Category Archives: LFW workshops/ events

(Re)growing Land for Wildlife- Property Tour, walk, talk and workshop

Pretty shot .jpgLand for Wildlife members Peter and Troy have been working hard to re-grow wildlife habitat on their 5 acre property in Leanyer.

Peter and Troy

Come and share their landholders’ story of re-vegetating their block towards a beautifully landscaped wildlife habitat (from a previously big disturbed mess of Coffee Bush and grassy weeds). Be inspired by their hard work and also learn more about re-vegetation techniques, simple propagation techniques and the Black-footed Tree-rat enhancing habitat projects that Land for Wildlife are running.

Landscape view

Saturday 9th December

9 am- 11 am (or just after)

181 Leanyer Drive. An orange “Growing Towards Land for Wildlife” sign is on the gate.

Please park on the road. Dress ready for a short walk outside in the sun and bring a water bottle.

 

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A Green Army member, Anais and landholder Peter replacing any plants that did not make it through the dry season. Nov 2017.

Please RSVP if possible landforwildlife@greeningaustralia.org.au

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Land for Wildlife Top End scoops 2 NT Environmental Awards

Land for Wildlife Top End scoops 2 NT Environmental Awards, for collaboration and “People’s Choice”- indicating that working together is a key to success and the program is greatly supported by members, partners and friends of the program. 

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Before I carry on I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to the supporters of the Land for Wildlife Top End program, members who are hard at work managing their land for wildlife habitat and all the partners who have made our programs possible, including the Territory Wildlife Park, Palmerston’s Mens Shed, Green Army, Leigh- Ann Woolley and the other scientists at RIEL and our funding partners.

 

I spent some days at the Territory NRM conference, giving a presentation about our Black-footed Tree-rat program alongside 7 other amazing speakers presenting on this subject. I also presented in a Gamba grass forum about our program and shared some great examples of Landholder victories as well as their frustrations.

At times when it can be disheartening working to conserve our native landscapes and inspire or  others, when there is a push for development and our natural environments often seem to be low down on the priority  list. It has been inspiring to attend the Territory NRM conference and see the work of some amazing people and organisations working in Land Management across the Northern Territory and I believe the strength we have is in working together and in collaboration. Our “People’s Choice” award was voted for by our members, partners, friends and supporters of the program. It obviously shows we have good support and is a great message, particularly to landholders and educational partners to keep up the great work.

Thank-you, Emma (Land for Wildlife Top End, program coordinator)

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With Land for Wildlife Landholders and managers in Humpty Doo sharing the award love

 

PRESS RELEASE

Land for Wildlife Top End has scooped up two environmental awards. The program was awarded “Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare” award in the NT Landcare Awards and “People’s Choice Award” in the Territory NRM Awards, where the program was a finalist in the “Collaborations in NRM”. The People’s Choice was voted upon by the public and our program was awarded it, we received huge support from members, partners and friends of the program. If anything this is a great message that the work of landholders and educational members is greatly appreciated, and the small amount of work by many is important, especially as Darwin expands and more bushland is developed. So keep up the great work, and we will keep telling the story and inspiring others. Let us spread the message to everyone that our native wildlife is important and amazing.

Land for Wildlife is a voluntary conservation program, supporting landholders to provide wildlife habitat through nature conservation, land management and promoting wildlife awareness and education. Land For Wildlife Top End is managed by environmental NGO Greening Australia. The program is run throughout different regions in Australia, managed by various organisations.

A growing number of landholders are joining the program which already has a diverse group of over 250 member properties covering 8,000 hectares of land in the greater Darwin region and into the Katherine area. The program has been expanding its work with other organisations to enhance land management outcomes with its members, to inspire and engage the greater community to appreciate and conserve wildlife and to mutually benefit other organisations. The power of collaboration enhances the overall effectiveness of habitat conservation and wildlife awareness objectives in the Top End utilising field experts to provide educational workshops and projects to engage landholders.

A recent focus on the enhancement of habitat for arboreal mammals, particularly the black-footed tree-rat has helped landholders and educational members install 150 nest boxes and plant over 5000 plants as food and habitat to provide benefits to this endangered species. Collaborators in these programs have included the Green Army (through Conservation Volunteers Australia), The Palmerston’s Men Shed, Researchers from RIEL at Charles Darwin University, specialists at the Department of Natural Resource Management, The Territory Wildlife Park, Remote Area Tree Services, Bush Fires NT and NTFRS, Landcare NT and of course the many landholders involved, including 3 primary schools, a reserve, and a Scout Camp.

The program is supported with some funding from Parks and Wildlife Commission Northern Territory and more recently has been able to carry out focused programs on enhancing habitat for the threatened Black-footed Tree-rat, installing nest boxes and planting trees with Land for Wildlife members with funding from Territory NRM and the Federal Government’s 20 Million Tree Program.

Land for Wildlife Top End was awarded for its collaboration with its landholders and partners with the ‘Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award’ for the program (NT Landcare Awards), as well as the “People’s Choice Award” in the Territory NRM Awards, in which the program was a finalist in “Best Collaboration in NRM Award”.

“These awards are a real acknowledgement of the work and key role our dedicated members play. It is ultimately because of them that Land for Wildlife is such a success. This program is a great example of how collective impact can achieve real and lasting change, and is well supported by landholders, partners and friends of the program” says Emma Lupin, Land for Wildlife Top End coordinator.

Land for Wildlife Top End is becoming increasingly important as wildlife habitat around Darwin is lost to development and remaining tracts of key native habitat is owned by private landholders.

Greening Australia is seeking additional funding to expand Land for Wildlife Top End to meet the growing demand.

For more information contact Emma Lupin, coordinator of the program at Greening Australia on landforwildlife@greeningaustralia.org.au or 0448 214 716.

(And congratulations to Land for Wildlife Central Australia, run through environmental consultants Low Ecological Services, who also received a Landcare award for “Best Community Group” in the NT Landcare Awards)

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At the Awards night with Land for Wildlife Central Australia. L to right- Land for Wildlife member Jo-Anne Scott, Land for Wildlife Top End Coordinator Emma Lupin, Land for Wildlife project officer and coordinator, Candice and Caragh from Alice Springs.

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Photograph from Territory NRM Award night.

 

 

 

Our Enhancing Habitat Workshop

Our recent Enhancing Habitat workshop, held at the Territory Wildlife Park, was a great success. The workshop was presented in collaboration with Territory Wildlife Park, Charles Darwin University (CDU) and Remote Area Tree Service. Over 45 Land for Wildlife members attended to learn about the different ways their properties can be improved as habitat for arboreal wildlife. Information was provided about the importance of tree hollows and nest boxes as habitat for native species, such as the threatened Black-footed tree rat. Practical demonstrations and arboreal animal encounters were also included, and members were given the opportunity to finish nest boxes to take home and install on their property.

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IMG_3412 (Medium)Dr Leigh-Anne Woolley, a researcher from CDU, gave an informative talk about her research into the decline of arboreal mammals in the NT and the use of nest boxes by these species. Leigh-Anne showed that nest boxes were used by several native mammals and the size of the hollow determined which animals were likely to use them.

Territory Wildlife Park assistant curator, Damien Stanioch, gave a practical presentation with Land for Wildlife coordinator Emma Lupin, of the several ways that nest boxes can be installed onto trees. Damien also talked about and answered questions on his experiences with the use of nest boxes. Afterwards, members had the opportunity to paint their complimentary nest boxes, which were generously made by the Palmerston Men’s Shed, with some products supplied by Bunnings.

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The team from Remote Area Tree Service gave a great demonstration on how hollows can be made manually by using chainsaw techniques on dead trees, branches and logs. This is a wonderful way to ‘speed up’ the natural process of hollow-forming.

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During lunch, staff from Territory Wildlife Park treated members to an up-close encounter of native animals which use hollows, including the sugar glider and threatened northern quoll and black-footed tree rat.

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A huge thanks to Territory NRM for funding this project and to the Territory Wildlife Parkfor hosting and the time of their always knowledgeable and passionate staff. Thanks to Dr Leigh-Anne Woolley for presenting and sharing her knowledge, to Remote Area Tree Services for their wonderful presentation; to Palmerston Men’s Shed for making our boxes and Bunnings for donating some of the materials and of course all the members that are getting involved….

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Enhancing Habitat- a project for landholders for the new year

There are many fauna species that are declining in number in the Top End region, often the reason is not completely understood or can be several reasons. As well as feral animal issues (including the Cane Toad invasion and feral cats) often the lack of hollows in trees and mid story fruiting trees cause animals to decline in number. One of the main reasons that hollows and the mid storey fruiting layer of the woodland landscapes disappear is fire (and of course land clearing). Fire that is too frequent, wide spread and late in the season drastically changes the composition of our woodland landscapes in the longer term as well as the more immediate death of wildlife such as young birds, lizards, in sects and some mammals.  Hollows which many nocturnal species depend on during the day are lost and although larger trees can recover after a hot fire, many of the mid story fruiting trees that many animals rely on as a food source do not survive.

In addition to having a good fire (and weed) management plan to avoid hot fires landholders can install nest boxes and enhance plant with food plants for wildlife. It takes many years for trees hollows to form and for mid story fruiting trees to mature, so in the interim shelter can be created by making and installing nest boxes which are created to house specifics species.

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To join the project landholders should be Land for Wildlife members.

  • The first step is to take part in a simple survey to count the tree hollows, canopy cover and presence of fruiting trees on the property, and recall the fire history, assistance will be given to do this.
  • Secondly there will be a chance to take part in a fire workshop, which is also open to others, to understand the effects of fire on wildlife.
  • Then comes the most exciting part, landholders and their families will be invited to attend a habitat creation day run in collaboration with Territory Wildlife Park to build their nest boxes (late wet/ early dry season). The nest boxes will be designed to a certain size and shape in the hope to house endangered species, but that can also be used by a variety of creatures and each property can receive up to 5 nest boxes. The templates will already be cut out and then just need assembling. Coming along will let participants know how to make nest boxes in the future and the best places to install them.
    Not only will the nest boxes be assembled in the workshop, but the team from Remote Area Tree Services will also give a demonstration of how to create habitat hollows from old dead trees with some chainsaw skills. There will be the chance to learn about and meet some of the creatures that will be housed.
  • Those involved can receive up to 50 habitat enhancing plants targeted towards their targeted fauna species.
  • The landholders will need to install the nest boxes and monitor them for uptake.

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TO REGISTER FOR THE PROGRAM PLEASE EMAIL_ elupin@greenignaustralia.org.au 
(there are limited spaces)

The date of the habitat creation workshop will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

This project is at no financial cost for the landholder as we are very thankful to have received funding from Territory NRM Threatened Species and Community Capacity Grants.

(Photo credit L. Mcmillian, Nest Box and E. Lupin Planchonia flower)

Revelations on Reptiles

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Another fantastic workshop, with a fauna focus was hosted especially for Land for Wildlife members at The Territory Wildlife Park. This workshop focussed on reptiles that are likely to be found in Top End landscapes and particularly properties of the rural Darwin area and how best to manage habitat for their success.

Nearly 30 Land for Wildlife members all boarded the train on another slightly sweaty but beautiful Saturday morning to meet Dion Wedd, curator of the collections at Territory Wildlife Park. In the nocturnal house Dion gave us a background to reptiles in the Top End and how we can look after their habitat, as well as all the participants having an opportunity to see and even handle some of the species themselves, including a Blue- tounged lizard (actually a skink), a Frill-necked lizard, a Tree frog and others.

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There are over 300 species of Lizards, snakes, turtles and frogs that can be found in the landscapes of the Top end region and about 1/3 of those in Darwin and rural region. Lizards include numerous small skinks which are common even in suburban gardens and rummage around in leaf litter, Dragons- Frill-necked Lizards (Chlamydosarus kingii), Tree Dragon (Gowidon temporalis) and Gilbert’s dragon (Lophognathus gilberti) gheckos and goannas, there are also Pygopods, which are legless lizards (and yes they look quite like a snake).

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Frill-necked lizard (photo  by Alice Buckle)

Northern Spadefoot Toad

Northern spade-foot toad (by Alice Buckle)

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Mains frog (photo by Alice Buckle)

In wetter areas we find amphibians (frogs, toads and toadlets) in great numbers, turtles and water monitors. Many Land for Wildlife properties include inundated areas of Sandsheet, treed swamp or freshwater creeks.

And snakes, yep there are lots of them, over 40 species in the Top End region, many of the more common ones found in the Darwin region. Unfortunately there is a culture of humans in Australia fearing snakes and wanting to kill them, often without much knowledge of their behaviour or how harmful they are. Generally keeping a distance and letting them be is the best action.

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We joined Greg Mayo, Wildlife keeper in the monsoon rainforest, who told us a lot of amazing information about snakes, their behaviour and habitat and showed us a live Black-headed python (Aspdithes melancephalus). We were also informed of some snake first aid and who to call if a snake was too near.

Australia has 8 of the Top 10 deadliest snakes in the world, but only (on average) one person dies of a snake bite per year and almost always they were bitten when trying to catch it, handle it or had hurt it. Compared to other statics of how people die in Australia, that is pretty low on the list, we should be a lot more worried about cars, other humans and bad food or alcohol!

After our talks we had time to enjoy the reptile displays in the rainforest and got together at the main station for brunch and everyone got to share stories and tips on land management for reptiles on their own properties.

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The biggest threat to reptiles in our region are ‘inappropriate fire regimes’, Cane Toads and possibly at the Top of the list habitat loss (land clearing.) So good land management practice and the efforts of landholders (and our members) is of great importance.

“Inappropriate fire” is fire that is too widespread, too regular or too late in the season, or a combination of these factors. Most reptiles find it hard to get away from fire, they will try and find an underground or wet place or move to an unburnt area. If fire is later in the dry season (and enhanced with extra fuel from grassy weeds) it will often kill most lizard (and some mammal) species in the landscape. You will see birds of prey circling overhead ready to eat the grilled animals. IN addition to this, the leaf litter layer, where many smaller species thrive is taken away with fire.

On most small rural blocks, keeping fire out of the property with fire breaks and diligence is the best strategy.

Cane toads seem to have dented many reptile populations with competition and predation, although these populations have stabilised land managers can keep on top of cane toads by “disposing of them” as quickly and painlessly as possible…

Keep up the great work and a big Thanks to The Territory Wildlife Park staff for all their time and knowledge.

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Wildflowers Walk and Macropod Talk

“Landholder walk and talks” are a fabulous way to let Land for Wildlife members share their knowledge with other landholders by taking them on a walk of their property and pointing out how they manage and enhance wildlife habitat.

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 The assessment of our new members Ingrid and David spanned over a couple of days as their property is over 400 hectares. The first visit we took out to the property was during the drier part of the dry season, so we went back after some rain to get a more complete plant list and see the property at a different time of year. This was turned into an opportunity for all Land for Wildlife members and interested others to visit the property.

Greg Leach, Botanist was on hand to identify annual flowering plants and other vegetation for those on the walk. Landholder, Ingrid gave an insight into the hard work carried out by the landowners with weed control and fire abatement.

 

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We walked to a beautiful view point on the property to overlook this unique landscape, it really is a stunning part of The Top End and the view  at the top was worth a slightly sweaty climb and we rested for a chat under the trees.

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Back at base camp we were treated to a fascinating talk by Landholder, David,  about Macropods (Kangaroos and wallabies ), this was based on his lifelong studies and looked at their behaviours, biology and the species trends all over Australia and then focusing on northern Australia. It was really illustrated that in the north we are so lucky to have large amounts of landscapes fairly undisturbed that we have a large percentage of species in tact, particularly in rocky areas such as near Adelaide River.

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We finished off with a feast of shared food and a Barramundi barbeque!

Below are just some of the flowering annual plants we encountered to add to the species list of the property. All of these species are very important to the food source for a large list of insects, which in turn are a food source for other animals as well as pollinators.

From Left to right, Thecanthes punicea (red), Plectranthus scuttellaroides, (purple) Centranthera cochinchinensis (pink)

 

From Left to right; Hibiscus meraukensis, Buchnera linearis, Cartonema spicatum

 

From Left to right; Mitrasacme connata , Thysanotus chinensis, Spermacoceae calliantha

Thanks so much to Greg Leach and our hosts for their hospitality and amazing conservation efforts.

 

Landholder’s walk in the Robin Falls region

Come and join other Land for Wildlife members for a very interesting Landholder Walk and Talk in The Adelaide River Region near Robin Falls. Saturday 2nd April.

Learn about the ups and downs of managing over 400 Hectares of Land and also the work the Landholders have done on marsupial research.

Enjoy a walk on the property with information and expertise from Dr. Greg Leach on wet season flowering plants. Please get in touch for more details and directions.

2016 Landholders walk and talk