Spring Newsletter 2022

Sunshine reserve

2022 Spring Newsletter

Edition No. 181 Reg No. A00376 49E ABN: 54767366431
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 our new look newsletter and logo and an upgraded website (coming soon) to continue to inform and engage our valued members, volunteers, partners and friends of Sunshine.

Sunshine Reserve Ballern Ballern is an important bio link that is integral to Mount Martha and its landscape. These bushland reserves are significant reminders of the original landscapes and how they once were.

As a committee, together with our valued members and volunteers, our work removing the weedy species to make room for the indigenous flora is a priority when managing bushland and habitat value.

Monthly working bees (our Habitat Restoration Projects) are practical ways the community can get involved and better understand nature’s way to sustainability and wonder.

For our next working bees, we will meet Lower Sunshine at the foot bridge (McLeod Rd side fire track) last Sunday of the month @ 9am-11am.

Next bee Sunday 27 November 2022.

As it is ground flora season we will identify areas of diversity that require a little TLC for optimum growth. These field activities include plant ID, historical references, practical weed control methods and general conservation education.

The Peninsula hosts a rich source of educational conservation resources: our friends at Western Port Biosphere Foundation featured the beautiful Yam Daisy (traditional name Mourning) in an article recently. Peter Aldenhoven, CEO, Willum Warrain Bush Nursery said, “Endless plains of golden yellow daisies stretched westwards from Melbourne to South Australian border. They were tended by Aboriginal women over millenia. They were just not a staple food source but highly valued as an ancestor plant of great cultural significance. Sheep ate them out between 1870 and 1880, and here on the Mornington Peninsula only a few small precious pockets remain.” He shows us it is crucial to always obtain, cultivate and harvest the correct species from the correct source, “…You are engaging in edible reconciliation.” (The Biosphere Connector: Issue 35, 2022)

Residents can also actively help protect our Reserve by not dumping rubbish/green waste in the reserve; think about what you are planting in your gardens; keeping fence lines contained; know your fence line (Do you have WONS Weeds of National significance on your fence line?); ensuring your dogs are on leads and always pick up after your dog.

Pia Spreen

Introducing the new Sunshine Reserve Conservation Group Committee

We held our AGM on 3 October with 18 attendees via ZOOM and voted on our new committee.

Co-ordinator & Project Manager: Pia Spreen

Secretary, grant opportunities and sponsorship: Angie Fly

Treasurer: Jess Mason

Committee member/social media and event management: Jess Schubert-Hoban

Committee member/junior explorers: Sally Fisher

Committee member/newsletter and web content: Kate Reynolds

Committee member/membership, Instagram and business support: Jenny Martin

Committee member: Tanya Burdett

We also thanked the outgoing committee members for their valuable contribution.

Ballern Ballern’s Future is in Safe Hands

As we celebrated our past achievements and outlined our plans for ahead, it was inspiring to have two guest speakers present at the Sunshine Annual General Meeting on 3 October.

A new member (following National Tree Day 2022) and local resident 15 year old Ella Bartolo told attendees about her “Girl Green Power’ journey and said, ‘To me it means looking after what we have around us at a local level. I feel so lucky to live on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula and want to do everything I can to preserve what we have.” Ella has been busy developing her skills as a social media guru with her youtube channel ‘Little Creatures Matter’ and involvement with Mornington Peninsula Koala Conservation participating in their tree planting events. Ella also told us about her involvement in her school Balcombe Grammar’s Environment Team, establishing tree planting with MPKC as part of the school’s active community programme curriculum. “I am excited about my future and the difference I can continue to make with the environment,” she concluded. And at the last Sunday of each month we invariably see Ella at the Sunshine working bees, enthusiastically learning everything she can about her wedge of green.

We also welcomed Xander Theofanis at the AGM telling us his interest in the natural green environment started young volunteering at the ‘Bees ‘with his family. He continued with further study in the field and is completing a course in Conservation and Land Management at Homesglen and works with Pia at NatureLinks. Xander is also currently writing a Management Plan, tackling the issues threatening Sunshine Reserve and invited AGM attendees to share any insights for improvements relating to the Reserve.

The cycle was then completed with life time member Gill Gordon offering her expertise to teach us native seed collection. Gill is also busy archiving a Sunshine Reserve historical collection at Mt. Martha Community House. With these examples of involvement from committed grass roots and passionate environmentalists the future does look bright at Ballern Ballern.

Out and about

Funding and Grants

We were pleased to receive confirmation of a $500 Support Grant in the 2022 Victorian Landcare Grants. Thank you to Melbourne Water.

In addition we were successful in our application for a 2022/23 Biolinks Support Grant ($9,624). The project, “Sunshine Coastal Precinct Conservation and National Tree Day Collaboration” will focus on an area in Lower Sunshine. We aim to enhance biodiversity conservation and the coastal vegetation link to the larger part of the Reserve. A battle is being lost there as the area is being choked by large woody weeds, a heavy Kikuyu infestation and currently lacks a canopy species. Because of the nature of the work in this location, assistance from the experts (Naturelinks) is required with a strategy of works to traverse the uneven ground, remove large woody weeds and undertake preparatory spraying. Our volunteer community and Friends Group will then be able to access and help maintain the site into the future and ensure good planting success through our Sunshine Habitat Restoration Projects such as National Tree Day 2023 and monthly working bees.

This grant will help us to consolidate the existing site’s biodiversity values, its coastal integrity and enable natural regeneration to occur. Thank you to Mornington Peninsula Shire and especially Hannah Brown, Natural Systems Volunteers Officer for her encouragement and Paul Murphy, Clayton Fenech and Simon Thorning for their time and expertise with the on ground assessment panel.


Collaborating with our friends at BERGConservation Collective and the Mornington Peninsula Koala Conservation Group, who donated 100 manna gums, the Sunshine team had a successful pop up event outside Mt. Martha IGA on 1 October. Many curious fellows stopped by for a chat and checked out all the examples on display of common ‘weeds’ on the Peninsula. One gentleman enquired with concern about a ‘spikey specimen’ growing prolifically out of a wood chip heap at the end of his street. Another gentleman sought advice, before planting on his headland, about a nest of burrows and Pia was able to tell him he had ‘bush rats’ in residence. One lady was keen to take one of the succulent ‘weed’ examples home as a filler in her garden and it was an opportunity to explain to her the importance of keeping plantings under control in your garden and reduce the number of ornamental plants that ‘jump the fence’ and become invasive weeds. Another gentleman said he ‘just liked planting trees.’

Thank you to volunteers Angie, Pia, Jenny, Sally and Kate and BERG for a fun morning of engagement with the community.

Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training

In recent months some of our volunteers, by invitation from the Shire and BERG Mount Martha have attended Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training sessions facilitated by Jillian West of NOMUCKERLENER SERVICES. The purpose of the training is to increase participants’ knowledge and understanding of the issues, past and present that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies and communities. And provide information that will help participants to communicate sensitively and effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. At the training the participants experienced a Smoking Ceremony which was a profound and very special experience.

Save the dates

Sunshine Working Bee

Sunday 27 November 2022

(4th Sunday of every month)

Sunshine Reserve, Mt Martha

Clean Up Australia Day

Sunday 5 March 2023

Mt Martha

National Tree Day

Sunday 6 August 2023

Sunshine Reserve, Mount Martha

Sunshine Reserve Memberships

Welcome and thank-you to new members, our numbers are growing but if you’re a long-term member please don’t get left behind. Strong membership means a unified group which helps us win grant opportunities to protect Sunshine Reserve.

For $20 (Family) or $10 (Single) you will be helping the conservation of our important bio link that is integral to Mount Martha.

Pay On-Line (last name as reference) to BSB 633 000 Acct 1096 18215 and email details (full name, address) and we will email your receipt.

If you're unsure regarding the status of your membership email Angie Fly or call / txt 040 8188 384

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A sincere thank you to Warlimont & Nutt for their ongoing commitment of $2000 per year. Fergus Nutt and Carly Lindley have also been very generous with their time and wealth of knowledge all things business and social media.

Hop Nation are also on board again to the value of $2000 per year and keen about their continued involvement and participation in our National Tree Day event. They were pleased their areas of green in the Reserve from the past two Tree Day events are thriving. A huge thank you to Tim Landner, Duncan Gibson and Sam Harbour and their team.