Latest news

Little Penguin outing
On the first Sunday night in April, IFFA visitors and Earthcare St Kilda volunteers gather at St Kilda Pier for the last of the fortnightly Little Penguin monitoring for this season..

We are received by Zoe Hogg, who has been coordinating the research activities for the last 26 years. As we walk along the pier and pass the public boardwalk, she tells me about the enormous datasets she has obtained with the help of her many volunteers. This year, she has had PhD students run tests on the data with surprising results; Zoe estimated the St Kilda pier population to consist of… Read more »

Butterflies in the suburbs
Native butterflies drift lazily through your backyard on sunny spring and summer days. Ever wondered where they come from? Did some all-powerful super-being create them spontaneously from thin air and drop them in your garden? Why have they come to 27 Smith Street, Elwood? What are they doing?.

Butterflies like nectar. Nectar from all kinds of flowers, indigenous and exotic. The carbohydrates contained in this nectar help them to live longer, give them the strength to find a mate and breed successfully, enabling the females to produce lots of viable eggs. So it seems our adult butterflies are happy with many of the plants we serve them up in those crazy, chaotic, jumbled collections of flora we surround… Read more »

Think local, act www

NatureShare is a new website which stores information about indigenous species in Victoria. Anyone can upload observations to share with the world. It also provides for ‘collections’ of information relating to a specific area. All species known in Victoria to be remnant or selfsustaining (i.e. plants, weeds, animals and introduced animals, but not plants in revegetation sites, garden plants, pets, etc) will be included. This currently includes… Read more »

The forgotten flora
How the Baillieu Government has turned its back on threatened species.

We pulled off the dusty track and parked the car under a gnarly young stringybark tree. Before us was a diverse heathy woodland, alive with the colour of wildflowers in full spring bloom. In the distance I could see rugged sandstone escarpments, lined with dark stunted trees and ancient boulders. I was on a day trip in the Black Ranges, a westerly extension of the Grampians near Cherrypool. My travelling… Read more »

IFFA outing Bush Heritage Nardoo Hills Reserve

Non-members welcome Come and join Bush Heritage’s Victorian Reserves Manager Jeroen van Veen for an exclusive visit to Nardoo Hills Reserve. This 817 ha reserve supports a large diversity of vegetation communities including grey box grassy woodland, boxironbark and mallee, providing vital habitats for a range of wildlife. Since Bush Heritage acquired the first property in 2004 and actively managed it for conservation outcomes, … Read more »

President’s letter
What if flora and fauna had a vote?.

In early May IFFA took part in a deputation to the Shadow Minister for the Environment, Lisa Neville. We joined concerned members of the public to express concern at the dismissal of Threatened Species Officers by the State Government under Ted Baillieu. In recent months IFFA has made a number of submissions to the State Government advising our objection to changes being made in land management and species conservation. We… Read more »


Alan Turing, genius If you mention the name Alan Turing, I dare say most people think immediately of the genius behind the cracking of the cipher codes of the Enigma machines or the creator of the virtual Turing machine. What many people do not realise, and the reason why this piece is appearing in Indigenotes, is that Turing wrote a seminal article, titled “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis”.… Read more »

Return of the wet
Exploring the responses of some plant and animal communities to two years of drought-ending rain.

It was the longest drought in recorded history, and I think many of us were beginning to wonder if it would ever end. Was this the new climate? Was global climate change already well under way? The bush was just getting drier, plant populations were dwindling, and most wetlands had been reduced to tired dust-bowls, covered in weeds and colonizing terrestrial species. But in the last two years the drought… Read more »

A tale of two grasslands
Intrigued by visual similarities between grasslands in Brittany (France) and near Melbourne, Pascale Pitot and Brian Bainbridge present part deux of an investigation into parallel worlds..

We were captivated by resemblances between people’s traditional relationship to ecosystems, the collapse of these relationships in recent times and counterparts in the emerging recognition and partial revival of traditional practices for the purpose of ecological restoration. The grassy ecosystems of Brittany and the Victorian Volcanic Plain have been shaped by traditional land management practices of their respective long-term residents. Both grassy ecosystems transform or degrade without periodic… Read more »

Ideas for home gardening

This ‘wildflower room’ is the work of members of Greenlink Box Hill, in particular, the late Minette Russell-Young (ex Burnley lecturer, a founding member of IFFA and inspiration/ mentor to many of us ‘indigiphiles’ in greater Melbourne.) Striking assemblages of indigenous grasses and forbs are located along a public trail (the Bushy Creek Trail in Box Hill), not a domestic garden but Min championed the concept… Read more »

Vale John Reid

Sadly, John Reid passed away on Wednesday afternoon, 8 February. John was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) two years ago and had undergone a number of treatments in an attempt to control the disease. John became very ill very quickly a week before he died and was treated at Ringwood Private Hospital. His partner Liz Balogh was with him when he passed away. It was a peaceful passing. John… Read more »

Myrtle Rust, it’s here, know your responsibilities

Unfortunat ely, the article on Myrtle Rust in the December issue of Indigenotes was very timely with the rust being first detected in Victoria in late December 2011. Since mid 2010 this fungus, originating in South America, has spread throughout the east coast of Australia from a location in northern NSW. It attacks a wide range of hosts in the family Myrtaceae, including gum trees, bottlebrushes and tea-trees. As of 10 February, DPI… Read more »

President’s letter
Recoveries and discoveries.

A year ago I asked Indigenotes readers to share their observations of re-appearances of plants or animals or other phenomena linked to the rainy weather. My motive was two-fold. Firstly I hoped to capture some of the buzz of people sharing their wonder at recoveries and discoveries. But I was also hoping to deepen understanding of why short term assessments of remnant areas so often fall short of the evaluation… Read more »

IFFA Outing : Little Penguins Up Close and Personal

Meet 7:30 PM at the beginning of St Kilda Pier Earthcare St Kilda has been monitoring the native Little Penguins of St Kilda since 1986. During ‘penguin season’ they catch, measure, weigh and tag the birds and record their location. This is an excellent chance for us to see them up close, as we may tag along with the researchers during their monitoring activities. There are only 6… Read more »

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