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This online newsletter now replaces our other style of newsletter and keeps Land For Wildlife members and interested others up to date with the latest news.

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Thanks once again to our great Wildlife artist Jasmine Jan for the wonderful painting (above). As the rain starts to fall and the waterways fill our aquatic wildlife comes back to abundant life.

F O L L O W Land for Wildlife Top End on F A C E B O O K
Land for Wildlife Top End Website

Top Notes

 

The Land for Wildlife Top End Newsletter.
 

December 2015

So at last the rains are coming down and a whole other lease of life is flushing into our landscapes as they hum with the sounds of growth and abundance.

 

Land for Wildlife is forever growing with new enthusiastic members, well attended workshops and a new initiative of "Member Lead Wildlife Walks" that encourage different members to invite others to see the land they are caring for and hear about their land management techniques, their observations of the landscape and stories, from their own angle.

In 6 months we have welcomed 10 new members, renewed one member with a new assessment and rolled over one membership to new landholders. We have run a "Wildlife Encounters" workshop, with a focus on mammals and "An Introduction to Bird Watching" in Bird Week, in partnership with The Territory Wildlife Park. LFW member Andrew Spiers lead a guided walk and talk of his Darwin River property with a focus on birds.

We have also asked  our members what they think of the LFW program and where improvements or additions can be made in the form of a survey. We will use the results to do our best to provide a worthwhile program to our members
.

Weeds and working with neighbours seem to always be the most difficult two issues when talking to LFW members.  In response we plan to hold a "Weeds" workshop in January/February with case studies from members and we will keep you posted with a fixed date.

Many members have expressed concerns with new developments in the rural area and the effect this can have on wildlife, specifically in decreasing their habitats; we have included some useful links in a short article in the newsletter and will ad further information in our website.


As the Top End population expands and subdivision of previously undeveloped land continues it is increasingly important for land holders to manage their land for wildlife habitat. Land for Wildlife membership shows a commitment to conserving habitat and  we would like to thank all our members for being caretakers for our country, whether in a small pocket or over a large area.


 




 
If any members or friends of LFW have any queries, feedback or would like any assistance in relation to the program, please feel free to get in touch via the contacts below.

Have a fantastic monsoon break, enjoy the rain and the new life and inspiration it brings;



Emma Lupin, Land for Wildlife Top End coordinator. 
Phone 08 8947 3793
Mobile 0448 214 716
Email  elupin@greeningaustralia.org.au


Discussions on Social Media.

Not only does Land for Wildlife Top End have a Facebook Page  https://www.facebook.com/landforwildlifetopend/?fref=ts

there is also a Facebook group. We hope this is a place where members and friends of LFW, can post questions, events and stories all about Wildlife and Land Management in the region. I know not everyone is on Facebook, but this seemed the easiest platform to host a forum. Please join up and let others know, the more members the better the discussion. https://www.facebook.com/groups/422587457881420/?fref=ts

There is also the web page; to navigate to these, you can simply follow the tabs at the top of the newsletter! Feedback is always gratefully accepted!
 

Here are just a few of our new members who have joined up in the last 6 months...

The Miniter family moved from Western Australia in 2014 when they fell in love with the Top End. They moved onto a beautiful 8.8 hectare (22 acre) block in the Noonamah area which spans across the Elizabeth River.  80% of the block has been left as remnant vegetation and has stunning riverine vegetation in the flood zone and even some of our special Sand Sheet landscape with a thick covering of Dapsalanthus (and  I am sure in wetter months a stunning array of flowers). Once the property was used for horses but slowly the family is taking down fences and a large area including the river floodplain is unfenced.  There are only a few spots of weeds, including a very small amount of Gamba grass which the family is focusing on getting rid of. The Miniter's work in the area, love the rural lifestyle, and enjoy observing the wildlife, peacefulness and space. They joined LFW as they are keen to learn more about the native plants, animals and systems, their only concerns are that nearby areas of The Elizabeth River will be developed too intensively. There are now several 15- 20 acre Land for Wildlife properties that include this stretch of the Elizabeth River.
Jaqui Rawles joined Land for Wildlife in the middle of the year and lives on her property at Darwin River. The block used to be a chicken farm and she bought it 12 years ago, slowly built a house and now lives with her family there permanently. More than half of the block was cleared  but the seasonally wet woodland vegetation is slowly regenerating itself without too much help. Jaqui and her family are managing it to be the best wildlife habitat it can be. A huge array of bird species, lizard and frogs inhabit the landscape. Most of the other properties are uncleared native woodland but their biggest challenge is a large agricultural property which has a lot of Gamba grass that is not well managed - a common problem for many!
 
Sean and Johanna Stieber  signed their beautiful Humpty Doo property up to Land for Wildlife. This is a wonderful 8.9 hectare (20 acre) block which has not had any fire on it for at least 30 years.  There is great diversity of species with a huge variety of  trees of all ages making up all the layers of the woodland and less than a handful of grassy weeds. Over 90% of the property has been left as wildlife habitat and at least half of the property is rarely visited by humans or pets, only for a little weed work. Sean and Johanna want to conserve and manage their block as best they can and create as little disturbance as possible. At the moment it is rented out and they hope to move out and live on the property in the near future. They would like to conserve it into the future and currently most neighbours seem to be doing the same and enjoying the large bush blocks as they are.

Aleka Freja has also pledged to manage her  property in Noonamah as Land for Wildlife Habitat. Aleka's property stretches across the Elizabeth River, with other LFW members very nearby.  The 26 acres (12 hectares) has an incredible section of native vegetation, including mature riverine floodplains with huge Terminalia microcarpa, Carallia, Barringtonia, Carpentaria palms,  Pandanas and many native vines which are full of butterflies and enchantment. The property has been the family's home for 14 years and 3 children, 1 well behaved dog and some chooks reside amongst the amazing wildlife. Aleka loves that her children get to grow up amongst nature and value the landscape.

There are now several LFW properties sharing the same part of Elizabeth River which is a very important wildlife corridor with great diversity. The presence of landholders or "caretakers for the landscape" with similar values is very important in conserving and connecting wildlife habitat. Working with neighbours creates a sense of community, a shared vision  and  enables a co-ordinated approach to Land Management. We hope to inspire more properties in the area to join.

Shayotte and Mark have pledged their little piece of paradise as Land for Wildlife habitat. Their property encompasses a large amount of the magical and fairy like Sand Sheet Heath. They have lived on this little bit of landscape for 15 years, which is 6.1 hectares (13.4 acres) and encompasses 4 hectares of Howard Sand Sheet and is adjacent to another large and beautiful section of Sand Sheet to the West of The Humpty Doo Golf Course. Shayotte and Mark love the Top End landscapes, and the incredible wildlife. They feel Humpty Doo is changing, with less people respecting the landscape and management issues include more wild dogs getting onto to their property. They have constant wonder for the plant and animal species, especially those in the Sand Sheet and have battled nearby properties who want to drain it - imagine that! A few years ago a hot fire burnt through which devastated them, but a lot of the Verticordias which were stumped for so long have flowered beautifully for the first time. I can't wait to revisit in the wet and check out the flowering plants, particularly the Utricularias

A Secret World-
The Carnivorous Plants of The Howard Sand Sheets

A real focus of this year out of our many wonderful native vegetation types in the Top End, has been the Howard Sand Sheets or Sand Sheet Heath and many of our members are care takers of a little bit of this landscape which has historically encompassed rural blocks or slithers along the edge of a waterway. This very interesting landscape hosts an array of unusual wildlife - flora and fauna and was a large focus of a  project steered by Greening Australia partnered with many other organisations. More recently it was the focus of a fantastic collaborative art project  which ended with a very well received exhibition at Nomad Art Gallery. Below Angus Cameron, the curator, introduces the exhibition and his impressions of the landscape. 

The catalogue and Education Materials are available at -

http://www.nomadart.com.au/?p=9371
 

It is a beautiful dry season morning. We are near the Howard River just half an hour south of Darwin in theTop End of Australia, walking through one of the most intriguing botanical landscapes imaginable. Underfoot a sea of miniature insectivorous plants flower like small beacons. Our feet make rhythmic squelching sounds as we pick our way across the water drenched sand plain, eyes cast downward like a flock of water birds gliding over a miniature-waterlogged forest. The group consists of scientists and artists led by Emma Lupin, Project Officer with Greening Australia and Dr Greg Leach, a botanist with more than 30 years experience in the Top End. The artists included Jasmine Jan, Jacqueline Gribbin, Winsome Jobling, Sarah Pirrie and Karen Mills. The Howard sand sheets are right on Darwin’s doorstep and so subtle they are mostly overlooked as one of the Northern Territory’s most valuable and unique environmental hot spots. They are located amid a confusion of bush blocks, junkyards, agricultural plots, sand mining ventures, quad bike tracks and artesian water pumping stations that supply water to greater Darwin. Yet they contain rare and endangered species that are unique. The sand sheets are just that, a deep layer of pure white sand amid savannah scrublands and monsoonal rainforests. Termites, insects and microorganisms dominate the landscape. The nutrient-poor soil creates a habitat ideal for the proliferation of bladderworts (Utricularia spp.). These carnivorous plants reveal themselves with delicate flowers and stems, but are driven by a submerged engine room made up of minute suction bulbs or bladders that trap insects. Tiny hair like projections at the opening of the bladder are sensitive to the motion of passing organisms. When stimulated these hairs cause the flattened bladder to dramatically inflate, sucking in water and the insect and closing a trap door behind them.

This exhibition takes you into the diminutive world of the bladderwort. It is a micro landscape, which subverts our sense of scale and draws our attention to a natural wonderland. The exhibition came about through the involvement of Dr Greg Leach and Emma Lupin from Greening Australia who has highlighted the unique and endangered nature of the region. The artists were invited to participate on the basis of their artistic practice and engagement with the natural environment.

As the curator I wanted to take the audience deep within the landscape through the eyes of five imaginative and insightful artists. So come with us on a journey into the world of the bladderwort. Shrink yourself down, imagine you are a plant living on a sheet of sand containing no nutrients. Your feet are immersed in water for six months of the year while you are surrounded by microscopic insect life, the other six months you are dry and parched under the searing sun. How do you live and survive? The answer; become an insect devouring design genius of course.

But all is not well in this finely balanced landscape. Sandmining and urban development threaten the specialist habitat in which the bladderwort thrives and survives. Continued survival of the bladderwort (Utricularia) species relies on human appreciation and consciousness. It is critical that as a society we know and understand the natural environment around us. These days few people seem able to identify the plant species that surround them. Instead we destroy natural habitats unaware of what they comprise, obliterating what was there before.

Secret World: Carnivorous plants of the Howard sand sheets highlights a unique habitat on the doorstep of Darwin. Through this exhibition we encourage greater community awareness about the beauty and wonder of the environment around us.

Angus Cameron, Curator, Nomad Art Gallery

More Land for Wildlife near Adelaide River
In the last 6 months we welcomed Ingrid and David to the program who are added to the collection of Land for Wildlife properties in the Adelaide River and Robin Falls region. They have both spent their life-time as wildlife ecologists with a focus on macropods and  Ingrid managed a region of National Parks in NSW. First moving to the area in 2009 they are now committed to managing the incredible landscape they reside on permanently. Ingrid could not imagine living without a vast protected area of natural bush around her, as she has got so accustomed to this through her work. They have hosted wildlife studies on their property and hope to host LFW workshops in the future and build a network of like-minded people in the area.
Below are a few words that David has written about their property:

Our 427-ha lifestyle block is on scenic Dorat Road in the Robin Falls region near the township of Adelaide River in the NT. It comprises natural tropical woodland savannah that frames our multi-building habitation at the confluence of two Wet-season creeks. These are fed from the backdrop, a sandstone escarpment. We are remote and off-grid. Our challenges are wildfire, weeds and the variability of the intensity and duration of the Wet and Dry seasons.

We cycle annually from drought to flooding rain. The severity of Dry-season drought on land management is compounded by the frequent threat of wild fire from arson, whether malevolent or misguided, or failure to contain management burns on some neighbouring properties. We have therefore strengthened our bounding fire breaks by grading and annual control of overgrowing vegetation with some strategic early Dry-season burning along the inner edges. We sacrifice a broad strip of ground-cover along our exposure to Dorat Road to reduce its attraction to arsonists. As this strategy has matured we have been able to exclude fire from most of our block and aim for a fire frequency of no more than once in five or more years. The floods of the Wet-season bring a burden of weeds, including WANS like Gamba and Mission grasses. We target Gamba and Perrenial Mission grasses across the block and remove these and other weeds from a large buffer around habitations. Our success in the latter endeavour has restored riparian vegetation and improved biodiversity in flora (mid-storey vegetation) and fauna (especially birds).

Our long-term goal is to provide wildlife-friendly habitat across our block by sustaining its natural diversity bred by a variable terrain, enhancing the diversity of ground cover and mid-storey vegetation by suppression of wildfire and weeds, and protecting wildlife from harm from hunting or adverse land uses.


David and Ingrid, LFW members

McMinns Lagoon becomes a Land For Wildlife Educational Member
 

Land for Wildlife not only has members who are private Landholder's but also Educational members. These can be schools, scout groups, community reserves and organisations.
 

McMinns Lagoon is just over 40 hectares and is leased and managed by the McMinns Lagoon Reserve Association. This Association acts as a Landcare group and was started by Brian McWilliam more than 20 years ago when he saw the area beginning to be wrecked by motorbikes and weeds. Part of the lagoon edge was also cleared when land parcels were divided up nearby. Since then hundreds of trees have been planted, signs and tracks installed and many weeds managed. At the moment a Green Army team, hosted through Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA), have been working at the lagoon on land management issues, such as weed control, carrying out wildlife camera surveys and bird counts which has built up the team's skills in many areas.

Brian signed up the lagoon to increase the awareness of those in the area of the significance of the reserve and also with the hope  of slowly engaging neighbouring properties into the program or to manage their land with similar practices.

The Green Army team and CVA members assisted with the Land for Wildlife Assessment which showed them how a vegetation assessment is carried out and how to ID plants in the landscape.

Land for Wildlife also had a stall at the Bushcare's Major Day Out event held at the lagoon in September, with talks and tree planting.




 If you know anyone that lives near McMinns Lagoon, please let them know about the Land for Wildlife program.
 

Strider- An Environmental Elder leaves our landscape
Photos and words by Emma Lupin

As the rain falls and new life flushes our wonderful landscapes a rich green colour, one special life has left our landscape. Here’s to Strider, an inspirational thinker, environmental activist, outspoken and quirky character and a friend to many.
I hope some of his incredible love for our native landscapes, plant knowledge and social justice lives on with others.
His detailed observations of changing seasons and ecological nuances of his home and the land he cared for underlined an in depth relationship that others can only aspire to. He was always dedicated to learning about the place we live and trying to protect it with a lust for life and people.
 

May your onward journey be smooth and our landscapes continue to have people that connect with them and protect them and share their wonder with others.

Here’s to those who inspire and do not always conform.

A celebration of Strider's life will be held at The Solar Village, Sunset, 23rd January 2016
 
 

I was recently working with Strider to produce an article for this newsletter, but I had not yet captured all the information, I did capture some lovely shots of Strider in his element and will just include this brief summary.  Strider was (and still is in his legacy) the caretaker of an 8.1 hectare (17.6 acre) section of the Solar Village that spans across Horn's Creek. The Solar village is 145 hectares  divided into 13 properties, that was set up in 1979 with the vision of being an ecological sustainable community, that relies only on solar generated power, has no fences and contains a no burn fire experiment with the outcome of better wildlife habitat. Unusually the whole "Solar village" has a concession to have one shared fire break, rather than each property having an individual break and the landscape was kept as free from fire as possible. The last prescribed burning was in the late 70s. Striders area had a "wild"  fire in 1991 and then one just last year. It was this latest fire that he fought by hand when rather unwell, and then had the fire brigade to assist. It was on less than half the property and he made various observations about the changes after this, which I did not capture. In general the observations have been that the species diversity has increased with the absence of fire and allowed more sensitive species to flourish, but some species certainly did come into flower after fire. Strider has given TED talks on fire http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Fire-management-and-the-new-pio and wrote an article the LFW Fire Issue of Top Notes from 2012. https://landforwildlifetopend.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/topnotes_dec2012_v3.pdf 
 

Vale Nic Smith - ethnobotanist
We also lost another northern Australian environmental warrior recently, Nic Smith. He was the author of a number of popular books, including Native Plants for Top End Gardens (Greening Australia publication), Cape York Wildflowers, two flora guides to common plants of Australia’s Top End and Savannah Way, and a number of field guides for northern Australian weeds.  He was a true friend of the Indigenous community, a wildlife photographer and an ethnobotanist. Nic will be sadly missed but we are blessed with the huge legacy that he has left us through our relationships with him, his publications, photographic records and the knowledge he has passed to us. He has also left behind a beautiful family that will carry on his good legacy.

Words by Mike Clark

Trees for Wildlife
We are pleased to announce that Greening Australia has been successful in it's application in the Top End for funding under the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme, 20 Million Trees. The funding will allow the Greening Australia Darwin Hub to grow and assist with the planting of tree species that provide food and habitat for the Black-footed Tree-rat in areas that have previously been cleared. We aim to work with Land for Wildlife "Working Towards" members that have a revegetation project.
Watch out for more details!  

 

Bird Week - Celebrating our Wildlife
 
Bird Week is a celebration of Australian birds! We are very privileged in The Top End to have some fantastic bird species and, relative to elsewhere in Australia, some very intact bird habitat.
 
There are over 250 species of birds in the region; 19 bird species are endemic to the Australian monsoon tropics and 3 species are found only in the Top End and Kimberly region (Rainbow pitta, Silver-backed butcherbird and Yellow-rumped mannikin).  Many other species are distributed only in the tropics, and are found in parts of Indonesia, New Guinea and beyond.

64 species in the Darwin region are migratory, the majority of which migrate from the region for the dry season. One quarter of our birds are water or wetland birds. Another quarter of the birds are either shoreline or sea birds, leaving half as terrestrial (land) birds.

Different birds occupy different habitats, but many move between habitats, depending on food sources and shelter.  Honey Eaters move between Woodland landscapes and riparian or monsoon forest habitats, depending on where nectar is.

Birds such as birds of prey, some pigeon species, parrots, cockatoos, and some honey eaters inhabit the open forests and woodlands. Other birds choose the monsoon forest as their primary habitat, such as some flycatchers, honeyeaters, fig birds, the Rainbow Bee eater and the great Bowerbird. Below is the Rainbow pitta, which is endemic to the Top End and Kimberly regions.

Where and when to go bird spotting

The best time to go bird spotting is first thing in the morning and in the late afternoon, this is when most birds are most active.

The best places to go bird spotting is where there is a food or water source for birds. Fruiting trees, flowering trees, seeding grasses and places with insects are where birds hang out. If you want to see waterbirds, then finding a wetland is the obvious place to go.

Often it is hard to see the colourings of birds, so to ID birds their shape, silhouette and what is called their “Giss” which is how they move, are all used. Of course another great way to identify birds is by their calls. These can be found on phone and computer apps too!

The role of National Parks, conservation reserves and private land managed as Land for Wildlife is essential for bird habitat. Native birds do also love planted gardens, native and otherwise which have diversity and water.


During Bird Week (19th- 25th October) Land for Wildlife hosted a Landholder's walk and talk with a bird focus and an "Introduction to Bird Spotting" in partnership with Territory Wildlife Park. Participants were encouraged to take part in The Aussie Backyard Bird Count.

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  An Introduction to Bird Spotting at Territory Wildlife Park

In October the Territory Wildlife Park (TWP) kindly hosted "An Introduction to Bird Spotting" with Denise Goodfellow who has written various books including “Birds of Australia’s Top End”. This event was designed for Land for Wildlife members and friends, with fantastic bird painter (Land for Wildlife member and TWP staff member) Jasmine Jan. This was booked out with 20 attendees keen to know more about birds.

This compact bird spotting session took participants on the TWP train to the natural Goose Lagoon and the bird hide, through the woodland and marginal paperbark swamp, with some stops on the way looking at plants that are sources of food for birds.
Denise gave a short introduction to bird types and some bird spotting tips, including the great advice that sitting a long-while in one place and watching the birds and getting to know them and how they all behave is really important and rewarding. This can be done on a back veranda or in a patch of native vegetation.

 

We stayed at the bird hide some time and watched the water birds on the lagoon while those attending quietly absorbed the scene, asked questions to our bird experts and not so quietly met other members and talked about birds on their blocks. On the lagoon we spotted Radjah shelduck (Burdekin duck), Black-necked stalks (Jabiru), Little egrets, Comb-crested jacana and many more.

We learnt from Jasmine that many birds are nocturnal and can be spotted by their calls. Goose lagoon is a natural lagoon and there are many different landscape types within the park as well as an aviary of rainforest birds.

A Wildlife Walk and Talk with Andrew Spiers.

As well as being a Land for Wildlife member Andrew also teaches Conservation Land Management at Charles Darwin University and has some extensive knowledge about our landscapes and birds. The walk and talk was at his wonderful Darwin River property that is on 200 hectares, with 18 interested others from Land for Wildlife and friends.

We looked at many different keys to birds and learnt about observing landscapes over time. We had a great dusk walk across the flood plain to the Darwin River and learnt of the grand effects of fire on birds as well as many other interesting observations across the landscape, including termite activity, the interaction of wildlife, plants as food sources and river flows. We also had a quick run down on the best bird survey techniques.

Fire can be a devastating factor for birds as it destroys the flowers and or fruit and in many cases the whole plant and its ability to flower or fruit completely for a year or more depending on intensity. These flowers or fruit are very often the food source for many bird species. Andrew’s land was an example of this as some uncontrolled hot fires that had come in from a neighbouring property had taken out hundreds, if not thousands, of Grevillea pteridifolia (Fern-leaved grevillea) which are a food source for many honey eaters and small birds. The recent fire had also knocked out many other plants and bird activity was lower than before and centred around the watered garden and the riverine vegetation.

Andrew was a fascinating guide and his wife, Helen, very hospitable. As well as seeing their incredible native landscape we also were invited to look around their house which they have designed and built for our climate with natural cooling features.

It really is valuable to share the knowledge and experience gained when managing land (for wildlife) and a great opportunity to meet others, enjoy a new bit of country and share views. We hope this is the first in many of our “Landholder Wildlife Walks”

The Importance of Rats  
by Ann Grattidge



While the plight of cute and fury wildlife often pulls at our hearts and attracts attention for their protection, rats are not generally in that mix. Yet Australia has many different types of native rats, they are an important part of our tropical ecosystems and some of them, like many of our small mammals, are endangered.  Tree-rats are amazing critters and deserve some special attention and particularly in the Greater Darwin area.
The black-footed tree-rat, the size of a rabbit is one of the largest of Australia’s rodents. The subspecies found in the mainland of the Northern Territory and the Kimberley is nationally listed as endangered.  This tree-rat has not been recorded from the Kimberley since the early 1990’s and Northern Territory populations have declined in both Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. However, there are a number of areas in the Northern Territory where the black-footed tree-rat appears to be holding on, with the Greater Darwin area being one of them.

           

The life habits of the tree-rat are akin to a nocturnal squirrel. They nest in tree hollows of large trees during the day.  At night they forage for fruits and seeds, travelling fair distances (e.g. 400m or more). The wet season is a time of food shortages so the mid to late dry season and build up is a key time to fatten up for the lean times ahead.
Black-footed tree-rats are associated with open Eucalyptus forest, possibly associated with drainage lines or moisture holding soils.  They are more abundant in habitat which is long unburnt (e.g. >10 years) and having a complex midstorey of fruiting shrubs which may include Pandanus, Cycas, Terminalia, Buchanania and many others.    They rely upon a diversity of food plants which are scattered throughout the open forest and savannahs.  As a consequence their occurrence can be patchy and their home range (the area an individual uses over time for both den sites and foraging for food) is one of the more extensive for similar sized native mammals.

A representation of long unburnt open forest  


 Typical foods for the tree-rat


I am undertaking a small project in 2016 to look at how we may be able to better determine and map the likely occurrence of the black-footed tree-rat in the Greater Darwin area.  Other studies by CDU students will be looking at the use of hollows by possums and the black footed tree rat.
We would like to hear back from you.
 
  1. Do you have this tree-rat on your property or think you may have potential habitat?
  2. If you have the tree-rat present or potential habitat on your property– would you permit a researcher to measure the quality of the vegetation?
  3. Would you be interested in participating in a citizen science project hosting motion sensitive cameras to monitor the presence of the tree rat?
We are fortunate that with black-footed tree-rats living so close to a city we have a unique capacity to learn much more about this species and take action to ensure they can stay in our landscape.
Contact Anniegrattidge@hotmail.com phone 0432841820
In an email please put in the subject line blackfootedtreerat
 

Wildlife Encounters Workshops

 

Land for Wildlife has been working more closely recently with our Educational member and partner The Territory Wildlife Park. The Park is a fantastic resource for wildlife education with incredibly knowledgeable staff. The park hosted "An introduction to Bird Watching" recently (see above) and in August we co-hosted a Wildlife encounters workshop with a focus on mammals especially for LFW members.
37 LFW members attended the workshop.  It was a really good day, where members got to meet each other, learn from some presenters, very experienced in wildlife handling or research and some of the animals themselves. The workshop was designed for land managers signed up to the program to find out more about the mammals likely to be found on their properties, their habitats and food sources and how best to manage landscape for them. Read more on our web page http://landforwildlifetopend.com/2015/08/12/wildlife-encounters-workshop/

Great Contacts for Land Management issues

 

Weed assistance and reporting-  If you ring the weeds branch (08) 8999 4567 they can help with most weeds-based enquiries and reports of unmanaged weeds. If you need weeds ID'd please send us a photograph to LFW or bring in a bagged sample.

Fire, fire permits and enquiries -  It is best to contact local fire brigades.
Arson can be reported to the police / crime stoppers. Any alternatives to burning are encouraged by the fire services.

Contact telephone numbers during the weekday
  Palmerston Fire Station           8932 1335
  Humpty Doo Fire Station         8988 0296

Volunteer Fire Brigade (After hours and weekends)
  Howard Springs                        8983 2999
  Humpty Doo                              8988 4333
  Koolpinyah - Herbert                8988 5023
  Virginia / Bees Creek                8988 2453

 

We are currently putting together some fire recommendations for landholders to encourage optimum wildlife.

Snakes Ok, so some people don't like snakes near their house. They are a valuable part of our ecosystems, but if you would like a snake removed or advice you can ring the free service that is provided by Parks and Wildlife. Ring-

Darwin, Palmerston and rural areas 1800 453 210 
Katherine 0407 934 252
There is a great snake ID chart on the LFW website-
http://landforwildlifetopend.com/enhancing-habitat-for-wildlife-fauna/snakes-of-the-top-end/

Rural Development and clearing Many Land for Wildlife members have been worried about development in the rural area and beyond and its effect on wildlife, or may not share the same "lifestyle aspirations" as their neighbours. There is a rural contact in the Department of Lands and Planning who can be contacted steven.kubasiewicz@nt.gov.au, who I am told can deal with queries about land clearing and development concerns. You can view and respond to development proposals through http://www.lands.nt.gov.au/planning/onestopshop

You can contact your local council office and / or elected member. (We will be listing contacts on LFW website shortly). Litchfield council has a new elected council- http://www.litchfield.nt.gov.au/council/mayor-and-councillors
Or your NT Government local member http://notes.nt.gov.au/lant/members/Members1.nsf/Members/By%20Electorate?OpenView
You can find out what electorate you are in here http://www.ntec.nt.gov.au/ElectoratesAndBoundaries/ElectorateMaps/Pages/default.aspx
 


More useful contacts will be added to the LFW website shortly on further aspects of land management and wildlife habitat conservation.
 

LFW Members Survey
 
Earlier in the year we put out a survey to find out what our members thought of the program and asked for your thoughts and suggestions on improvements that could be made. It has been a busy few months and we are still sorting through your responses, and will publish a full set on the website.  We look forward to working with you to action your feedback and suggestions.  Below are just a few findings. Thanks so much for your time if you filled it in.  We are already acting on some of our findings and tapping into your skills, shaping things for your interest.

 

  • 70 people filled in the survey, out of 180 members. 6 members responded by post (as they do not use email) and the rest online.
  • The majority of respondents manage 5-10 acres, closely followed by 10-30 acres.
  • 50% of respondents do not use face book.
  • Emails came out as the most effective communication tool, followed by the newsletter, then the web page.
  • 29 responded to having skills they could contribute to the program in various ways.
  • There were many suggestions of Workshop topics including Grass ID, Weed Management, Wildlife (fauna) knowledge building and more LFW social events.
  • Overall ratings of fields days, assessments and correspondence was "very good" with some rating follow up after assessments "poor" in the past - I hope we are improving!
  • Other comments highlighted worries about development, that Katherine members felt a little disconnected, but generally that the program is very worthwhile and important!
  • 90% of those who answered about their satisfaction of the response overall were either "satisfied" or "very satisfied", with only 2% claiming they are "dissatisfied" overall.
If you did not respond, don't worry you can email us with suggestions and comments. We are always keen for members to be involved and we deliver the best we can to empower our members.
 

Volunteering with Land for Wildlife
 

Thanks to Kritika, who was our Land for Wildlife Volunteer over the last few months. Kritika is studying a Masters in Environmental Science at Charles Darwin University and worked with the Land for Wildlife Program as part of her SID 300 Professional Placement Unit.  She assisted with assessments, improving our data base and making some plant species ID Cards and at the same time found out about how the program worked and visited some great bush blocks. We would like to wish her well in her further studies.  
She is pictured above (on the left) with Land for Wildlife applicant Vanesha on the assessment of Vanesha's property in Humpty Doo in November.
If anyone has skills they would like to volunteer to the program, please get in touch via our website link.

Seasonal Bush Berries for Wildlife
This is just a small selection of some of the fruit found in our landscapes at this time of year that birds and small mammals love.

From Top-
On the left (Red) Rainforest sp.-  Ganophyllum falcatum, On the right (Purple)Rainforest sp.- Syzygium nervosum
Left (White)
Riverine sp.- Syzygium minutuliflorum, Middle (red) Coastal Vine Thicket sp.-   Diosporus compacta, Right (orange)Woodland and diverse sp.- Native Cherry or  Exocarpos latifolius
Bottom (Purple)Rainforest sp.-  Terminalia microcarpa

Have a great Soggy Season and Holiday and Happy New Year. Thanks for all your conservation efforts.

We always love your feedback, stories and photos, so get in touch!

 

Greening Australia acknowledges Parks and Wildlife NT who generously  fund the Land for Wildlife program in the Top End.
 

Copyright © Land for Wildife Top End

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 1 Berrimah NT 0828
elupin@greeningaustralia.org.au

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