Down to Earth – December 2022



Newsletter of Project Platypus
Upper Wimmera Region Landcares

December 2022

Hi everyone, we have just a short newsletter today, but with an exciting update on a very cute and cuddly critter. We hope this will send you into the holidays with lots of warm and fuzzy feelings!

From everyone at the Project Platypus team, thank you to all our Landcarers for the immense amount of volunteer work you do, out of passion for our land and community. Thank you to everyone who has given support, and participated in Landcare plant outs, propogation days, litter clean-ups and more. We can’t wait to see more of you in the New Year.

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and a fabulous start to the New Year!

In this edition:

Feature Stories:
Night vision goggles and gliders
The perks and perils of roads
Landcare Roundup:
  • Landcare Victoria grants
  • Moyston LC: Native grass ID workshop
Next Door Natives
Mud nesting spider wasps
Upcoming Grant Opportunities

Junior Landcare Grants and Events



Preserving our land –
Protecting our wildlife


9 Ormston Rd Stawell, Victoria
PO Box 838 Stawell 3380
ph 03 5358 4410

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Feature Stories

Night Vision Goggles and High Flying Gliders

It was just after dusk on a Saturday night. The rain was coming down and the wind blowing through the trees. Surely any self respecting critter would have been hunkered down deep in their tree hollows or burrows….

The same couldn’t be said for the Project Platypus team and our visiting colleagues from the Central Biolinks Alliance. Equipped with wet weather gear and ‘night vision goggles’ (or more accurately, thermal imaging monoculars), we were setting out on a mission to find Squirrel Gliders…!

Read more about the surveys we ran last month at the link below, which ultimately ended with…spoilers….an incredibly exciting 2 squirrel gliders spotted!

Read More…
The find of the night!  Image (c) Chris Pocknee

The Perks and Perils of Roads

You may already have seen this article on our facebook page, which we shared earlier in the spring after a community member noted the many squished magpies, shinglebacks and turtles on our roads right now. But with all the surprisingly cool weather we have had, the story is still quite relevant.

Why are roads so attractive to wildlife, and why do we see such high rates of roadkill as the summer approaches?

Read one of our recent blog posts below to find out.

Read more…
Roads can be very attractive to our local birds and reptiles, but it is a trap!

Landcare Roundup

Updates from our local landcare groups and other partners covering activities happening in the bush, on the farm, and in our towns 

First off, congratulations to our landcares which have recently been awarded grants from Landcare Victoria!

  • Stawell Landcare successfully secured their “Weeds, walking tracks and people” project
  • Crowlands Warrak Landcare successfully secured their “Weedspraying Spiny Rush” project
  • Moyston Landcare successfully secured their “Weedy Whoas” project
  • Black Ranges Land Management Group successfully secured two of their projects: “Improving biodiversity and resilience in the Black Range through volunteer led land management” and “A Cool Cultural Burning Approach to Black Range Land Management led by Traditional Owners
  • Jallukar Landcare successfully secured their “Weed and Revegetation Works” project
  • Halls Gap Landcare successfully secured their “Pest plant management and community awareness” project
  • Concongella Landcare successfully secured their “Revegetation and remnant protection” project

Project Platypus also successfully secured their “Upper Wimmera landcare action 2023” project, which will provide funding for revegetation and weed control for our landcares, and additional training for our weed control staff.

From Moyston Landcare:

In late November, the Moyston Landcare group ran a native grass identification workshop, complete with magnifying glasses and BYO grasses!

Local grass expert, Adam Merrick from Trust for Nature, led the days activities. First he gave us a crash course in basic grass identification – focusing on ‘what is a grass’ and how to tell weeds from natives.

Adam kicks the day off with a “what is grass?” crash course

Next we listened to Ange Turrell of Jallukar Landcare speak about Jallukar’s native grasslands project. The Jallukar Landcare group began a project in 2016 to collect and propagate native grassland seeds, aiming to restore native grasslands in the Jallukar Landcare region. They have been working closely with the Grampians Australian Plant Society, WAMA and Greening Australia.  Ange explained how the early focus of the project was field based seed collection. But the group quickly realised that, to reach their target masses of seed, they would need to start growing it themselves. Since then they have established mass growing beds at several member’s properties, and have been able to produce enough seed to plant out a brand new native grassland in Pomonal, at the WAMA site. This project was awarded a Landcare award in 2019!

Ange Turrell gave us a presentation on Jallukar Landcare’s native grasslands project, which has been running since 2016.

Feeling sufficiently inspired by Ange’s story, we were ready to brave the weather outside, which was unfortunately bucketing rain!

We made a quick run to the Moyston cafe and back, grabbing some grass specimens from along the roadside as we went. Once back inside, we worked through identifying these specimens, as well as samples that attendees brought from their own homes.

The hands on session was made easier with identification resources provided by Adam Merrick

Thank you to our speakers, Adam Merrick and Ange Turrell, and the Moyston Landcare for putting on this very informative and enjoyable event!

We have a great deal of native grass expertise among our landcarers. If your own landcare group would be interesting in running a similar session, let me know! (You can always reach me at the email).

Next Door Natives

Profiling the ecology of our local flora, fauna and fungi

The inspiration for this month’s native species profile comes from the buzzing sound I have been listening too non stop the last three days as I sit in my work shed. It is the sound of an extremely stubborn wasp who is determined to stuff every little hole around my desk full of spiders!

If this sounds like an extremely bizarre thing for a wasp to do, click the link below to find out what this strange little wasp is up to.

Read More…
A pompilid wasp. Image credit: © Reiner Richter
 some rights reserved

Just a quick note – if you are using Gmail, the last bits of this newsletter (Upcoming Events and Grants) might automatically be clipped off. To see the rest, please click the “view entire message” option, which you should see at the very bottom left of this e-mail.

Upcoming Events

I’ll check back in in the new year with the line up of 2023’s upcoming events. In the meantime, enjoy your holidays!

Upcoming Grant Opportunities

Below is a run down of grant opportunities that are coming up (including flood recovery funds)

Community Strengthening Grants Program

West Wimmera Shire Council

More Info Here

Designed to promote & increase participation of local residents in community initiatives, build & strengthen local networks & partnerships, & support community leadership, learning & skill development

Limit: $5000

Due date: 30th Dec 2022, 5pm

Extension & Adoption of drought resilience farming practices grant

Australian Government

More Info Here

Will fund eligible entities to deliver extension activities that encourage farmers to adopt proven & existing practices & technologies that build drought resilience. Project need to be completed within 2 years

Range: $100,00 – # million $

Due date: 9th Jan 2023

Financial support for flood-affected farmers

Agriculture Victoria

More Info Here

Due date: All are due 30th April 2023 4.00pm

  • Primary Producer Recovery Grants: Up to $75,000 grants to cover the cost of recovery  and get businesses up and running again.
    Note: This replaces the $10,000 Primary Producer Flood Clean–Up, Relief Grants announced on 19 October. Producers that have received a Primary Producer Flood Clean–Up Relief Grant of $10,000 can now apply for up to a further $65,000 under the Primary Producer Recovery Grant, bringing the total to $75,000.
  • Rural Landholder Grants: Up to $25,000 grants to cover the costs of disaster impacts for small-scale producers.
  • Primary Producer Concessional Loans: Up to $250,000 to restore or replace damaged equipment and infrastructure, or to cover the short-term business expenses.
  • Primary Producer Transport Subsidies: Up to $15,000 to support the transport of emergency fodder or stock drinking water, and the movement of livestock

Because several of our Landcares have expressed interested in creating more opportunities for kids to get involved, here are upcoming Junior Landcare events and opportunities that might be of interest:

Junior Landcare Professional Development Webinar

March 7 at 4pm AEDT

Junior Landcare Ambassador Costa Georgiadis and Junior Landcare educators Sam Harrison and Adam Shipp will host a webinar for educators and Landcare Facilitators/Co-ordinators in the new school year focused on the new First Nations Junior Landcare learning activities. New activities to be launched early 2023 include ‘First Nations Yarning Circle Series’ and ‘How to connect with Traditional Owners and First Nations people in your Community Series’. Educators will be provided with a professional development certificate.

To register please go to:

If you are already registered for the Landcare Webinar Program we will contact you with the details on how to participate in the webinar.

Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants reopening in 2023

Woolies awards $1000 to schools as part of their Junior Landcare grants, which will reopen in early 2023. Woolies has recently shared some ideas for projects you could apply for through this grant. Find them here.

That’s all for now!

Please let me know if you would like to share anything with your fellow landcarers in the PP region through this newsletter, such as events you’re group is running, great resources you have come across or developed, or exciting accomplishments from on your own plot of land!



Newsletter prepared by
Elia Pirtle
Local Landcare Facilitator
Project Platypus Upper Wimmera Landcare Network
Mob 0414 143 456

Copyright © 2022. Project Platypus Organisation Incorporated.  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 838, Stawell, Victoria 3380


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