Hello from Murdoch Branch Committee 2019

In December 2018, our Branch committee was formed for the next year. A number of new returning faces and a few new ones, here is a little bit about our Committee members:

Diana Corbyn (Back left) has been with the Murdoch Branch since year dot. Her interests are botany, ecology and bushland restoration. She currently represents the WSWA on the Rehabilitating Roe 8 Advisory Committee. Diana is our Branch Vice-President.

Ross Young (Back 2nd left) has been a Society member for four years and a Murdoch Branch committee member for three. A former career banker, Ross completed his BSc in Environmental Biology in 2014 and now is administrator of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund. His particular interests are in plant ecology and plant/bird interactions.

Jennifer Dudley (centre) grew up in Adelaide where she was an artist & designer for many years, often incorporating South Australian Native Plants & Wildflowers in her textile design. Jennifer moved to Fremantle to complete her PhD in Asian Studies (Indonesia) at Murdoch University, and always intended to roam the West looking for Wildflowers to photograph & draw, which she now does through the Murdoch Branch of WSWA.

Felicity Bairstow (Back, second right) is a member of many environmental organisations and committees and played a pivotal role in the Save Beeliar Wetlands campaign.

Christine Allen (Back right) has a passion for all things plants. She heard about the diversity of flora in WA during her undergraduate degree at the University of Wollongong in NSW and thought it sounded like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for plant lovers! Christine completed her PhD in flora conservation at UWA in 2014 and has continued to work in the revegetation of flora in the Wheatbelt and Peel-Harvey.  Christine has been Branch President for three years now.

Mathew Woods (Front left) works as a senior Conservation officer at the company Landcare Weed control. Outside of Mat’s work, he has various hobbies like playing video games and gardening. Mat also really like plants. Mat is our Branch Treasurer.

Sheree Walters (Front right) grew up in the wheatbelt region of Western Australia with a passion for the environment and natural landscapes. Sheree is currently completing a PhD in native plant genetics at Curtin University working with four of our wonderful WA natives – including two parasitic plants! She is particularly interested in landscape ecology and the importance of biodiversity – including plants, animals, insects and fungi – in both natural and restored landscapes. Sheree has been our Branch Secretary for three years now.

We are a friendly bunch, always keen to see new people at our monthly talks and hear about new activities we could run at the Branch. Let us know if you have an idea for a speaker or activity: murdoch.secretary@wildflowersocietywa.org.au

 

Newsletters from ANPSA – Members Only

We regularly receive hard copies of newsletters from related ANPSA organisations in other parts of Australia, which are distributed to each branch for members to read.  We are now receiving digital copies of some of these newsletters which may be downloaded – MEMBERS ONLY.  Only the current copy will be available for download due to size restrictions.  On our website now – Members Only – are newsletters from Canberra – Dec 2018 as well as Tasmania – Dec 2018.  Go to the newsletters page here.

 

We’re on Gardening Australia

Josh Byrne visits the Helen and Aurora Range with WA Wildflower Society member Brian Moyle, who has spent many years working to protect this rare banded-ironstone landscape and its Gimlet gum (Eucalyptus salubris) woodland.  It is currently within a conservation park, but the Society is hoping to have it changed to a National Park due to its National Heritage values.  The view from the summit is breathtaking.

The hard, hot rock formations result in temperature extremes, ranging from 50 degrees to freezing.  The area has produced many species that occur nowhere else in the world, such as the Bungalbin tetratheca (Tetratheca aphylla), which produces masses of purple flowers in spring and grows in tiny cracks in the rock.  We also see the ironstone beard-heath (Leucopogon spectabilis), which has white flowers and seemingly grows straight out of the rock!

Link to video here:  http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/remote-ranges/10343146

Mary Bremner Bequest Grant Program – 2017 round

Large Grants

There were six applications which well exceeded the available funds of $36,000. Three applications were successful, and each received only part of the amount requested.

1. Wildflower Society of WA – Roadside Vegetation Sub-committee

Project title: Strategic Response to Clearing Applications

$12,000.

 

2. WSWA – Educational Sub-committee

Project title: Wildflowers Educational Outreach for Young People

$20,000

 

3. WSWA – Plant Survey Programme

Project title: Plant Survey Data to NatureMap

$4,000

 

Small Grants

There were four applications, again exceeding the available funds.

1. Wildflower Society of WA – Armadale Branch

Project title: Botanical Art Exhibition

To promote the WA native flora by exhibiting and selling artworks depicting WA wildflowers. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the WSWA State Conference and to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Society.

$2,000

2. Wildflower Society of WA – Eastern Hills Branch

Project title: Blue Sky Festival.

Branch stall at the festival with displays, activities and plant sales.

$500

 

3. Chittering Landcare Group

Project title: Enhancing the Wildflower experience in Chittering.

Project title: To prepare and print a Self-guided tour of Blackboy Ridge Reserve in the Chittering Valley and the making of, or purchase of, a perspex box to store them in at the site. (Project part funded).

$500

Blue Sky Festival

 

On Saturday 17th March, the Eastern Hills Branch participated in the Blue Sky Festival at Mundaring. Held in and around Sculpture Park,. the festival focussed on sustainability and environmental issues. Our display had a theme of Wattles- get rid of the weeds and grow local. With the help of photographs and actual foliage samples, we were able to demonstrate the difference. We gave away propagation kits comprising pre-treated acacia seeds- we had A.alata, A.celastrifolia, A.pulchella and A.dentifera- and starter pots containing seed raising mix. These were popular and quite a lot of people already knew of the proliferation of some of the eastern states wattles such as Flinder’s Range Wattle.

 

Acacia dentifera

The festival had many community groups participating such as the Naturalists, Kenyana, St Barbe’s Nursery and a range of talks on nest boxes, bushfire preparation, battery storage and revegetation. The Tiny House was very interesting as was the entertainment from the Junkadelic band! The festival was supported by The Mary Bremner Small Funds bequest via our branch.

 

Giving away acacia propagation kits

 

Congratulations Michael Morcombe AM

Michael was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2018 Honours list … ”for significant service to conservation and the environment in the fields of natural history and ornithology as a photographer, illustrator, and author“.

Michael is a foundation member of the Wildflower Society of WA, Armadale Branch (since March 1961), past branch president and patron (2008–2016), and since 2015 an Honorary Life Member of the Society. Michael – along with wife Irene – has published approximately 40 books plus many other publications. His photography, flora and bird illustrations, written works and ‘Australian Birds’ smartphone app have won many awards both nationally and internationally. Being made a Member of the Order of Australia is a well-deserved recognition of his endeavours in the field of natural history.

Thank you, Minister Dawson

Our heartfelt thanks to WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, who has announced the final outright rejection of mining of the Helena Aurora Range and the intention to create a Helena Aurora Range national park.

We invite our members to personally thank Minister Dawson, and to look at the proposal for a national park prepared by the Wildflower Society, the Wilderness Society, and the Helena and Aurora Advocates.

Download the Helena and Aurora National Park Proposal here (3mb).

Bush Heritage says ‘thanks’

Wonderful blog from Bush Heritage thanking the Wildflower Society for conducting flora surveys at Hamelin Station and Eurardy Station. We had a lot of fun doing the work… and it is our pleasure. And how nice to receive public recognition.

‘We now have over 50 Threatened, Priority and/or endemic plant species on the list for Eurardy Reserve – amazing! Our most recent purchase in the Mid-west – Hamelin Station Reserve – is located next to the Shark Bay World Heritage Area and had never been surveyed in detail for flora.’ -Vanessa Westcott, Bush Heritage Ecologist

Read the blog here: https://www.bushheritage.org.au/blog/the-wonderful-wildflower-society-of-wa

Photo courtesy Bush Heritage

Helena and Aurora Range National Park Proposal

Many groups (including the Wildflower Society) and individuals involved in the Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin) campaign have been very pro active over the last few months to show that there is strong public support for protecting the Range in its entirety. This is important to encourage and support our WA government to say no to mining the Range.

There is every indication that the WA government will make a final decision on whether to allow mining or not within the next couple of weeks (before Christmas). Otherwise the decision will not be made until later in the New Year. The decision will be made by Minister Stephen Dawson, however, he also needs to have the support of other key Ministers in Cabinet as the final decision also considers social and economic factors in addition to environmental. Cabinet meet for the last time this year this Monday on 11 December 2017.

Download the Helena and Aurora National Park Proposal here (3mb).

Advanced plant ID workshop

An over-subscribed workshop. Non-members lining up to become members so they could attend at member’s prices. This shows how popular this workshop was – and how successful. With a fantastic presenter (Dr Kevin Thiele – former Curator of the WA Herbarium) and 5 assistants for 20 registrants, each with their own binocular microscope, this was a supermassive learning experience. Even the presenters and assistants learnt as the on–line database keys used to identify locally collected plants in flower required experienced botanists to interpret. Only a little botanical experience was required as Kevin went through the basics of what the plant parts are – describing them with the actual plants that everyone had in their hand, drawing little pictures or using our new digital microscope to demonstrate. Everyone took home a scalpel and pair of tweezers so they could undertake their own dissecting at home in future – all they need is their own microscope or hand lens.

The afternoon field trip to Kensington bushland was equally instructive as Mike Hislop and Rob Davis assisted everyone in applying their knowledge in identifying and recognising plants in flower – and then amazed everyone by identifying plants that weren’t in flower – including such cryptic plants as Lomandras, Alexgeorgias and Amphipogons.

And if you don’t know what they are, better look out for the next Plant ID Workshop coming soon to a place near you.

 

Dr Eddy Wajon