Autumn Newsletter 2023

May Newsletter

We would like to acknowledge the lands of the Bunurong /Boonwurrung people, traditional custodians of this place known as Ballern Ballern (place of 2 creeks). We pay our respects to the Land, the people, and their elders past, present and emerging and recognise that sovereignty to the land has never been ceded. We promise to walk softly and gently on this land.

A note from our Co-Ordinator - Pia Spreen

Welcome to Sunshine! I can't believe it is Autumn and we are deep into its associated rhythms. 

It is Funghi season ... the great recyclers. I had the pleasure of attending with fellow committee members Angie and Jess, a Funghi Workshop hosted by BERG Mt. Martha on 15 April with Ecologist and Photographer, Dr. Alison Pouliot. It was such an interesting subject and we now have a deeper understanding of our local environment, biodiversity and this strange 'third kingdom.' Mornington Peninsula Shire has engaged Dr. Pouliot to develop a wonderful resource: Fungi of the Peninsula and her book Underground Lovers is available (NewSouth Publishing). Or listen The alluring aliens of our forests - ABC Radio.

This got me thinking again about Cinnamon Fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi, an introduced water mould that invasively attacks the root system of susceptible plants particularly in coastal forest and heathland habitats. It is one of the world’s most invasive species and Victoria’s most significant plant pathogen. Pythium and Phytophthora are two parasitic oomycetes genera. Pythium primarily attacks monocotyledon plants causing root rot, while Phytophthora primarily attacks dicotyledons causing damping off and root rot. Specifically 2 x endemic species including the Xanthorrhoea maxima Tall Grass tree and the Mount Martha Bundy, Eucalyptus carolineae can be at risk here.

Upper Sunshine Reserve was tested for Phytophthora however came back positive to Pythium. We are hoping for further testing to determine if Phytophthora is in fact present and is contributing to our larger gum dieback. Unfortunately once present there is no quick fix to the problem. 

Planting season is approaching with the wetter weather providing optimum conditions for establishing crucial tube stock. The Shire are strategically planting endemic indigenous species.

At Sunshine, we are interested in securing canopy species to retain our important biolink. As our wider landscape changes through development, storm damage and upward pressure of disease and over browsing these supplementary plantings provide a succession plan for our bushland corridor to support the raft of species.

What’s happening in the Reserve. 
We have seen an abundance of work in the Reserve. The Friends group have been returning to the Mcleod Road side South West of the Footbridge following up on the 2021 National Tree Day (NTD) site.  Revisiting areas previously worked is critical to our long term success and strategy.
As a consequence of the initial Woody weed removal, the site opens up to extra light promoting the activation of the seed bank (both weed and indigenous). The natural recruitment of some of our weed species can mean that they produce a heavy seed drop thus becoming dominant. Our Friends group have been helping to reduce the weed flush and liberate our indigenous species to promote further recruitment.This work by the Friends group helps to support the continued improvement of Sunshine  Reserve. We are thrilled Hop Nation plantings from NTD are growing well and plant guards have been removed where of benefit.

Register and join our 2023 National Tree Day Event on Sunday 30 July.

We are grateful for our strong community engagement in helping to protect and promote the principle of conservation for Sunshine Reserve.  

Pia Spreen

In Our Community

Clean Up Australia on Sunday 5 March was our first event for 2023 and a great success thanks to a strong community of 21 environmental volunteers. Our enthusiastic crew included Sunshine committee and members, Luke and Hanna from ACF Community Mornington and John, Dave and Lake from RePower Mornington Peninsula. This year we celebrated 24 years of participation in the annual Clean Up Australia event and collected 210 kg of rubbish (25 bags) in 2 hours. We worked along the Esplanade, Mt. Martha (near Hearn Road) where Sunshine Reserve meets the sea. Thank you to Clean Up Australia 2023 for such a terrific event, Mornington Peninsula Shire for providing safe traffic management for our team of volunteers and removing the collected rubbish and Committee member Jess Shubert-Hoban for her outstanding co-ordination of the event.
Living Culture
On a brilliant Autumn Sunday morning (30 April) we hosted a Living Culture Guided Walk through the Reserve. Gidja Walker was our guide for ‘whimsical meanderings’ through the landscape sharing her incredible insights and knowledge of our amazing ecosystem. Gidja spoke of the healing properties of plants, their interactive nature, fire and landscape and the aqualines (corridors) of flora. (Gidja, although not of First Nations descent, was given permission to talk about some of the uses and stories these plants hold for our First Nations culture.) Elder Lionel Lauch concluded the morning with a healing didgeridoo meditation experience. This was a unique and very special offering to our valued members and volunteers. 45 attendees each took a native seedling home to cultivate with a deeper understanding of our environment. Thank you Gidja, Lionel and Living Culture. And to our three major sponsors: Warlimont & Nutt; Bendigo Community Bank Mount Martha and Hop Nation for making these experiences possible.

Our Sponsors

Our Sponsors A sincere thank you again to our sponsors.Bendigo Community Bank Mount Martha is back on board and joins our commercial Sponsorship team along with Warlimont and Nutt and Hop Nation. Thanks to the ongoing support from this awesome trio we are able to finance our fees as a non for profit organisation and crucially invest in strategic initiatives to preserve the long term health of Sunshine Reserve. In February the Committee discussed the decline of larger gums and concluded more canopy species could be introduced into certain areas of the Reserve. With our sponsorship engagement we were able to act swiftly, buy and plant 250 natives. The relationship between our valued sponsors and the health of Sunshine Reserve is critical and has seen liberation of our indigenous species this year. Please support Bendigo Bank, Warlimont and Nutt and Hop Nation as they support our local bush land and it’s capacity to thrive.In addition to our current sponsors, we would like to take this opportunity to reach out to potential new partners. If you or your organisation are interested in supporting our mission, or you know someone who may be interested, contact us to learn more about the various sponsorship opportunities available. Please call Angie Fly on 0408 188 384.Once again, thank you to our current sponsors for their continued support. Together, we can make a real difference and tip the balance back in favour of remnant bush which will protect Sunshine Reserve for generations to come.

Save the Dates and Stay Connected

Sunshine Working Bee 

9am Sunday 28 May 2023, Meet at the bridge McLeod Firetrack

NOTE: Our working bees are the last Sunday of every month through to November.

join our planting

National Tree Day

Sunday 30 July 2023

Sunshine Reserve, Mount Martha

Sunshine Reserve Memberships


Thank you to our wonderful members for your continued support. To those lapsed or non-members, please join us to protect our natural bio-link and become a member of the Sunshine Reserve Conservation Group 2023!

A yearly subscription not only supports the important work we do to preserve and protect the local ecosystem, but includes exclusive access to members-only events, quarterly updates and a free bush kit if you choose to help with monthly working bees.

By becoming a member, you’ll be an integral part of a community of like-minded individuals who are committed to protecting the environment and preserving our natural resources for future generations.

A strong membership base also strengthens our capacity to secure grant funding.  With recent success thanks to Melbourne Water (2022 Victorian Landcare Grants) and the Mornington Peninsula Shire (2022/23 Biolinks Support Grant). 

So join today for $20 (Family) or $10 (Single) and you will be helping the conservation of our important bio link that is integral to Mount Martha. Step up and Become a Sunshine Reserve Member Today

If you’re unsure regarding the status of your membership email Jenny Martin or call / txt 0425 853 815

And don’t forget to follow our socials and new website to keep up to date with all things Sunshine … care, connect, explore … you won’t regret it.

We are also grateful to our friends in other community organisations who support us. ACF Community Mornington are on the ground: advocating climate action and nature protection; encouraging connection with nature and raising community environmental awareness. For further information take a look above.

Bendigo Bank
Warlimont & Nutt
Mornington Peninsula Shire
Melbounre Water
Hop Nation