneseed Blitz organised by Cr Jason Orr covered Beechford, Lulworth and Weymouth during September, and the last one is planned for Bellingham on Saturday the 7th of October.

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 its upcoming OPEN DAY planned for 11 November, and its next 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 mid-October.

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.

Funding of $4000 from the successful Great Regional City Challenge grant will be used to provide transport and interpreters for the group. Planning is underway for a calendar of events to the middle of 2024.

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

  • Ben Hooper - President, Tamar NRM - 0.2 FTE

  • Nick Flittner - Program Coordinator: 0.8 FTE

  • 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 Coordinator of the Besom Heath Eradication Project

  • Anthony Randall – Field Officer of the Besom Heath Eradication Project

  • Sandy Astill – Sustainable Living Festival Coordinator

  • Kate Richards - Casual Project Officer (Source to Sea, Schools BioBlitz & Community Projects)

  • Jonty Dehnert - Casual Project Officer (CoL Reserves, Biodiversity & On Farm Forums)

  • Dr Megan Grant - Casual Project Officer (Environmental Education, AUSMAP & Biodiversity)

  • Isabella Kingston - Casual Project Officer (Tamar Trees, Biodiversity & On Farm Forums)

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


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