Down to Earth – September 2023



Newsletter of Project Platypus
Upper Wimmera Region Landcares

September 2023

Hi everyone,

Spring has come fast! We’ve only just finished up the last of the season’s plant outs, and already our northern regions are in full bloom! It’s time to get out there are start admiring wildflowers.

Enjoy the read,

In this edition:

  • Reflections on the 2023 plant out season
  • Spring is here…time to survey for flowers!
Upcoming Events
  • Ironbarks school walks
  • Moyston wildflower walk
  • Project Platypus AGM
Upcoming Grant Opportunities



Preserving our land –
Protecting our wildlife


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

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General Updates

The 2023 plant outs are all complete!

Thank you to everyone who helped get over 13,000 plants in the ground this winter! Our community put in over 720 volunteer hours (that equates to over $29,000 of in-kind contributions!)

This year, the majority of our planters were primary school students!!

Here’s the final tally by region:

  • 7000 plants in the ground in Halls Gap by community volunteers as part of the annual community plant out, hosted by the Jallukar Landcare Group
  • 3680 plants in the ground in Pomonal thanks to the Halls Gap Primary School, Pomonal Primary School and Stawell West Primary School students
  • 640 plants in the ground in Concongella thanks to Concongella Primary School students
  • 760 plants in the ground in Elhmurst thanks to Federation University students
  • Another 1360 plants in Elmhurst and Crowlands to fill in the gaps by the Project Platypus team

Pomonal Primary School Students at Terry and Annette’s site

Stawell West Primary School Students at Ken’s site

Reflections from Colin Galston on his plant out, which had help from Halls Gap Primary School students

“Just over a year ago we purchased part of an old deer farm, with a large part fenced off to grow crops and not a lot of animal activity around the property. Since taking ownership, we’ve removed about 650 metres of fencing, gates, posts and cleared a considerable amount of glass and metal debris that was scattered throughout the 24 acres.

Every time we visit we now see kangaroos, wallabies and emus and an increase in birdlife around the property. We’ve also left trail cameras on a few occasions and have seen echidnas, possums, blue tongue lizards and owls – as well as a few foxes, deer and rabbits!

Being able to introduce such a significant and diverse range of shrubs and trees has been truly wonderful. Jo and I cannot thank you enough – it is going to be incredible to see how our land continues to thrive and benefit the local wildlife. We are extremely appreciative. Thanks to all who have helped, especially the Halls Gap Primary School kids who did such a great job!”

Concongella Primary School Students at Mark’s site

Volunteers assembling tree guards and putting plants in the ground at the Annual Winter Community Plant Out at Margot’s site in Halls Gap

Hear from Margot!

Spring is here! Don’t miss the flowers!

Flowers are already on full display up in our more northern areas, especially around the Ironbarks Reserve! Make sure you are finding some time to get out there and enjoy the show! There were already 27 species I spotted in flower in the area just north of Three Jack’s Reserve in Stawell recently.

Rosy Heath-Myrtle on full display near Stawell

27 types of flowers and one caterpillar spotted in about an hours walk!

While you are admiring those flowers…why not become a citizen scientist?? 

If you love photographing flowers, then you are exactly who we want on our team of ‘iNaturalist citizen scientists’!

We are hoping to get as much of the community as possible taking part in recording all the life of our region – flora, fauna and fungi – using the free and incredibly useful and addictive iNaturalist platform!

Across August, there were 1,196 observations recorded, by 50 members of our community. See all the recent records on our Upper Wimmera iNaturalist project. Most records are coming from the Stawell and Halls Gap regions. But there are still dozens of parks, reserves and roadsides around our region that are in need of a look!

All the wildlife observations recorded from the last month, mostly concentrated around Halls Gap and Stawell.  

Is your part of the map is looking a bit bare?

Now is the time to go out and start making observations!

It very easy to get started – just download the free iNaturalist app to your phone, check out a tutorial, and take a photo to upload your first record.

You don’t need to be good at identifying plants or animals to use iNaturalist! You only need to be able to take photos!

Watch a tutorial to get started with iNaturalist

Please get in touch if you are interested in using iNaturalist and contributing to our knowledge of the region, but feel you need a bit of help getting started!  Your Local Landcare Facilitator is a self-professed iNaturalist fan girl who is always happy to share tips or invite you to a practice session.  Just drop me a line at and I will let you know when to join for a casual training session.

Now is a fabulous time to practice using the iNaturalist app, so that you can be ready to join in to the global citizen science event which is approaching in November – the Great Southern Bioblitz! More details to come!

Just a quick note – if you are using Gmail, part of this newsletter might automatically be clipped off, including all our upcoming events. To see the rest, please click the “view entire message” option, which you should see at the very bottom left of this e-mail.

Local Landcare Events

Stawell School Ironbarks Walks

Stawell Urban Landcare is running their annual guided walks in the Ironbarks for local Stawell school kids! This year Stawell PS and Stawell West PS are participating.

Stawell Urban Landcare would like to extend an invitation for members of the neighbouring landcares to join on the day, to get inspired for hosting similar school walks in their own area! 

Contact Julie Andrew at if you would like to join.

Wildflower Botany Walk in Moyston

Moyston Landcare would like to invite anyone in the local community and surrounds who is interested in learning the basic skills to aid in the ID of local native plants, to a free workshop in Moyston!

It will be led by local botanist Adam Merrick, who lives in our area. It will be on Saturday, 7th October, starting at the Moyston Firestation, (in Presbyterian Church Rd Moyston), starting at 9.00am

It will include a complimentary morning tea at the Moyston Shop. Rsvp is essential, as it will be limited to 20 participants.

To register, contact Rosie at

Project Platypus Annual General Meeting

and Squirrel Glider Night Walk!


More events by our partners and neighbours

Big restoration – the new movement of hope for nature Webinar

Event run by Trust for Nature

On September 14, 7pm AEST, join for a free webinar to hear stories from three exciting biolinks projects that are linking and restoring landscapes at inspirational scales. We’ll learn from Gondwana Link (south west Western Australia), Reconnecting Northland (Aotearoa/New Zealand), and the Biolinks Alliance (central Victoria). Join us to find out what gains are made when you link bush patches, and link organisations and people. The whole might just be greater than the sum of the parts.

Click HERE to register for the free webinar.

The Threatened Species Bake-off!

The Threatened Species Bake Off is an invitation to Australians to bake a dessert in the shape of a threatened species to build awareness in the community about Australia’s remarkable and unique threatened wildlife!

This year, the Threatened Species Bake Off is back for the seventh year running in 2023! You just need to bake a cake, and upload it to social media with the hashtag #TSBakeOff2023 and tag the Threatened Species Commissioner.

Key dates
24 August – Entries open
7 September – Threatened Species Day!
24 September – Entries close

Chatsworth House Field Day

Event run by Chatsworth House Pastoral and Upper Hopkins Land Management Group

Register: via Humanitix
Aussie Bird Count week


It’s back! The Aussie Bird Count


Australia’s favourite citizen science event, The Aussie Bird Count, will return between 16–22 October. You don’t need to be an expert birder to take part — all you need is a little enthusiasm!
Private Land Conservation Conference, PLC23: Unite For Nature

Event run by the Australian Land Conservation Alliance



The Conference is being held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra, Australia.​

More information

The Great Southern Bioblitz

A global citizen science event!



The Great Southern BioBlitz is an opportunity for all Southern Hemisphere countries to record organisms during Spring and showcase our beautiful biodiversity to the world. The event is run by a grassroots network of keen citizen scientists from across the globe!

Anyone in the world is eligible to take part in the event. All you have to do is upload observations of wildlife to the iNaturalist platform. Register as a participant here to be kept informed and to qualify for a certificate.



Upcoming Grant Opportunities

Below is a run down of grant opportunities with application due dates that are coming up in the next few months:

Click here for a list of all “ongoing” grants, that are open year round, or until the funding runs out

Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia Giving Circle Grants

The WELA Giving Circle Small Grants Program is now open. They are looking for impactful, cutting edge and inspiring environmental and climate advocacy, campaigns and projects that are led by women and/or gender-diverse people.

For more information and to apply, visit the WELA website.

2023-24 Volunteer Grants

OPENING SOON: Volunteer Grants support the work of local community organisations by enabling the inclusion of vulnerable people and promoting awareness to increase participation in volunteering. Grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 will be available to assist eligible not-for-profit community organisations to support the efforts of their volunteers.

For more information, visit the GrantConnect website.

Damien Greer Lawyers Community Grant Program

Damien Greer Lawyers

More Info Here

Due Date: Round 2 due Dec 31st, 2023

Up to $2,500 to support organisations that work within their local community and encourage the following values:

  • Helping the community in times of need
  • Building community togetherness and sense of belonging
  • Promoting positive health and wellbeing
  • Supporting community services and groups
  • Nurturing the local environment

Diploma of governance
scholarship round

Institute of Community Directors Australia

Offering part-scholarships towards the Diploma of Governance.
More Info Here

Due Date: Applications close 31st December 2023

#Building Farm Spirit

National Centre for Farmer Health

$500 – $1,500 available for activities that provide social connection and mental health
promotion for farmers and farming communities.
More Info Here

Due Date: November 2023

Community Assistance Program

BMD Group

$5000 one-off sponsorship for local community groups and orgs that are leaving lasting legacies in the community and contributing to the sustainability or environmental improvement of a region.
More Info Here

Due Date: October 2 2023

McCusker Charitable Foundation Grant

Funds organisations who are seeking support for projects aligned with the foundations key
objectives, which include agricultural research.
More Info Here

Due Date: 30 November 2023

Explore Fund

The North Face

Projects large and small in scale are vital for protecting our natural ecosystems and our ability to continue to enjoy them. Ideal programs think creatively about engaging communities in environmental work and creating connections between people and the land.

$5,000 – $10,000
Total Pool $25,000

More Info Here

Due Date: 30 September 2023

Two for the Trails Grant program

Total Pool: $1,370, 582 for protecting and restoring hiking trails
More Info Here

Due Date: 10 September 2023

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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