Category: Nature

An Interview With Our Macpac Competition Winners!

What did you get up to over the Easter holidays? While staying at home to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Charli, Zoe and Joshua along with lots of other Junior Rangers were busy discovering nature in their own backyards.  As our Easter program went digital, our JR families were encouraged to try out some fun activities to get to know their backyards a little better.

From bird watching to night-time critter sounds, our young rangers got to experience nature that was right under their noses.  To add to the challenge, we asked everyone who completed an activity to send their treasure hunts, bird observations, creature features, and whatever else they had done, into us so we could see all the wonderful experiences that were happening around their homes.  The response was amazing, and we could tell straight away that everyone was having lots of fun.

Here are some of the entries from our winners…

Macpac, our principal partner of the Junior Rangers program offered two families the chance to win a voucher to spend on their next essential outdoor item and we’re so glad that we could do it at random as it would have been so hard to choose!

You can see that our winners, Charli, Joshua and Zoe sent in some wonderful activity sheets, photos and drawings about their backyard encounters which we loved.  Here is a little more about why they got involved with the Junior Rangers program and what they love about their own backyards…

Charli, enjoying her backyard with her liquid amber tree.

Charli, aged 11 from Mornington Peninsula has been a Junior Ranger for over two years.  Charli could remember two Junior Ranger activities with our rangers, where she went along with her brother and sister, Will and Milly. One was at Coolart Wetlands and Homestead and the other at Arthurs Seat.  Coolart was great because there was lots of bird watching and Arthur seat’s fun because they got to try and identify different animal poo. She particularly remembers the green square poo belonging to a wombat.

Charli enjoyed our nature treasure hunt and our creature feature activities over the Easter holidays because she could combine her love of arts and crafts and birds.  In fact, Charli loves birds so much, she helps her family care for the finches they breed in their back yard.  “There is so much to love about my backyard,” says Charli.  Apart from the two budgies that belong to her, there is a possum that nests in the tree and Charli loves the liquid amber tree because the leaves are a lovely colour this time of year. Her favourite bird? All parrots!  Charli often sees rainbow lorikeets them flying over her house.   What a great backyard to be exploring and a worthy winner of our Macpac competition.  Thanks, Charli.

Winners of our $100 Macpac voucher, brother and sister Joshua and Zoe, gave us an insight into their Junior Rangers activities by way of video interview surrounded by their incredible backyard bush.  First Zoe interviewing Joshua and then Joshua interviewing Zoe. Here’s what they had to say…

   

Thanks to everyone who sent in their activities.  Whatever your backyard there is always something to spot, even in the city!  Look out for more of your entries online as we’ll be posting others on our Parks Victoria Facebook page.

Our competition has closed for now but you can still download all our activities on our Make & Do page.  Why not check it out?  We’d love to hear from you.

Climate dogs round up our weather

 

Have you ever wondered why some years we have lots of rain, some years it’s really dry? There are a lot of different things happening in the sky that create our weather, and sometimes it’s so complicated we don’t know what to expect.

Luckily, we have some clever climate dogs to help us understand Victoria’s weather a little more.

As we head into spring, keep an eye on the weather and see if you think it is a wet spring or a dry spring, and what you think this means the climate dogs have been up to.

Keep our coasts clean

 

Victorians are lucky to boast a unique and diverse coastline. From rugged cliffs to surf beaches to bays, our coastline has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, Victorians also have a lot to offer with tonnes of rubbish accidently flowing through storm water systems and into the sea.

Plastic pollution poses a major threat to the marine ecosystem. Plastics don’t break down like organic materials (e.g. wood or leaves). Instead, plastic hangs around for a very long time. (more…)

Pest plants!

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Bridal Creeper

A weed is a plant that is growing where it’s not wanted. Weeds cause problems in our parks for many reasons:

  • They reduce the amount of land available for native plants and animals by taking over bushland
  • They may be poisonous to animals if eaten and can lead to allergies in humans
  • They can also threaten farming industries
  • Some exotic grasses can create high fuel loads that can cause greater bushfire intensity

Did you know that Many weeds can produce large amounts of seed which help their spread via wind, waterways, people (bottom of shoes), vehicles, birds and other animals. Willow trees for example have winged seeds that are carried on the wind tens of kilometres from their source.

When weeds become a problem in your school or garden it can be very helpful to develop a weed management plan. Things to include in a weed management plan include: learning about weeds in your area and how they are spread. Tell people about weeds and discuss problems and solutions. For more information, replacement plant ideas and disposal methods:

Fire and parks

Ranger Deb Cross at Gil Groggin Fire north of Buchan

Ranger Deb Cross at Gil Groggin Fire north of Buchan

Fire, both as a natural event and its use by Aboriginal people has been a part of the Australian environment for thousands of years. It has shaped our plants and animals into the unique ecosystems we have today; its effects in many areas of Victoria are important for the health of our plants and animals. But is it good or Bad?

Well – it can depend. Most major parks in Victoria require periodic fire to ensure the survival of certain plants and animals. A number of native plants and animals have developed specific ways of surviving fire, in fact many including plants such as banksias and grass trees rely on fire to regenerate seeds and survive.

Prescribed Burning

Today the term ‘prescribed burning’ refers to the use of fire to achieve planned land and resource management objectives. Depending on the environment type, some parks need more frequent fire than others.
There are two main reasons that Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability conduct prescribed burns in Victoria’s parks:

  • Fuel management – to reduce the risk and intensity of bushfires in areas surrounding towns and important assets.
  • Flora and fauna management – to maintain species diversity and encourage fire dependant species like banksias and Grass Trees to regenerate.

Prescribed burns are usually conducted in autumn or spring when the weather is milder. Keep an eye out when you’re travelling around at this time of year for the large plumes of smoke coming from the burns.