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Update on Castlemaine Landcare Group plans for 2014, from Project Coordinator Robin Haylett
For the early months of 2014 Castlemaine Landcare group will be concentrating on areas of planting from last year which have struggled through the hot summer.  These plantings are not only under attack from the lack of rain but also have their guards knocked over by kangaroos and the exposed plants eaten by rabbits!  If they survive until Easter they then face the winter frosts.  You have to be tough to be an indigenous plant.
The March working bee on Sunday 30th March will feature an outdoor yoga session ahead of the working bee.  This will start promptly at 10am and take place alongside Moonlight Creek at the far end of Happy Valley.  Local Satyananda yoga teacher, Elaine Martin (Raseshwari), will conduct the session.
In May the group will be adding to the area of indigenous food and fibre plantings which were established last year in Happy Valley.
June will see a planting of local eucalypts in memory of Michael Kennedy, a Landcare supporter and long-time friend of Happy Valley who sadly died last year.
July is always a busy month for Landcare groups and this year will be no exception.  National Tree Day is on Sunday July 27th and the group will be planting alongside one of the waterholes it re-established in Happy Valley several years ago.  Each year this planting day attracts over 60 people and is a wonderful example of the community in action.  The Castlemaine Lions Club has teamed with us for many years to provide lunch for the willing workers.  So this is definitely a date for your diary.
Castlemaine Landcare Group has been in existence for 12 years and continues to carry out major vegetation restoration along Forest Creek.  Several members monitor water quality in the creek and provide ongoing data to the North Central Catchment Management Authority.  Others monitor bird activity in the valley.  The group has recently acquired a night-vision camera and this will be installed to monitor mammal activity.
During the year the group employ local contractors to help manage some of the more problematic weed areas.  This year a check will need to be put on the gorse re-growth which has benefitted from the dry summer.  Managing gorse is not only beneficial to the native plantings, but also a key strategy in reducing fire risk.  To this end the group also fund a grass slashing contractor each Spring.