Do you ever wonder what MCMC is doing about climate change? Planting thousands of trees for carbon uptake? Like everyone, we have considered how we might change our work to minimise carbon dioxide levels. MCMC is purchasing wind generated electricity, ensuring energy efficiency is maximised and many staff ride to work (see photo of the Ride to Work Day 2007). However, our strongest impact on mitigating the effects of climate change may result from doing what we have always done: revegetation and restoration of remnants along Merri waterways.
Improving habitat corridors will strengthen the resilience capacity of the wildlife populations and help flora and fauna to survive in a rapidly changing environment.
In spring, Merri Creek parkland’s role as a habitat corridor becomes very apparent. September saw the return of summer breeding species such as Brown and Rufous Songlarks, Cuckoos (Horsefield’s, Pallid and Fan-tailed), White-winged trillers, Rufous Whistlers and Olive-backed Orioles. Birds on passage to breeding areas further south such as the Blue-winged parrots were noticed following the open spaces. Also, inland birds seek refuge from drought during spring, including White-browed Woodswallows. We are likely to see more birds seeking areas of relatively moist environments where they can survive until conditions improve.
Along the Merri, habitat corridors are usually strengthened by establishing as much of the original vegetation cover as is practical. Habitat corridors can also be strengthened by providing habitat refuge in the urban surrounds. Consider the following to make your garden a welcoming ‘stepping stone’ for travelling wildlife:
· Migrating and vagrant wildlife are at increased risk from predators as they will be unfamiliar with safe hiding spots. Providing dense shrubberies that can provide refuge from local birds of prey is helpful for the vulnerable visitors.
· Cat containment can also make our suburbs less hostile to moving animals.
· Planting indigenous plants that foster plentiful insect life is very important. Gardens dominated by nectar-bearing Grevilleas, gums and Banksias will encourage an over-abundance of tough resident Honeyeaters that give migrant species a hard time.
Versatile indigenous species that will foster insect life and look great in the garden include Sweet Bursaria, Tree Violet and Lightwood. These also provide blossom, berries and seed in summer when migrant species are often present.
Photo: Most of the MCMC staff who rode to work on National Ride to Work Day, 17 October 2007 (four other riders are missing from the photo).