Working out how to deal with environmental weeds can be a real challenge. Living Links has been pleased to support Dr. Graeme Lorimer of Biosphere Pty Ltd to develop a series of educational videos to steer people in the right direction.

The first video provides some really helpful ecological concepts for assessing the seriousness of an environmental weed problem and how it will respond to your actions. The second video shows you how use that knowledge, along with other information, to prioritise environmental weed problems. That’s important to make your efforts and resources really count.

The videos can be found on our Educational Resources page.

The videos are mostly directed to people in Victoria, Australia but the ecological concepts are relevant much more widely.

Further reading:–

– about the role of disturbance: Fox M.D. & Fox B.J. (1986). The susceptibility of natural communities. pp. 57-66 in R.H. Groves and J.J. Burdon eds., Ecology of biological invasions: an Australian perspective. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra.

– about ecological drivers and passengers: Pulsford S.A., Lindenmayer D.B. & Driscoll D.A. (2014). A succession of theories: purging redundancy from disturbance theory. Biological Reviews 91: 148–167.

– about Sweet Pittosporums: O’Leary B., Burda M., Venn S.E. & Gleadow R. (2018). Integrating the Passenger-Driver hypothesis and plant community functional traits to the restoration of lands degraded by invasive trees. Forest Ecology and Management 408: 112–120.SHOW LESS

We are very excited to announce the commencement of a new project to create an Aboriginal arts trail along the Dandenong Creek over the next two years. In partnership with Living Links, the City of Greater Dandenong has secured a $150,000 grant from health promotion foundation VicHealth to create the arts trail. Working closely with Aboriginal Peoples and the broader community, the project will co-create seven place-based public artworks along a 22km section of the Dandenong Creek Trail between Heathmont and Dandenong. This will build on the success of the stunning ‘Spreading the Message’ artwork completed by Aboriginal artist Ian Harrison at Tirhatuan Park (Dandenong North) in April 2020.

Spreading the Message, created by Ian Harrison at Tirhatuan Park, Dandenong North

The arts trail project was motivated by a desire to:

  • foster a deep sense of connection to place, nature and community, improving health and wellbeing of participants and trail visitors;
  • draw inspiration from traditional Aboriginal cultural values whilst also weaving in and celebrating the perspectives and values of our contemporary multicultural community; and
  • increase use and appreciation of the Dandenong Creek Trail, creating a regional attraction that provides health and wellbeing benefits to all users.

The project is currently still in the early planning stages, with the crucial first step being to consult closely with Aboriginal Peoples about their ideas and aspirations for the project. In due course there will be opportunities for the broader community to get involved, so stay tuned for further updates.

The Dandenong Creek Arts Trail is one of 7 initiatives that will share in over $1 million in funding as part of VicHealth’s Everyday Creativity grants (follow the link to learn about the other projects being supported). The program is designed to promote health and wellbeing at the local level through participation in arts and culture.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio says creative new projects like the Dandenong Creek Arts Trail are designed to increase access for communities to encourage more people participate in and benefit from our arts, cultural and creative sectors.

“Regular arts and cultural engagement mean better health outcomes, but unfortunately opportunities to engage in arts, cultural and creative experiences are not evenly distributed. Many people in our community face significant and complex barriers to participation,” Dr Demaio said.

“In the midst of coronavirus (COVID-19), it is more important than ever to support our community to feel socially connected and included.

“We are proud of these new partnerships that can ensure cultural, physical and systematic barriers to good health are addressed and diminished so more Victorians live healthier lives.”


Together with our six partner councils (Maroondah, Knox, Whitehorse, Monash, Greater Dandenong and Casey), Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water, we’ve been working to transform the Dandenong Creek corridor into a world-class urban Living Link over the past four years. This has involved restoring habitat for wildlife in this important corridor, as well as making it a more beautiful place for people to enjoy.

The project was due to wind up in June 2020, but due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, has now been extended until December 2020. The vast majority of works are already complete, including environmental works at 37 out of 38 priority sites, and 90 community events that have involved more than 5,500 participants so far.

In 19/20, we achieved a total of 15.6 hectares of revegetation and 14.1 hectares of new (and 70.24 ha ongoing) weed control, as well as 2 ha litter removal. 18 nesting hollows installed in previous years were also monitored. We also ran a 33 commuity events, including 15 site preparation/planting days, 2 litter clean-up events, 8 sessions of Wayapa in the Park and 6 other educational events, including the Wild Pollinator Discovery Day. In total, these events engaged 2083 participants, providing 3517.5 volunteer hours. In addition, 27 citizen science surveys were completed throughout the year, comprising 25 frog surveys and 2 bird surveys. Another key achievement in 2019-20 was the completion of the ‘Spreading the Message‘ art project by Indigenous artist Ian Harrison. With these achievements, we have now substantially exceeded all of the original project targets.

The next few months will see the delivery of some exciting final activities for the project. We will deliver the Wild by Nature Film Festival with our partners at Remember the Wild, an online forum on using Indigenous burning practices in urban areas in partnership with Trust for Nature, and a documentary on the eels of the Dandenong Creek with the First Friends of Dandenong Creek and Remeber the Wild. We are also supporting the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation to undertake a cultural activity to create a ‘Message Tree’ (like a scar tree).

We would like to thank all of our wonderful delivery partners for their fantastic work so far, the community for their enthusiastic involvement, and the Victorian Government for funding this $1M project through their Our Catchments, Our Communities initiative.

Learn more about the Transforming the Dandenong Creek project.

With the recent refresh of the Living Links Coordination Committee, we’re delighted to welcome a new member, Judith Sise. Judith will be officially representing the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, but this is only one of the many environmental groups and activities she’s involved with. Below, we asked her some questions to get to know her better:

Which group/organisation(s) are you representing?

I am a Committee Member of the Field Naturalist Club of Victorian (FNCV), which has nine Special Interest Groups across Victoria. I am also active in a number of environmental groups in the Dandenong and Kingston areas, including as President of Friends of Braeside Park and Secretary of Greater Dandenong Environment Group. I’m also on the Greater Dandenong Council Sustainability and Climate Change Advisory Committee. I volunteer with Parks Victoria, in two indigenous nurseries and I do Waterwatch at Dandenong Creek and Braeside wetlands.

For the past 25 years I’ve been working an environmental science educator. I currently work as a teacher at Lyndale Greens Primary School in Dandenong North, where I’ve led a range of environmental initiatives to help the kids learn about and connect to nature.

What are your main roles/activities that are helping to protect/enhance nature across Melbourne’s southeast?

Personally, I have done long-term recording of fauna and flora, lead Nocturnal and Spring Walks, and grown and planted indigenous flora, but I feel my role in all groups is to engage the community with their local natural world.

There are two well-known sayings that sum it up. David Attenborough said, ‘No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” The Lorax said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

What do you most enjoy about this work? What is most challenging?

My fascination with nature is lifelong, and I enjoy sharing this. It is challenging to live in this time of unprecedented population growth.  Australians and their governments view their country as good for human play, exercise, building, burning, mining or dumping.

Why do you like spending time in nature?

What else is life?

Do you have a special place to connect with nature nearby?

Braeside Park is two minutes from my house. It has been my oasis for twenty-five years, and is as threatened as any wetlands in the Galilee Basin.

Judith (left) with Kirstine Oh from the City of Greater Dandenong, at the 2019 Discover Dandenong Creek Festival

Living Links is delighted to have sponsored the creation of a brand new public artwork along the Dandenong Creek Trail. ‘Spreading the Message’, as the artwork is known, was recently completed by local Indigeous artist Ian Harrison, who is associated with ‘The Gathering Place’ in Doveton. The idea for ‘Spreading the Message’ was inspired by a project of the same name by the G21 Geelong Regional Alliance, which produced a fantastic resource booklet that we referred to.

Located at Tirhatuan Park, Dandenong North, the artwork features eight large tree trunks that were salvaged from unavoidable tree clearing operations throughout the City of Greater Dandenong. These have now been given “new life” through detailed paint work. Each of the eight ‘totem poles’ has it’s own unique colour, design and story, although some key themes weave through them all, including symbols for water, campsite, men, women and animals.

Artist Ian Harrison
(Photo: Hilton Stone, HAS Media)

Ian works mainly in paint, but also dabbles in wood burning. His art is inspired by a desire to share culture, particularly with young people. ‘Spreading the Message’ was his first outdoor public artwork and he has found it to be a really positive experience.

“I’d often go there in the evenings to work on the paintings. Sometimes I’d be there until dark. It was so nice and quiet there, nice to sit there and hear the birds. It was good.”

Ian has a long connection to Tirhatuan Park, having worked as a mowing contractor there around 20 years ago. He said it was a very different experience coming back as an artist. During the eight weeks it took to complete the artwork, Ian said he often had passers-by stopping to have a look, chat and take photos.

The project was coordinated by Phoenix Wolfe, Conservation Projects Officer at the City of Greater Dandenong, and he couldn’t be happier with the result.

“There’s so much good feedback coming back from the community!” he said. “Whenever I’ve been out there, almost everyone who walks past comments on how much they love it; that it brings colour to the park, and that they’re pleased to see Aboriginal culture being represented in our parklands.”

“Dandenong is very lucky to have this artwork at Tirhatuan Park. Many people will come to see it – it’s going to be a destination in itself.” he concluded.

‘Spreading the Message’ was originally scheduled to be launched at the ‘Discover Dandenong Creek Festival’ on 2nd April, which was cancelled due to the current global situation. However, we are hoping to reschedule the festival and the launch to spring or early summer. Please sign up for our email updates to stay up to date.

In the meantime, we hope the photos below provide an enjoyable introduction to this fantastic new artwork:

The newly-installed salvaged tree trunks, prior to painting.
The finished artwork (security fence still to be removed and ground to be planted with Indigenous native plants).
Another view of the finished artwork.
Detail on one of the totem poles.
Detail on one of the totem poles.
Detail on one of the totem poles.

This project was delivered by the City of Greater Dandenong with a grant through our Living Links ‘Transforming the Dandenong Creek corridor‘ project (funded by the Victorian Government).

Membership of the Living Links Coordination Committee is renewed every three years, as per our Charter. The current Committee term is due to expire 30 June 2020. We are now seeking nominations for the new Committee, for the period Jul 2020 – Jun 2023. Current members are encouraged to re-apply, but new nominations are also welcome.

The Living Links Committee aims to comprise a mix of relevant skills from the local community and major Living Links stakeholders. This includes representatives from public land managers and regional-level community/interest groups (e.g. those with interests in outdoor recreation, environment and natural resource management). The PPWCMA Board will make the final decision regarding the new appointments.

Further information about Living Links governance, Committee responsibilities, and a list of current members can be found here.

To nominate for a position on the new Living Links Coordination Committee, please download the form below and return to the email address provided. The latest Living Links Coordination Committee Charter is also provided. Please submit your nomination by Friday 22 May.

Please direct any questions to the Living Links Coordinator, Sarah Maclagan, at sarah.maclagan@ppwcma.vic.gov.au or 8781 7900.

Here in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, we’re just coming into the autumn-winter planting season, when the vast majority of our revegetation work is scheduled for best success. Thousands of indigenous plants have been grown and are now ready for planting. But with community planting days cancelled and the usual army of volunteers unable to participate, how are all those precious plants going to make it into the ground?

This question is being pondered by land managers right across the region and beyond. Many are doubling down their efforts and doing the best they can with the resources they have, and we salute their amazing commitment and dedication to this important work.

It’s also fantastic to see creative new solutions emerging. In the City of Greater Dandenong, for example, parking inspectors have been re-deployed as a tree-planting crew! Given they don’t currently have much of their normal work to do, this is not only keeping them employed, it’s also ensuring crucial revegetation work stays on track. And it sounds like they’re quite enjoying this new (and very different!) work. Environmental Engagement Officer, Kirstine Oh (pictured) said that many of them have expressed surprise at how many beautiful reserves there are in the municipality, and that they’re loving spending time in nature.

What a great outcome for everyone involved!

Environmental Engagement Officer, Kirstine Oh, doing revegetation work with some of the re-deployed parking inspectors.

Congratulations to River Gum Primary School in Hampton Park, which has been selected as our 2020 Living Links Ambassador School!

With help from our program, students will transform a disused area of the schoolyard into a “mini nature reserve” where local flora and fauna can thrive.

Students will have control (with teacher oversight) of the layout of the nature reserve, the choice of suitable native plants, and the inclusion of fauna-attracting features such as ponds, nesting boxes for native bees and birdlife. They will prepare and plant the area using seeds and forestry tubes, and study the needs of plants in order to control invasive weeds while encouraging desirable plants.

With teacher oversight, students will also take responsibility for installing features (e.g. a rainwater tank, a solar-powered water pump) that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.  

This project will give the students a real-world project to practice core curriculum skills such as reading, measuring and researching. It will also make a wonderful contribution to the Living Links’ vision of “creating a web of green spaces where people and nature connect”.

The program will culminate with the students attending and presenting at the Melbourne Water Kids Teaching Kids conference, which has been moved to December.

Although the children are currently being schooled from home, we hope they can use this time to start researching so they can be ready to hit the ground running once they return to school.

We look forward to seeing how this fantastic project unfolds over the year ahead!

Click here to find out more about the Living Links Ambassador School Program.

Our four-year project to transform the Dandenong Creek corridor into a world-class urban Living Link is now on the home strait, finishing up by the end of June. Together with our six partner councils (Maroondah, Knox, Whitehorse, Monash, Greater Dandenong and Casey), Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water we’ve been working at 40 priority sites to habitat for wildlife in this important corridor, as well as making it a more beautiful place for people to enjoy.

Environmental works have now been completed at 32 sites, with the rest due for completion in the next few months. Between July and December 2019, these works included 71.3 hectares of weed control (8.2ha new and 63.1ha ongoing), 4.6 hectares of revegetation to fill ‘gaps’ in the corridor. During the same six-month period, the project also ran 16 community events that engaged 1519 people. These included two large National Tree Day plantings and the Wild Pollinator Discovery Day where 70 participants learned about native pollinators and made their own native ‘bee hotel’ to take home. Throughout January, we also ran the Wayapa in the Park series, where participants got a taste of the connection that Aboriginal people feel for the natural world around them through gentle movements, visualisation and meditation.

In the final few months of the project, we will deliver the third Discover Dandenong Creek Festival, the Wild by Nature Film Festival, an Indigenous art project, and a range of other exciting community events and activities.

We would like to thank all of our wonderful delivery partners for their fantastic work so far, the community for their enthusiastic involvement, and the Victorian Government for funding this $1M project through their Our Catchments, Our Communities initiative.

Learn more about the project here.

Each year, Living Links supports one primary or secondary school located within the Dandenong Creek catchment to undertake a project relating to the Living Links program vision of “Creating a web of green spaces where people and nature connect”.

The objectives of the Living Links Ambassador School Program are:

  • Create long-lasting connections of students to the importance of urban environments
  • Allow students to explore local environmental issues affecting their school and local community
  • Promoting innovative learning that fosters environmental stewardship
  • Promoting an awareness of the Living Links Program

Examples of projects may include:

  • Revegetation and habitat enhancement
  • Urban Ecology
  • Litter
  • Urban Greening
  • Connecting people to nature
  • Water Quality
  • Community engagement
  • Recreation
  • Waterway health

What does the Ambassador School receive?

  • A $2,000 grant to develop and implement their project including materials and equipment that may be needed
  • Mentor support from the Living Links Committee
  • Sponsorship to attend the 2019 Kids Teaching Kids Conference
  • A Stormwater Incursion from Swinburne University
  • A Living Links Ambassador Schools sign to display

Timeline

  • February 2020 – Applications open
  • 31 March 2020 – Applications close
  • April 2020 – Applications assessed, applicants notified of outcome
  • 20 April 2020 – Successful school commences project in Term 2
  • October 2020 – Melbourne Water Kids Teaching Kids Conference
  • November 2020 – School presents to Living Links Committee and is awarded Living Links Ambassador School sign

Eligibility

The Living Links Ambassador Schools program is open to primary or secondary schools within the Dandenong Creek catchment. Please see our map to check whether you are within the catchment.

Application form

Please download the application form below and submit via email to sarah.maclagan@ppwcma.vic.gov.au.

Further information

For further information please contact the Living Links Coordinator, Sarah Maclagan, at sarah.maclagan@ppwcma.vic.gov.au or phone 8781 7943.

22 October 2020
Working out how to deal with environmental weeds can be a real challenge. Living...
2 September 2020
We are very excited to announce the commencement of a new project to create an Aboriginal...
1 September 2020 - 31 October 2020
It’s spring! See the magpies swoop and chase. Tell us who is visiting your...
8 November 2020 - 15 November 2020
Australia has lots of wild pollinator insects that are often overlooked. European...