Tag Archives: black footed tree rat

(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.

 

 

 

Enhancing Habitat Update

140 of our nest boxes are up in trees on Land for Wildlife properties from Darwin to Katherine! They are hoping to attract our Black-footed Tree-rats and food plants for them are also being planted on each nest box property.

After our fantastic workshops, members have been busy painting and installing the boxes. Boxes have also been installed at 3 schools- Girraween Primary, Howard Springs Primary School and Milkwood Steiner School.

Some members got friends and family together to install the boxes and soem even got a little help from Emma.

Emma (LFW coordinator) even got on the radio to talk about the project…

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These are just some of our nest boxes looking fabulous in their gorgeous host trees

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And then, the next exciting part has been checking out the boxes with our new especially designed nest box camera, with the help of the landholders and our Green Army team who are learning about surveying.

 

So far we have not caught any mammals live on camera but we have got Eucalyptus leaf nest material (very likely to be from the Black-footed Tree-rat), droppings that look like those of the Black-footed Tree-rat and some small identified fluff balls (to be sent for analysis).

We have also found some other gatecrashers using the nest boxes, including many geckos, grasshoppers, spiders and European honey bees.

Check out this amazing (non native) bee colony that took up a nest box at Alison and Mike’s property in Humpty Doo, and then moved on.

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So no live pictures of our Tree-rat friends but evidence of some and sightings from landholders of BFTRs outside the nest boxes! We are hoping to hear about motion sensing cameras we can lend to our landholders soon and will be checking on the boxes in 3 months time! All the data is being collated as well as a map of the location of every nest box!

Now we will wait and see if anything moves in over the next few months, while our Green Army are busy planting 15, 000 trees for the Black-footed Tree-rat ! (yes 15, 000) on Land for Wildlife Properties.

Trees for Wildlife- An update

 5000 trees have been planted on Land for Wildlife properties within our program to enhance habitat for the Black-footed Tree-rat
Over the wet season, mostly in January and February of this year we planted out over 5,000 tree species, grown by the Greening Australia plant nursery, that were chosen as a food source or habitat plant for the endangered Black- footed Tree rat (Mesembriomys gouldii), an NT native rodent which has been in decline over the last decade.
The project is run in collaboration with the Green Army and this fabulous team of young people helped plant out on 20 Land for Wildlife properties. The team also collected seed, propagated plants, assisted in the nursery and helped Land for Wildlife members in the program with some weed management.

We had a wonderful wet season and so the plants were given a good start and watering in. Landholders have also signed an agreement to look after the plants, keeping them watered until established and working on weed and fire management within the areas.

Above: The grand kids of Land for Wildlife members Margi and Digby, help a Green Army team member plant new trees at Howard Springs.


The team after another full day of Tree planting with Land for Wildlife members.


Land for Wildlife member Shelly from Herbert happy to receive her plants to re-vegetate a previously under cleared area.


The Green Army team at work planting at another property in Howard Springs


Land for Wildlife member Vanesha helps the team plant at her Humpty Doo property
There are over 20 native plant species being planted, including the Red Bush Apple (Syzygium suborbiculare), Green Plum (Buchananaia obovata), Billy Goat Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana), Pandanus (Pandanus spiralis)Planchonia careya and various Eucalypts and Acacias. This first property backs on to the Leanyer Swamp, some of which is set aside for conservation, making it a great wildlife corridor.

After 9 months of helping collect seed, propagate, care for plants and undertake nursery operations, the Green Army team met landholders and planted out the trees. The team learnt not only practical skills, but social ones too and they had the chance to hear the stories and see a snippet of the lives of many land managers and how they all interact and care for the natural world.

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 with nest boxes

Exciting news- The nest box design is finalised and the men’s shed in Palmerston is making 150 for the Land for Wildlife program.

What wildlife are the nest boxes for ?

This nest box design is made is to provide a nesting place for the Black-footed Tree-rat, which is a listed threatened species in the Northern Territory and Australia wide. For some reason this species still seems to be more common in the Darwin and rural area and declining in locations further away. It is thought that its overall decline is due to a lack of tree hollows (where it nests) and a decline in mid story fruiting trees (its food), and this is mostly associated with too frequent and hot fire and of course land clearing.

IMG_0836 (Custom)Land for Wildlife coordinator Emma with men’s shed member Max and the prototype nest box

Why this design?

Our nest box design is based on a design by Leigh-Ann Woolley, a researcher at Charles Darwin University. The entrance hole has been reduced to 85mm to discourage possums, but allow tree rats and other small native rodents, there is a small lip over the entrance hole to discourage birds as well as add rain protection. This design has been tried and tested very recently at Coburg Penninsular, with the Black-footed tree rat, and other smaller native mammals being recorded using the design (where 100 of this larger design were installed and 100 of a smaller design)

The final design has a slightly larger roof and will have extra brackets on the rear for attaching.

Who is making them?

The Palmerston men’s shed is a community workshop area for men to gather, develop skills, and undertake different activities. Essentially Men’s Sheds are about increasing the well being of men by fostering social connectedness and increasing self-esteem.

The shed at Palmerston makes a huge variety of items, mainly from wood but have recently specialised in making many different designs of nest boxes for native wildlife. Their last project made nest boxes for a “Darwin Wildlife Sanctuary” project for urban gardens.  The organisation also sell nest boxes at the Rural Fred’s Pass market on a Saturday for various species, including parrots, sugar gliders, possums and reptiles. They range from $30- $45 each.

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The men’s shed members model our prototype nest box. 

Where are they going ?

Early this year we asked members of our Land for Wildlife program if anyone wanted to sign up to this “Enhancing habitat”. We have room for 30 properties to be involved and all 30 spaces were filled by enthusiastic landholders, who live on a variety of properties, which include at least 1 hectare of wildlife habitat, or re-vegetating habitat. The properties involved are located in Leanyer (Darwin), Howard Springs, Girraween, Humpty Doo, Bees Creek, Bachelor, the Adelaide River area and Katherine and range from 5 acres properties to 2000 acres and also includes a s

The landholders have already pledged to manage part of their property for wildlife habitat which includes weed and fire management and where possible to enhance it habitat, this project does just that. Each landholder receives up to 5 nest boxes as well as 50 native food plants for the Black-footed Tree-rat to plant on their property.  Other measures that can encourage native mammals include good pet ownership, trapping for feral cats, leaving fallen logs and leaf litter and leaving standing dead trees (but making them safe if near used areas).

The advice given about choosing where to install nest boxes is –

  • Choose over-story long lived trees, such as Eucalyptus, Ironwoods and Lophostemons that have good canopy cover.
  • Choose trees in an area with other vegetation and protection.
  • Choose trees that do not already have  tree hollows, as the tree does not really need “enhancing” as habitat and this also may cause competition with species uptake and proximity.
  • If trees have a fork it is often easy to install the nest box in this, if not the recommended height is 2-3 m (far enough off the ground for safety and close enough for humans to check the boxes with a ladder)
  • Install nest boxes at least 30 meters apart.

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Land for Wildlife, Trevor member collects his habitat enhancing plants for the Black-footed Tree-rat 

Is any data collected?

Yes– those involved choose the trees where they would like to install the nest boxes, which are at least 30 meters apart. Each nest box location is recorded with a GPS, a brief description of landscape type and 3 photographs taken of its location. A habitat condition survey is made of property / nest box locations.

The habitat condition is recorded by laying 2 transects centered on 2 of the nest box locations which are situated and in representative areas of varying habitat condition on each property. The transects are 50m long and record the nearest tree to the left and the right of the transect every 5m. The tree must be over 1.2m in height and its DBH (Diameter at Breast Height), species and presence of hollows is recorded. The ground cover and fire history is also recorded. This is all done by the project coordinator with involvement from the landholders.

These surveys will provide a sample overview of tree density (and recruitment),  species diversity within tree species, presence of a mid story fruiting layer and presence of other tree hollows.

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Land for Wildlife member Kim, helps do survey work as part of the project on her 20 acre property in Humpty Doo

After installation the nest boxes will be monitored, hopefully by landholders and also the coordinator, who will look for evidence of uptake after 6 months.

The initial survey information allows us to analyse whether the uptake of nest boxes varied with location and property situation and habitat condition and type.

The enhancing habitat workshop for participants

A workshop at the Territory Wildlife Park is scheduled for May 20th for those participating, where landholders will learn about the different species that may take up the nest boxes and their habits (and maybe even meet some of these creatures)..

They will also learn how to finish and install the nest boxes and listen to talks from those who have studied nest box enhancement.

The Remote Area Tree Services guys will also be demonstrating who to create habitat and hollows from fallen logs, old trees and items found on properties, with the assistance of a chainsaw.

There is also a Fire Workshop for members and interested others on 7th May for those attending to learn more about the affects of fire on wildlife habitat.

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Above is an example of how to finish a nest box, this sample was made for us by Land for Wildlife member Niel Carpenter

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Land for Wildlife Volunteer models another nest box, made by Neil who is trialing finishing techniques to camouflage different next boxes.

Who is funding this? 

This project is funded by a Territory NRM Community grant and supported in kind by the Land for Wildlife Top End program (whose core funding is currently from Parks and Wildlife Commission NT).

Bunnings Palmerston has provided a donation of some materials towards nest box production.

We are looking for donations of paint to finish and camouflage the boxes as well as old hose for fixings.

Land for Wildlife is Branching Out

Our “Trees for Wildlife Program” got into the local news, with more tree plantings happening all the time through the monsoons with the Green Army helping with plantings….we will continue the program next year if more landholders would like to get involved. See the “Trees For Wildlife” Tab

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