9 September 2015
The 10 hectare Wanderslore sanctuary at Launching Place recently opened its gates to educate people on improving the local environment, with 50 people visiting to learn about wildlife monitoring and how they can undertake conservation work on their own land. The Wanderslore property was gifted to the Trust for Nature in the 1980’s by Miss Constance Coleman as a sanctuary for the preservation of native plants and wildlife. Miss Coleman was an artist, poet and teacher with a deep attachment to the Upper Yarra Valley. Her studio remains in place today and is the meeting place for the Friends of Wanderslore Group. The property contains excellent remnants of three local vegetation types and is a haven for local wildlife such as wallaby, wombat, echidna, antechinus, possum species, bush rats, bats, reptiles and many bird species. Wildlife specialist Ed McNabb educated the participants on the calls of a range of local animals with a focus on owls and mammals such as possums and gliders. Renowned botanist Dr Graeme Lorimer also explained the importance of monitoring changes in vegetation over time and described some simple techniques for achieving this. Geoff Durham, convenor of the dedicated Friends of Wanderslore group then spoke about the history of the reserve and led a walk around the property, during which he described the management practices carried out over the past 20 years to restore the reserve to its current state. The environmental education event was hosted by Ben Cullen from the Trust for Nature and the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA). PPWCMA’s Mary-Kate Hockey said, “This event was a part of a larger project called Yarra4Life which involves many government organisations and community groups working together to improve the environmental connections and landscapes in the Upper Yarra Valley” “Together with funding support from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, we have recently identified priority areas for environmental work to help local wildlife and the funds in the next three years will be mainly put to on-ground work making tangible improvements to the local habitat and landscapes,” she said. More information about Yarra4Life and the work being funded by the National Landcare Programme is available at www.yarra4life.com.au.