September 2018 Newsletter

Some of items of interest for Landcare Group members and supporters

  1. Community meeting on rabbit control on Saturday, 15 September
  2. New Rakali awareness sign at Aldgate Valley Reserve
  3. Pygmy Possum & Antechinus boxes erected by Landcare Group
  4. Trail cam results for Shanks Road Reserve

Scroll down for more information

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(1) Community meeting on rabbit control
– Aldgate Valley Community Hall, Saturday, 15 September

  • Have you noticed an increase in rabbits lately?
  • Are you concerned what impact they are having on the bush and the our gardens?
  • If so please join us for a community discussion on what we can do about it:

Aldgate Valley Community Hall
Nation Ridge Road
Saturday 15 September 2pm – 3pm

This will be a community discussion on concerns and actions we might take. We have invited Mark from the Natural Resources Management Board to talk to interested community members on possible options.

The meeting is for residents who live on Bandicoot Lane, Stevens Road and Nation Ridge Road (or nearby). If you wish more information or can’t attend but would like to keep in touch, call any of the folllowing:

•          Philip Fagan-Schmidt 0419 822 959
•          Alison Saunders 0438 072 775
•          David Mussared 0408 804 677 (Aldgate Valley Landcare Group)

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(2) New Rakali awareness sign at Aldgate Valley reserve
– Officially unveiled by Deputy Mayor Jan-Clair Wisdom


  Ed Douglas, Colin Phil Cook, David Mussared & Deputy Mayor Jan-Clair Wisdom

Adelaide Hills Council Deputy Mayor Jan-Clair Wisdom has unveiled two new awareness signs at the Aldgate Valley Reserve highlighting one of the district’s lesser-known native mammals.
Earlier this year a dead Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster) was found drowned in a yabby net at the Reserve. Rakalis (like platypuses) frequently drown in ‘opera house’ nets, and in other forms of fish nets and yabby nets.

Rakalis, also known as ‘native otters’ and ‘water rats’, inhabit freshwater streams around Australia, including in the Adelaide Hills, where they are believed to be a threatened species.

Colin Phil Cook provided the beautiful photo used in the new sign, which is designed to alert reserve users to the existence of these beautiful aquatic animals. Jan-Clair Wisdom (who has announced she is standing for Mayor in the upcoming Council elections) has been a long-standing supporter of the Aldgate Valley Landcare Group and other Adelaide Hills volunteer conservation groups.


  Drowned Rakali found at the Aldgate Valley Reserve earlier this year (not the distinctive white tip on its tail).

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(3) Pygmy Possum & Antechinus Survey boxes
First two boxes installed by Landcare Volunteers


  Pygmy possum, Newland Head Conservation Park

Aldgate Valley Landcare Group volunteers Roger Fidler and David Mussared have installed the first two ‘pygmy possum’ nesting boxes at a conservation reserve in Aldgate Valley.

The boxes have been shown elsewhere to be an effective way of surveying for small marsupials such as western pygmy possums and yellow footed antechinuses. The boxes will be checked regularly for evidence that pygmy possums or antechinuses have taken up residence.

The Aldgate Valley boxes are part of a much larger survey effort being led by the Friends of Mylor Conservation Park and Friends of Scott Creek, which involves 75 boxes at multiple sites.

In July Roger Fidler attended a training field trip at Newland Head Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Peninsular to learn how the boxes have been successfully used in banksia woodland to discover thriving populations of the tiny western pygmy possums, and of antechinuses which also use the boxes.

Roger has also been involved helping assembling boxes from kits for the local survey.

Yellow footed antechinuses (Antechinus flavipes) are known to inhabit the Aldgate Valley area, and there are historical records of Western pygmy possums (Cercartetus concinnus) in nearby locations.


  Dead antechinus found in Aldgate Valley (cat kill).

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(4) Trail cam results for Shanks Road Reserve
– Lots of rabbits, a dog, a cat and a fox (but no bandicoots)

Trees for Life has recently adopted Shanks Road Reserve in Aldgate Valley as one of its many ‘Bush for Life’ sites, and is working with the Adelaide Hills Council and trained volunteers in a slow, careful program to reduce the site’s weediness and return it to ecological health.

Shanks Road Reserve – which is part of the Valley of the Bandicoots project – is a small, odd-shaped Council reserve about 50 metres along Shanks Road from Aldgate Valley Reserve (on the opposite side of the road). It contains an area of very high quality native vegetation, but also some very heavily weed-infested areas.

There is ample evidence of animal activity on the reserve, with numerous diggings, strongly suspected of being caused by rabbits. However, before beginning its weeding program, Trees for Life asked for help to make sure the diggings were not the result of Southern Brown bandicoot activity.

The Aldgate Valley Landcare Group placed a motion-sensitive trail cam at the reserve for two weeks. The camera was triggered 19 times by rabbits, four times by a dog, twice by a magpie and once by a cat – but (as expected at this site) there was no sign of bandicoots.

You can view a selection of the 5-second trail cam videos on YouTube here:

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August 2018 newsletter

Some of items of interest for Landcare Group members and supporters

  1. State Government NRM Reform in SA – Have your say
  2. Pygmy Possum & Antechinus survey boxes
  3. Aldgate Valley Organic Food Co-op 21st birthday celebration
  4. ‘Friends of Nature Forum’ hosted in Aldgate by Josh Teague
  5. Landcare Association of SA AGM this Thursday, 30 August
  6. UniSA survey into youth environmental volunteer engagement

Scroll down for more information

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(1) State Government NRM Reform in SA – Have your say
– Major overhaul of NRM Board, landcare grants etc.

The South Australian Government is carrying out a major overhaul of the Natural Resource Management system in SA, and has promised new legislation and a new structure to replace the existing Adelaide & Mt Lofty NRM Board.

The reform process has major implications for environmental priorities and funding in the Adelaide Hills, including our area.

The Government has issued a ‘discussion paper’ to outline the proposed changes. You can comment on it via the ‘Your say’ website (click here). There are also various other means of commenting – including a series of regional forums, which unfortunately have mostly been booked out.

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(2) Pygmy Possum & Antechinus Survey boxes
– Application for Federal Landcare grant unsuccessful

The bad news is that the Aldgate Valley Landcare Group has been unsuccessful in our application for a Federal Government landcare grant. We applied jointly with the Friends of Mylor Conservation Park, Mylor Parklands Bushcare Group and Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park for a grant to survey our various areas for Pygmy Possums and Antechinuses, and for money for new and emerging weeds and other issues.

The good news is that despite the knock back, we now have access to some of the 75 Pygmy Possum survey boxes which were prepared in anticipation of the project (see picture). We are not really expecting to find pygmy possums in the Aldgate Valley reserves, but the boxes have also proven very effective at attracting antechinuses, so we are hoping to employ some of them to check our local antechinus population. Three boxes will be placed on different reserves by AVLG volunteers over the next few weeks.

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(3) Aldgate Valley Organic Food Co-op 21st birthday celebration
– Calling all former members, Rebekha Sharkie guest of honour

The Aldgate Valley Organic Food Co-op turns 21 this year, and is celebrating with an event this Friday morning at the Aldgate Valley Community Hall.

The Co-op is especially keen to hear from past Co-op members from over the past 21 years – including from the early days.

The guest of honour at the celebration will be the Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie.

  • When: 10:15am Friday, 31st August
  • Where: Aldgate Valley Community Hall, Nation Ridge Road, Aldgate
The birthday celebrations will be followed by the regular weekly shop for current Organic Co-op members.

Here is a note from the organisers:

“As you know, over the last 21 years, our co-op has provided very affordable organic food to its members and provided a friendly and supportive community of like-minded people for hundreds of local people wanting to eat and live healthily and in harmony with the environment.

Together we have helped to educate people about the importance of organically grown local food and of working together for the greater good of our community. As part of our celebrations we would like to acknowledge the hard work all our previous and current members have invested to keep our community cooperative flourishing, so we’d love to see you for this special morning tea.”

For information contact Lyn, 0466 250 873 or Robin, 0407 711 335 or email: lraustin@tpg.com.au

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(4) ‘Friends of Nature Forum’ hosted in Aldgate by Josh Teague
– Large turn out for ‘Heysen’ forum event

More than 100 people turned out last week for the ‘Friends of Nature Forum’ event, hosted by the State Member for Heysen Josh Teague at the Village Well in Aldgate.

A highlight was the opening speech by Chris Daniels, the newly appointed director of South Australia’s Cleland Wildlife Park. Numerous presenters discussed the issues facing conservation volunteers in the Heysen electorate (including a brief presentation by the Aldgate Valley Landcare Group).

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(3) Landcare Association of SA AGM this Thursday, 30th August
– Peter Watton keynote speaker

The Landcare Association of SA’s 2018 Annual General Meeting will be held this Thursday, 30 August at The Joinery, 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

The guest speaker is Peter Watton from the Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park, on the topic: ‘Taking the problem of environmental funding to the community – an innovative approach’

Admission is free.

Visit the Landcare Association’s Facebook page for more details

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(6) UniSA study into youth environmental volunteer engagement
– Researcher asks all volunteers to complete survey

UniSA researcher Benjamin Page contacted the Aldgate Valley Landcare Group last week with the following request:

Dear Conservation Groups,

I am an Honours student at the University of South Australia, who is researching ways to help conservation groups recruit and retain young volunteers. You may have even seen this study featured in this month’s Sedge Snippet! I am seeking members of conservation groups to complete a questionnaire that will help me identify ways to make youth recruitment easier for volunteer groups, and allow me to highlight the benefits of volunteering to young people.

Would you please consider handing out the attached surveyto the members of your group at your next meeting or event? The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The results of this research are intended to assist conservation organisations like yours to increase recruitment and retention of young volunteers. This study has the potential to benefit young people, conservation groups, the natural environment and the wider community.

Please let me know if you are able to help and I will deliver printed copies of this survey to you, so that they can be handed out at your next meeting/event. I will collect the completed surveys from you. I greatly appreciate your assistance.

This project has been approved by the University of South Australia’s Human Research Ethics Committee (ethics number: 201422).

Thank you,
Benjamin Page
Bachelor of Sustainable Environments, UniSA

Email:  pagbj001@mymail.unisa.edu.au

Click hereto download a copy of the survey

Aldgate Valley Landcare Group turns 20

Please come and help us celebrate

10am for a morning tea
Sunday 25th June, 2017

Aldgate Valley Community Hall
(Nation Ridge Road)

Bring a plate to share, or just yourselves (there will be plenty)
Everyone is welcome

The Government is going to give us a plaque! (woo-hoo)
There will be a short AGM meeting after morning tea

The Aldgate Valley Landcare Group formed in 1997, and has been toiling away ever since to protect and restore the beautiful natural environment of Aldgate Valley. Some of our better known highlights have included:

  • Saving the Aldgate Valley Reserve from being broken up and sold
  • The Valley of the Bandicoots project
  • The Aldgate Valley Nature Walk

It’s hard to be exact, but we think we have planted about 50,000 tubes, and have pulled out approximately 900 trillion weeds. We think that is worth celebrating.