During July 2017’s NAIDOC Week, Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Di Kerr provided a Welcome to Country for the big group of 60 people who came to a special Murnong Encounters evening put on by MECCARG (Merri and Edgars Creeks Confluence Area Restoration Group). Murnong, or PlainsYam Daisy, was a staple food for Wurundjeri people and Aunty Di has been closely involved in the local MECCARG project to revive and celebrate this vital food plant.
The MECCARG community was very proud to have Dr Beth Gott (on left in photo) lead the evening with a detailed account of Murnong, based on her long and distinguished career as an ethnobotanist.
This flourishing indigenous garden, planted in 2015 at Brunswick North West Primary School and named Yakai Barring in Woiwurrung language (meaning ‘surprise track’), is full of educational opportunities. After two years growth, the Poa labillardieri (Common Tussock-grass) was quite abundant, so in May 2017 students in Grades 1 & 2 harvested it. They noted that the soft flower heads had already dropped their seed and could understand how Wurundjeri got clues from nature to know the seasons and the right time of year to collect seed. Later, the 125 students examined water bugs, gazed at toy dalai wurrung (playtypus) and iuk (short finned eel) and made detailed observational drawings.
On National Eucalypt Day 2017 Merri Creek Management Committee staff showed students from Collingwood College and Kangan Institute’s Gunung Willam Balluk the three Eucalypt trees at the Merri Yarra Confluence that were scarred by Wurundjeri in 2016. The new marks provide fresh significance for understanding this very special place. The schools' excursions were supported by funding from Eucalypt Australia.
The original Merri-Yarra Biik project was supported by a Partnering for Sustainability grant from the City of Yarra. The project is summarised as a case-study on the City of Yarra website (Go to success stories towards the bottom of the page). Photo: Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Colin Hunter Jnr. inspires students from Collingwood College as he shows the recently scarred trees, March 2017.
A new group of volunteers will now be working on the last Wednesday morning of each month to help care for Merri Creek. You too can be part of it . No skills required, just a willingness to work!
The group will work with skilled Merri Creek Management Committee staff to undertake a range of tasks.
Depending on the time of year, activities could include:
Moreland Council has joined the community in calling for a parcel of VicRoads land by Merri Creek in Fawkner to be retained as public open space. The land is zoned Public Park & Recreation Zone (PPRZ) and is actively used by the community and wildlife. VicRoads has declared the land 'surplus' to its requirements; the majority of the land is headed for a rezoning before it is sold for residential development. Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) is calling on the state government to show leadership to protect the land, a vital part of the Merri Creek corridor.
Our new three minute film gives a snapshot of how Merri Creek Management Committee connects and communicates with local communities and celebrates local biodiversity.
We meet thousands of people every year keen to learn about and enjoy our local waterways and indigenous bidiversity. In any one year we are in contact with dozens of community groups and more than a hundred education institutions, from early childhood to tertiary, in nearby local places. We recognise the special role of Wurundjeri Traditional Owners when we work with community and school groups.
We thank the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal for their generous support in enabling us to produce this film. The Foundation also funded the Stepping Stones Around the Table event shown in the film. This roundtable connected diverse community participants with philanthropic organisations and opened eyes and ears to the types of projects that might be supported. Thanks also to our many funders over the years from the philanthropic, state and local government sectors. Many different organisations have helped us develop the creative engagement approaches shown in the film. Effective partnerships at work!
Find out more about our Environmental Education Programs.
During 2010 Catchment Programs at Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) received grants from The Ian Potter Foundation and The Council of Australian Museum Directors to develop and deliver programs to highlight Indigenous cultural heritage of the Merri Creek catchment.
The indigenous biodiversity that MCMC works to conserve is, for the Traditional Owners of this country, the Wurundjeri, inseparable from their ancestral stories. For example, the Wurundjeri Creation story features Bunjil and Waa (the Wedge-tailed eagle and Crow), fire, yams and a kangaroo skin bag. The story holds essential traditional clan knowledge about kinship, marriage partners and social responsibilities.
Through our Indigenous, Indigenous project we worked with old friends, made new friends and worked together in new ways. We visited wonderful creeks, grasslands, valleys and wetlands in the Merri catchment as well as Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka (the place of Bunjil). We found ways to get to know more about Indigenous cultural heritage and indigenous flora and fauna by spending time creatively. Together we printed indigenous plants, made paper Sacred Kingfishers, created banners, twined grasses, drew, dug and explored.
The following ‘movie’ tells a story of Indigenous cultural heritage and indigenous flora and fauna - Indigenous, Indigenous.
Our sincere thanks to the 54 donors to the Merri Creek Environment Fund 2016 Appeal who helped raise $11,350 for ongoing projects to improve the Merri. You can still donate to the Appeal.
Donations to the 2015 Appeal funded the recent Planting up the Gap community event on the Merri near Lorne St Fawkner on Sunday 14 August. An enthusiastic group enjoyed glorious weather while planting 450 indigenous grasses and shrubs to help bridge the habitat gap.
Our thanks also to our first Good2Give donor. This is a work place giving organisation which enables employees to make pre-tax donations to registered charities, such as MCMC, direct from their pay. Registered employers then match the employee donations. Is your workplace a member of Good2Give?
A big thanks to the Darebin City Council, which has decided to buy the approximately 1.8ha of Merri Creek frontage abutting the former Lakeside Secondary College. An offer of $270,000 will be made to the Victorian Education Department for the land. This is a great win for the environment as now the land, which includes Critically Endangered indigenous vegetation will be secure as public open space cared for by Darebin Council. This land forms part of the Merri habitat corridor as well as the Merri Shared Path. Thanks also to the many community members who agitated strongly for this.