Following a very successful workshop held at the CRC on Thursday June 8, it can be said that participants left the workshop armed with useful knowledge of the bush, local orchid identification, use of fire for bush rejuvenation and how local weeds have established and spread and effective treatments for control.
The day commenced with Welcome to Country by local Grant Riley. It was wonderful to have Grant and Anne, of Wuddi Cultural Tours, attend and share their wealth of knowledge, especially given the nature of the topic.
Lyn Alcock kindly volunteered to attend the workshop to deliver a presentation on orchids of the South West. Lyn travelled from Narrogin for the workshop. Her enthusiasm and passion for orchids and her superb photography of orchids held the attention of the crowd as she presented and discussed orchids from her collection of wonderful photographs. Due to her keen interest in photography, we were privileged to hear about her recent task of photographing the water birds at Toolilbin Lake which is recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Next Speaker was Brett Beecham, Regional Ecologist with the Parks and Wildlife Office in Narrogin. Brett presented a comprehensive over view of techniques used for managing bush reserves over 500ha using fire control methods. This also included historical cultural heritage aspects and the inter relationship of bush management throughout time. His knowledge of the burning regimes, the interrelationship with the native fauna, birds and timing of fires and flora species recovery post burning was welcomed by the crowd.
To wind up the official part of the workshop, John Moore, a Senior Research Officer for Crop Protection, Grains Research and Innovation from the DAFWA Office in Albany also spoke very passionately on weeds in general; establishment over time and the consequent spread across the landscape highlighted the seriousness of the problem that is looming. Controlling and managing the spread of bridal creeper in the bush was also a main discussion point and the use of the rust fungus as an effective retardant to stop bridal creeper from setting seed. Participants were informed that a cold burn will not kill the bridal creeper tubers located underground, however will allow easy access to the bush for follow up spraying purposes after the vegetation has been burnt.
A sumptuous lunch was shared before many participants headed to the bush adjacent to the hospital. Some wonderful specimens including flowering diuris (donkey orchids) and a yet to be named species of the astroloma genus, only found growing between Wagin and Lake Grace, were discovered.
This event was held courtesy of funding by the South West Catchments Council and National Landcare Programme, Australian Government.
Article by D.Gossage and C.Hadlow