Gunning District Landcare has a passion for our local endangered Southern Pygmy Perch, and we have been working towards the conservation of the species over many years. 

A survey of Oolong Creek in December 2021 found good numbers of Southern Pygmy Perch living there, which has refocussed our efforts in the area. It has led to a partnerehip with OzFish Unlimited, as well as DPI Fisheries, fish scientist Mark Lintermans, local landholders and the community to undertake habitat enhancement.

One of the first actions is woody weed removal from near Fossil Park in Dalton. Funds have been provided by Local Land Services via Upper Lachlan Shire Council. The OzFish River Repair Bus will be undertaking the work, beginning at the end of February 2023. Volunteers are invited to get involved! Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to lend a hand. 

Gunning District Landcare is excited to be involved in the latest search for Koalas in the Mundoonen Nature Reserve, working alongside NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and ACT Parks and Conservation.

In early December 2022 we helped to put out 'song meters' throughout Mundoonen Nature Reserve, which will hopefully pick up the Koala calls if they are indeed living there. These recordings will be analysed later this summer - if anyone would like to help out, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The last confirmed sighting of a Koala in Mundoonen Nature Reserve was 2005.

Gunning District Landcare has a passion for our local endangered Southern Pygmy Perch, and has been working towards the conservation of the species over many years. 

On Friday 25th November, Vice-Chair Janet Heffernan and Coordinator Sonya Duus got to tell GDL's story of caring for Southern Pymy Perch at the 'Fishers for Fish Habitat' forum in Newcastle, organised by OzFish Unlimited. It was a fabulous opportunity to meet like-minded folk and to learn about the many and varied projects that are protecting and enhancing fish habitat along the coast as well and throughout the inland waterways.

Gunning District Landcare are partnering with OzFish, as well as DPI Fisheries, fish scientist Mark Lintermans, local landholders and the community to undertake habitat enhancement on Oolong Creek, where Southern Pygmy Perch are known to be living. 

Tuesday, 06 December 2022 13:00

Gunning Scouts planting for the future

Little champions! Thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of Gunning's Joeys, Cubs and Scouts, 75 native trees were planted at the Gunning Showground bush block one evening in early November 2022. 
The tubestock included several eucalyptus species, two wattles that flower at different times of the year, drooping sheoak and sweet bursaria. All species are appropriate for the endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland ecology that is already present at the block.
In preparation for the planting, we had Mavller Landscaping create a weed-free patch at each location and auger 300mm holes.
This project has been made possible with funding from the Australian government’s Planting Trees for the Queen’s Jubilee program.

Seventy-five native trees have been planted in the Gunning Showground bush block, as part of a project funded jointly through Gunning District Landcare and the Australian Government’s Planting Trees for The Queen’s Jubilee Program. Last Saturday a ceremony to dedicate the planting to the plantinum jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was held in the Gunning Shire Hall, attended by councillors John Searl, Susan Reynolds and Lauren Woodbridge. Community representatives from Gunning were also in attendance, along with Landcare members and visitors. Councillor John Searl presented a eucalyptus seedling to the Chair of Gunning District Landcare, John Storey.

The 2.2 ha bush block includes large sections of Box Gum Grassy Woodland, a critically endangered ecological community. Unfortunately, only a few percent of the land area originally made up of Box Gum Grassy Woodland remains, and most of it is fragmented and sparsely dispersed across south-east Australia. We are fortunate indeed to have a significant area of this vegetation within our village.

We are grateful that the Shire Hall was made freely available for the event by Upper Lachlan Shire Council.


Friday, 11 November 2022 13:42

2022 AGM & General Meeting

It was wonderful to finally get people together for GDL's Annual General Meeting (AGM) and General Meeting this year, after the last couple of years when COVID made such gatherings difficult. These back-to-back events were held on Saturday 5th November at the Gunning Shire Hall, and culminated in a delicious sausage sizzle provided by the Lions Club of Gunning.

The AGM was deliberately brief. Local Councillor John Searl expertly officiated the nomination process and all the executive positions for 2023 are filled by the same people as last year: John Storey remains as Chair, Janet Heffernan as vice-Chair, Scott Keyworth as Secretary and Susan Medway as Treasurer. Matthew Streat and Nerida Hart remain as general committee members. We got to acknowledge Bob Spiller, who served on the committee last year but who will not be returning this year. Bob has played a pivotal role in Landcare in the district over many years, and we look forward to his continuing involvement in projects such as Feral Fox Fighters and Mates of Mundoonen. The committee currently has one casual vacancy for a general committee member and we welcome anyone who would like to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more. 

The General Meeting was an opportunity to showcase some of the projects that GDL is currently involved with. Three relevant and locally produced short films were screened - Feral Fighters (about coordinated fox baiting), Finding Nanno (about endangered Southern Pygmy Perch in the Gunning district), and Yass Habitat Linkage: The Value of Photos (which celebrates connectivity plantings in the region). The Chair then provided an over-view of all the other GDL projects before inviting questions and feedback. 

We would like to thank Upper Lachlan Shire Council for making the Shire Hall freely available for these events.

Located in the south-west corner of the century-old Gunning Showgrounds, the bush block is a 2.2 ha area of mixed vegetation that includes sections of endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland. With the support of Council and the Showground s355 Committee, Gunning District Landcare has just received funding from the Australian government for rubbish removal, site preparation and to plant a number of native tree species.

Box Gum Grassy Woodland is a threatened ecological community. It is estimated that only a few percent of the land area originally represented by this community remains, and most of it is fragmented and sparsely dispersed across south-east Australia. We are fortunate to have a space within the village of Gunning that contains this kind of vegetation, the only such ecological community within 2.5km. In many cases, fauna needs to be able to move from one remnant to another. The Showground bushland represents an important link in this connectivity chain and, significantly, is a rare example of this endangered ecosystem within the heart of a village.


This project received funding from the Australian Government’s Planting Trees for The Queen’s Jubilee Program, and represents the first step towards preserving and enhancing the existing habitat.

More details will be published as the project progresses, and community engagement is particularly welcomed. For more information, contact Sonya at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wednesday, 20 July 2022 09:06

Strategically planning for 2022-2025

Gunning District Landcare has recently reviewed and updated our strategic plan through to 2025. You can check out the document here.

The GDL committee reviewed and updated the previous strategic plan with input from our members. We have refined the Mission Statement, and updated our goals, strategic focus and planned activities.

A significant addition is the goal to ‘Respond effectively to climate change’. We recognise that our response to the challenge of climate change should include both mitigation and adaption, striving to achieve a carbon-neutral future while adapting farming and land management to better suit the hotter and more extreme climate yet to come.

We maintain the goal of engaging effectively with our local community which includes all residents, landholders and other community groups. Importantly, we aim to build stronger connections with Aboriginal people and groups in our area.

This renewed plan will help to focus our projects and activities so that we continue to make a positive impact on our environment and community.

Download GDL’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan to find out more.

In late May and early June 2022, Gunning District Landcare organised two mesh cutting sessions as part of the Paddock Tree Project.

Heavy duty steel mesh finally arrived after a national shortage, and we didn't waste any time in getting it cut up into tree guards and handed out to our participating landholders! There were 18 participating landholders who received between 5 and 24 trees and guards. About one third were 'sheep' guards standing 1.2m high, and the remainder were 'cattle/horse' guards, standing 1.65m high.

In total, 276 protected trees will be planted under this project - helping to replace the old and dying paddock trees that serve a vital role in our landscape's ecology

As well as the tree guards, participants received paddock tree seedlings and weed mats. Yass Landcare Nursery supplied the tubestock of 5 different eucalypt species (Yellow Box - E. mellidora, Blakely's Red Gum - E. blakelyi, Apple Box - E. bridgesiana, White Box - E. albens, and Red Box - E. polyanthemos).

There is quite an art to safely and efficiently cutting up the heay duty mesh, and we are grateful for guidelines prepared by Upper Lachlan Landcare, and the YouTube instructional video from Hovells Creek Landcare. 

A big thanks goes to our participating landholders as well as Susan and Janelle Medway, John Storey and Janet Heffernan who made it such a smooth operation.

Local Land Services provided the funding for this project, which enabled us to offer the subsidised trees and guards to our participants.


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Trail cameras are a wonderful way to discover who you are sharing your block of land with – be it feral pests or some of Australia’s unique bird and animal species.  However, they’re designed to look at large creatures and give disappointing results on small birds and animals.  Moving the camera too close to the target (be it food, or a hole in a fence, or a water bowl) only results in a fuzzy picture as the cameras have a fixed focus that is set for objects a few metres away.


Fortunately, reading glasses work the same way on cameras as they do on people.  So, taking one lens from a cheap (less than $10) pair of glasses and attaching it over the camera lens with Blu-Tack is all that’s needed to bring the focus in closer.


Reading glasses come in a range of “strengths”, denoted by the dipotre (D).  This is usually printed on the frames or on a small removable sticker.  Attached in front of a camera that was originally designed to focus on distant objects, the lens from the reading glasses will place the focal point of the camera at a distance from the camera (in metres) equal to 1/D.  So, for commonly available glasses,


D             New focus position

+1           1 metre

+2           0.5 metre

+3            33cm

+4           25cm




A few tips

* The cheapest glasses with plastic frames have the lenses glued in place. They are difficult to remove without some violence. For a few dollars more, metal-framed glasses come with lenses that will pop out under strong pressure from a thumb.


* It does not matter if the lens partially covers the infrared illumination LEDs of the camera.


* However, if the lens is too large it might prevent the camera door from opening. The plastic lens can be cut down to size with a small saw such as a Dremel.


* The “depth of field”, or range of distances over which focus is maintained, becomes smaller as the power of the lens increases. A +3 dipotre lens will create a depth of field of only a few cm, requiring careful placement of the camera relative to the subject.




All photos by the author.  The small animal pictured above is a yellow-footed antechinus, or mardo (Antechinus flavipes), taken through a +3 lens attached to a Browning trail camera.


John Storey,

Gunning District Landcare

21 Feb 2022

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