Monday, 05 July 2021 11:35

Learning about Aboriginal culture

Over a dozen local children were happily absorbed making bush animals from straw and wool at Gunning Library on Friday 2nd July. Birds, echidnas, goannas, and a sugar glider were just some of the creatures that emerged from the children’s creativity. Ronnie Jordan and her son from Culture on the Move led the activity. Ronnie is a Kalkadoon Pitta Pitta woman who is a professional weaver and artist. She has delivered weaving and art workshops to government agencies, community groups and schools. 

Ronnie showed us some of her beautiful weaving, as well as a Coolamon made from Red Stringybark and a digging stick. She also spoke about Aboriginal culture and taught us some Ngunnawal words. We finished the session outside, playing ‘kal-ka-doon kee-an’ – which is based on a traditional Aboriginal game from north Queensland. The version we played involved throwing a tennis ball in a length of stocking, and aiming for target. You can find out more about the game here: https://www.sportaus.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/704847/kalkadoon_kee_an.pdf. The activity was made possible with funding from COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN through the Australia Government’s PHN Program.

This event was part of Gunning District Landcare’s School Holiday Program, which has involved a wide range of fun and educational activities during most school holidays since 2017. The activities are generally held at the Gunning Library, and we are ever grateful to library staff for being so welcoming and friendly (even when the activities create a bit of a mess!). If you would like to join the email list for future activities, please get in touch with Sonya on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0488 027 653.

On the cold frosty morning of Sunday 23rd May, a large and enthusiastic group gathered in the Gunning Shire Hall. We were there to learn more about the Mundoonen Nature Reserve and the Mates of Mundoonen Project. We got to hear from four excellent presenters:

  • • Ranger Susannah Power from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service gave an overview of the history and ecological values of the Mundoonen Nature Reserve, as well as other reserves in the area;
  • • Bob Spiller from Gunning District Landcare spoke about the monthly bird surveys that are being conducted in the Mundoonen Reserve this year with the expert help of volunteers from the Canberra Ornithologists Group. Happily, Bob was able to report on a number of sightings of the Spotted Quail-thrush which is a focus of the project;
  • • Ecologist Tony Saunders shared his expertise in attracting native birds to local landscapes, including both farms and gardens;
  • • ANU researcher Dr Karen Ford, gave a fascinating presentation about koala habitat and feeding ecology, and shared her insights about koalas in our region.

We were also delighted to invite surrounding landholders and community members to join the Mates of Mundoonen Network. This new network aims to increase community understanding of the wildlife and vegetation found in the Mundoonen NR and its surrounds. The more we know about this local treasure, the better will we be able to preserve it for current and future generations.By registering, you will receive: • invitations to upcoming events • opportunities to engage with and learn about the Mundoonen Nature Reserve • koala habitat trees or native shrubsto attract native birds • a Mates of Mundoonen front gate badge for your property. To register, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Debra on 0477 477 127.

Mates of Mundoonen is a WIRES funded project centred on the MNR and the surrounding district. The project is led by local Landcare groups from the Gunning and Yass districts. Its primary focus is on the koala and Spotted Quail-thrush.Its primary focus is on the koala and Spotted Quail-thrush.These two native animals have been residents of the reserve, but their numbers seem significantly reduced. We want to find out how they are faring – and do all we can to help keep them here for the future.

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Could there be any better way to spend a cold windy weekend than learning how to monitor for endangered Southern Pygmy Perch!? On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th May 2021, Gunning District Landcare held its second Southern Pygmy Perch monitoring training, led by fish scientist Mark Lintermans. A dozen highly engaged and committed participants learned the art of setting and checking bait nets, identifying the caught fish, recording all relevant data, and safely returning the fish to the water. We found a total of 12 Southern Pygmy Perch and 14 Mountain Galaxias in the sampled area, near Blakney Creek. This training is part of Gunning District Landcare's Local Action Plan for Southern Pygmy Perch.
 
A big thanks goes to Associate Professor Mark Lintermans, and everyone who participated. We were able to run this activity because of funding from the Communities Environment Program.
If you would like to get involved in future activities, please get in touch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Monday, 17 May 2021 14:09

Fungus Discovery Workshop

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On Sunday 2nd May, Gunning District Landcare hosted a fabulous workshop on fungi in Dalton, led by the amazing Alison Pouliot. Alison shared an enormous amount of information through stories, a beautiful specimen table and a walk in a nearby park. We have all come away with a far greater appreciation of the fascinating and important role that fungi plays in our ecosystems, in our culture, and some invaluable tips on how to approach fungi identification. The next evening, Alison was in Gunning to talk about her new co-authored book, Wild Mushrooming. She again had the audience hanging onto her every word - such is the fascination with fungi and her compelling delivery!

Thanks to everyone who participated and to Local Land Services for providing the funding through a Regional Land Partnerships grant.

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Weekend rain did not deter a group of committed and enthusiastic citizen scientists learning how to monitor for Southern Pygmy Perch in Meadow Creek, Gunning. Associate Professor Mark Lintermans, the freshwater scientist who discovered Southern Pygmy Perch in our region in the early 2000s, conducted the training. The budding scientists learned how to safely and effectively set bait traps on Saturday (13th March) afternoon. They returned the next morning to learn how to properly 'process' the nets - measuring and carefully recording all the fish that had been caught. As this was a simple training event we did not necessarily expect to catch much, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a Mountain Galaxia, plenty of Carp Gudgeon, oodles of little native shrimp, and more. After being counted and measured, all critters were returned to the creek. Associate Professor Mark Lintermans explained the whole process extremely well, and the team is looking forward to heading out to Blakney Creek in a month's time. If Gunning District Landcare is successful in obtaining a special license to monitor the endangered Southern Pygmy Perch, then we hope to monitor local waterways once or twice a year into the future.
Thanks to everyone for your positive engagement with this training. The event was funded by the Communities Environment Program.
Friday, 12 February 2021 11:52

Trail Camera Photo Competition

Gunning District Landcare is holding an exciting new competition.  Anyone can enter, and entry is free!

Take a photo using an automatic trail camera (we’ll lend you one if you don’t have your own), explain in 100 words or less the significance of the photo, and submit it to us by 5pm on Friday 15th October 2021.

A panel of judges will select the best photos for display at the Gunning Arts Festival at the end of October, and the winners will receive cash prizes of $100 each.  There’s even a “lucky door” prize – a high quality trail camera!

Please see the competition page here, or download the PDF here.

For more information, including how to borrow a Gunning District Camera trail camera, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 07:39

A stellar line-up of Life Members at our 2020 AGM

Gunning District Landcare (GDL) held its Annual General Meeting in Barbour Park on Sunday 15th November. It was a glorious day – sunny, warm and still – the perfect conditions to award Life Membership to John and Jan Weatherstone, and to formally embrace the Life Members of Jerrawa Creek Landcare Group (JCLG), one of the predecessors to GDL.

John and Jan Weatherstone are much loved members of our regional community. They have received widespread acclaim for their innovative management of Lyndfield Park, John’s family property. The shocking effects of drought in the early 1980s marked a turning point on Lyndfield Park, and the beginning of a new journey for the Weatherstones that focussed on revegetation and land regeneration. John was Vice President of Yass River Valley Revegetation Project and a founding member of Jerrawa Creek Landcare Group. The work of John and Jan Weatherstone has inspired many people around Australia to engage with sustainable land management. It is a great honour to include John and Jan as Life Members of GDL.

Mary and John Walsh were the first Life Members of JCLG, awarded in 2008. They were early and enthusiastic adopters of landcare, and their contribution was exceptional and long term. Both were JCLG committee members with Mary being a very effective president. John was particularly knowledgeable about trees and plants. 

Jan and Bill Granger were awarded Life Membership of JCLG in 2011. They were founding members and Jan had been a highly valued and long-serving Treasurer, reflected in her nomination for the Westpac Community Treasurer of the Year Award in 2007. Bill was a willing and invaluable contributor to many of the group’s activities. 

In 2013, Bob and Rosemary Spiller were also endorsed as Life Members of JCLG for their enormous contribution to the group, including Bob’s role as Secretary for many years. Bob was also awarded Life Membership of Gunning District Landcare in 2017 for his active and effective role in the newly formed group.

Janet Heffernan was awarded life membership of GDL in 2018 in recognition of the significant time and energy that she has put into numerous Landcare activities, most recently the efforts to conserve our local and endangered Southern Pygmy Perch.

To all our Life Members - we thank you for your important role in pioneering Landcare in our region and promoting sustainable land management.

We would also like to thank Deputy Mayor John Searl for helping to officiate our AGM, and the Lions Club of Gunning for a delicious BBQ lunch. The GDL committee looks forward to another year of supporting sustainable land management in the Gunning region.

Thursday, 06 February 2020 10:34

Close up with local reptiles

Thanks to everyone who came along to Gunning District Landcare's reptile school holiday in  mid January. The Upper Lachlan Shire Council Gunning Library was packed with enthusiastic children and parents/grandparents/carers. Andrew Melrose from Live Reptile Displays.com.au told us some great stories about reptiles. We learnt that Shingle Backs pair for life, and why some people call them 'Bog Eye Lizards'. We were also told how reptiles help to control pests, and how we can look after them, by looking after their habitat and not hurting or killing them. Everyone got to feel the skin of some wonderful species that occur locally - Blue Tongue and Blotched Blue Tongue, Shingle Back, Bearded Dragon (which one girl had sitting on her head!), Water Dragon. We also got to touch a baby saltwater croc and carpet snake from further afield. The turtles and goanna were other favourites. Many thanks to Bianca, Janet and Deb for helping out on the day!

Gunning District Landcare was announced the winner of the 2019 BCF ‘Give Back to Fish Habitat Award’ at the NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference in Broken Hill on 23rd October. Sonya Duus and Gillian Malcolm were at the event to receive the award on behalf of the group.

Gunning District Landcare received the award in recognition of its significant and on-going work to care for the endangered Southern Pygmy Perch in the Gunning region. In 2017, Gunning District Landcare commissioned Associate Professor Mark Lintermans (who originally found the species in the Gunning district in 2002) and Mr Luke Pearce from NSW Fisheries, to develop a Local Action Plan for Southern Pygmy Perch. The Action Plan lays out recommended actions to conserve the species and guides the Landcare group’s activities.  

Janet Heffernan has been a particularly active advocate for Southern Pygmy Perch within Gunning District Landcare. She has been the driving force behind activities such as teaching landholders how to establish aquatic plants in farm dams, as part of the refuge dam project for the endangered fish.

Associate Professor Mark Lintermans recently commented that he would like to see other Landcare groups following in the footsteps of the Gunning group, saying “This is a tough time for native fish that live in small streams. The on-going drought really hits them hard, as waterways dry up. Terrestrial environments obviously need attention, but these aquatic species are too often completely overlooked. They desperately need our help.”

Gunning District Landcare is now actively looking for funds to train local community members to monitor the species in local waterways, and to send some Southern Pygmy Perch to a special breeding facility to help build up their numbers.

Gunning District Landcare is deeply grateful to Ruth Aveyard from Upper Lachlan Landcare who nominated the group for the award.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 15:56

The Importance of Maintaining Groundcover

The final presenter in our 2019 series of evening seminars was Paul Hewitt, a sheep grazier from Grabben Gullen and co-facilitator of the Upper Lachlan Grazing Group. Paul spoke about the importance of maintaining groundcover and balanced decision making in grazing systems. He led us through a thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking slide show of concepts and examples. He advocated that land managers should be aiming to: retain groundcover; match stock numbers to the conditions; increase the diversity of plants and organisms; protect and improve soil health; regularly monitor farming practices and modify as necessary; and consider environmental, economic and emotional outcomes. Paul showed photos from his own property, which were testament to the effectiveness of his approach.  

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