Northern Nature Creek Connections Events
As a part of the Northern Nature Creek Connections project Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) has been involved in a number of community events and worshops. These include 'A Glimpse of the Nightlife', 'Fawkner Safaris' , 'Snakes, Bugs and Birds' , MCMC's first 'Frog Census Evening' and a series of 'Weed Workshops'. Scroll down for more information.
A Glimpse of the Nightlife
During October 2007 nocturnal animals around Merri Creek in Northcote and Edwardes Lake in Reservoir woke to the sound of music and chatter of unusually large numbers of people out at night. People were out and about in response to Darebin City Council’s invitation to join in two community Safety Night Strolls. These annual strolls extend people’s experience of public parks and their natural features. MCMC attended the evenings with information about local animals and free animal badges for walkers.
About 90 people joined in the Merri Creek Safe Stroll passing the Merri Park Wetlands Northcote on a very mild spring evening. Later in the week about 120 people attended the Edwardes Lake Safe Stroll, many wearing MCMC’s badges featuring dragon flies, brush tailed possums, echidnas and little pied cormorants which were observed in the twilight at Edwardes Lake, Reservoir. Locals, including attending police and fire brigades, were amazed at the variety of animals that live in and around Merri Creek and Edgar Creek (a tributary of the Merri).
The annual strolls provide a chance for the community to connect with local natural areas as well as each other. People talked of their encounters or sightings of local fauna and revealed their connection with these special areas.
Merri Creek Management Committee has had the pleasure of showing some Fawkner locals a few of the amazing natural secrets of their suburb. These Fawkner Safari tours are a great chance for groups of people who have been living in Fawkner for many years to step outside the urban landscape and be surrounded by natural open grasslands, ancient basalt escarpments and to get close to the winding valley of the Merri Creek.
Snakes, Bugs and Birds
Summer is a time for discovery and there is much to discover in your local grasslands. Merri Creek Management Committee held a special event at Central Creek Grassland, Reservoir for the students of the City of Darebin's School Holiday Program in January 2008.
The children were introduced to some of the grasslands most talked about creatures, including the snake! As the students got up close and personal with a variety of snakes they also learnt that snakes have no nose but can smell with their tongue! They don’t have eyelids, but protect their eyes with a clear scale, almost like a pair of glasses. Snakes can live on land or in water and, unlike birds, they hardly ever need to eat or drink. Students also looked at the waterbugs of Central Creek, which runs alongside the grassland and created their own Kingfisher birds (see photo)
The students all reported having a fabulous time as they stepped back on the bus armed with a snake kit full of information.
Merri Creek Management Committee's First Frog Census Evening
Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) held its first community frog census evening at Merri Park Wetlands in Northcote on Wednesday 9th of April 2008. We were joined by 40 members of the local community to listen to and discover the frogs that live in these seven year old ponds by Merri Creek. Frogs tell us about the environmental health of an area just by being there. As tadpoles they breathe through gills and as adults they have very permeable skin, therefore polluted surroundings would prevent them from creating a home. When several species of frog are heard in an area, it indicates a low level of pollutants.
The locals began the evening with supper and a chat about the wetland and the frogs that call it home. Some of the children discovered how the frog call for each species is very different, by practicing the calls themselves. We then all ventured into the depths of the wetland with torches in hand. We heard the Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera) (link to external website) in large numbers, which sounds quite like a group of crickets.
Invasive weeds are a big problem in areas of native vegetation. The work of skilled community groups is vital in helping to keep the weeds at bay in our treasured natural areas.
To help groups develop their skills in weed identification and weeding techniques, Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) has been running a series of weed workshops. Each workshop series consists of three or four in situ sessions to capture the seasonal variation in weed growth and to reinforce the learnings of earlier sessions. Workshops have been held with:
- Friends of Merri Creek and local residents at Merri Park wetland in Northcote. Click here (pdf) to see detailed Weed Management Notes for each of the four Ecological Vegetation Classes found at Merri Park wetland. Click here (pdf) for a Merri Park weeding brochure.
- Friends of Darebin Creek at Electric Spur, a remnant grassland area in Heidelberg.
- Friends of Edgars Creek on Edgars Creek in North Coburg where lots of revegetation of riparian and escarpment areas has recently taken place.
- Friends of Strathnaver Grassland Reserve in Strathmore
- South Alphington & Fairfield Civic Association at the Alphington wetland
Weed workshops have also been held with Friends of Wallan Creek in the Wallan Community Park.
If you're interested in learning about weeds and want to get your hands dirty (gloves recommended) check out the Merri events calendar on this website or get in touch with any of the above groups.