With the advent of summer in Mansfield, farm-ers large and small battle the double edged sword of celebration and desperation.
Landcare is a community of people, looking out for their neighbours and being united by the common interest of land management in both rural and urban environments. With the recent fires in many small communities and the predic-tions of another hot dry summer, the Landcare community has the capacity and thoughtfulness to assist those in desperation, turning their mis-fortune to a celebration of kindness.
I recently attended a planning meeting as a representative from the Mansfield district Land-care network. The importance of Landcare was highlighted by reflecting on it’s points of difference:
- Landcare is able to gather people who can design projects that they know will work. If they are designed by people on the ground then it will happen.
- Landcare works through developing relation-ships with mutal responsibility.
- Landcare is good at putting technical knowl-edge together with local social knowledge in order for positive outcomes to occur.
- Landcare groups and networks have plans together with flexibility. We have the opportu-nity to let the plans evolve.
Up2Us Landcare Alliance has been able to plan for the employment of a new project coordina-tor Kim Magnay whose portfolio will be biodi-versity and small acreage farm trials. We would like to formally welcome Kim to the team and look forward to seeing her knowledge and skill be well utilized.
Up2Us is a committee of volunteers who work behind the scenes to make change in our local area for the benefit of land holders big and small. I would like to thank all of the committee members; John Gilson, Murray Beattie, Rowan Swaney, John Rogers, Andrew Crockett, Julie Aldous, Jill Breadon, Eric Burt, Margie Twy-cross (just resigned) and I look forward to the ways in which we will work together in 2015.
Blackberries Be GoneBlackberries—Be Gone should be Up2Us’ mantra this year. Our Weeds Coordinator, Cam Paterson, should be congratulated on working with many landholders helping them understand the intricacies of blackberry management. Cam was also very successful in de-veloping a fantastic demonstration site, comparing the difference between four chemicals and that of the Wet Blade Technology slasher which Webster Contractors from the Yarra Valley delivered. The Wet Blade slasher, cuts the blackberries then paints the stem of the plant.
The results were displayed at the Blackberries Be Gone Field day in which everyone present was im-pressed with the results of the wet blade slasher. Photos the field day are on the next page.
A special thank you must go to Mansfield Shire who have assisted with supporting Up2Us in management of blackberries on private land.
Delatite Landcare Group
Farm Forestry Walk and Talk
Delatite Landcare Group are organising a visit to Carolyn Hill’s property on January 24th at 4.00pm. Carolyn has been work-ing many years to develop a hardwood plantation on her small acreage property near the Delatite River. It will be a great opportunity to see another landholder developing new oppor-tunities for creating and income of a small property. Please contact John Gilson on 5779 1155 or [email protected] if you would like further details.
Members of Delatite Landcare Group are eligible for an incen-tive payment again this year for controlling weeds on their properties. Weeds are a community concern affecting every-one, please make sure you control your weeds this summer.
Upper Broken River Landcare Group
The Upper Broken River Landcare Group have been working alongside Mick Ellis (a member of the group), trialling different fertilisers on his property.
The results to date were discussed recently at a Farm Fertiliser Demonstration Day. From the data collected, the most effective treatment has been to decrease the aluminium level in the soil through addition of lime. Aluminium has the capability to lock up nutrients in the soil at high concentrations leaving a very acid pH level therefore limiting growth of ideal pasture species.
Upper Broken River Landcare Group is looking forward to the following years and what this information may result especially for the small acreage farmer.
Blackberry Be Gone Demonstration Day
Blackberry Time Again—Up2Us Spray Unit AvailableUp2Us Landcare Alliance has purchased a 200 litre spray unit with a 30m hose, which will be available for loan by Land-care members within the Up2Us net-work boundaries. This includes Land-care members affiliated with any of the following groups: Ancona Valley Land-care Group Delatite Landcare Group Upper Broken River Landcare Group Howqua Valley Landcare Group
The Mansfield Shire Council as part of a collaborative effort has agreed to house the spray unit and maintain it for the community. Loaning the Spray Unit In order to loan the Spray Unit the following steps need to be undertaken.
- Contact the Landcare Facilitator Kerstie Lee 0400613344 or [email protected] to book the unit.
- Pick up the spray unit from the Mansfield Shire depot between Mon – Fri (8.00am-3.30pm). Use the spray unit according to the directions and wearing the appropriate protective equipment (supplied).
- Empty the poison tank and refill the petrol tank prior to the return of the spray unit.
- Return the spray unit to the Mansfield Shire depot between Mon-Fri (8.00am-3.30pm). The unit will be available for loan for three days only at one time so that all Landcare members have the ability to use it.
Available from 5th January 2015.
Schools, schools and more schools
This year has been a fantastic year for engaging the local schools and kinder in environmental learning. Mansfield Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School, Mansfield Rudolf Steiner School and Mansfield Kindergarten have each been in-volved in a variety of activities including planting and discovery tours with a collaborative effort be-tween Up2Us Landcare Alliance and Parks Victo-ria.
Next year Up2Us Landcare Alliance is looking to facilitate a 3 day Youth Leading the World confer-ence for secondary aged students. This confer-ence is aimed at developing leaders in the environ-mental field whilst maximizing local change. We are looking forward to what this may produce.
In addition to this, Up2Us is facilitating a Kids Teaching Kids one day forum in which grade 5&6 students from each of the Mansfield Shire schools will present information to each other in an effort to create a peer learning opportunity with an environ-mental framework.
In addition to these new programs, Up2Us Land-care Alliance will continue to work with the Mans-field Primary School in their School to Summit pro-gram and Mansfield Kinder will also continue to receive Landcare Learning program quarterly at the new setting of Mullum Wetlands for their Earth Kinder program.
Landcare within the learning environment is excit-ing and loads of fun. If you envision that you would like to support these days, feel free to drop a line and let me know that you would like to be involved.
See you next year schools!!