Port Phillip & Westernport properties
Trust for Nature owns a number of properties in the Port Phillip & Westernport region
Trust for Nature received this 21.5 hectare property as a donation in 1977.
The property, east of Melbourne near Gembrook, is steeply sloping with dry forest on the slopes and lush fern gullies. Three permanent creeks flow through the property and provide an important sanctuary for species in an area which has been radically altered by subdivision and urbanisation. Treeferns, ferns and mosses dominate the gullies with Blackwood, Manna Gum and other eucalypts present. The slopes are well vegetated with shrubs and grasses.
The property is likely to support Bobuck, echidnas, Yellow-bellied Glider, Greater Glider, Sugar Glider, bats, Swamp Rat, Antechinus, Bush Rat and a variety of birds. The property is managed by the Friends of Harbury with the support of Trust for Nature.
Uambi is a 3.74 hectare property on Allens Road, Heathmont, which was donated to Trust for Nature in 1989 by John and Joan Harper.
Uambi is the largest intact remnant of the original Heathmont bushland in an area that is highly developed, making it a very significant property. The property supports a remnant of Valley Heathy Forest, in which 187 plant species have been recorded, including a surprising diversity of orchids.
The property ranges in condition from areas historically cleared planted up with exotic species that are now being regenerated to bushland, to good quality areas with few weeds. Uambi is used as an education site by primary, secondary and tertiary schools.
Because of Uambi is situated in suburbia, it is susceptible to a number of pressures, such as invasion by environmental weeds and garden plants, predation of native animals by non-native animals, and disturbance as a result of human activities.
The property requires needs ongoing management and care, which is overseen by the Uambi committee of management.
The group meets four times a year - if you are interested in becoming involved, please contact Lauren Fraser on (03) 8631 5817
Willis Nature Park
Willis Nature Park is a 80 hectare Trust for Nature owned property in Smiths Gully, approximately 50 kilometres north east of Melbourne CBD. It was bequeathed to Trust for Nature by Mr Lyle Willis in 1998, and is protected under the Victorian Conservation Trust Act (1972) for its unique conservation values.
The Park is situated amongst hilly topography and includes three tributaries of the Smith Gully Creek. Shallow stony earths support remnant vegetation comprising primarily of Grassy Dry Forest and Valley Grass Forest Ecological vegetation Communities (EVCs).
The latter is considered Vulnerable in the Highland Southern Fall Bioregion. The in situ variability in topography, aspect, vegetation composition and structure within the Park creates an abundance and diversity of habitat niches for indigenous flora and fauna, including a number of threatened species.
Slender Tick-trefoil Desmodium varians, Valley Cranesbill Geranium sp. 14 , Pale-flowered Cransebill Geranium pallidiflorum, Musky Hood Stegostyla gracillis and Sharp Midge-orchid Corunastylis despectans (Photo 1) are some of the threatened flora that have been recorded in the Park.
Powerful Owl Ninox strenua and Barking Owl Ninox connivens connivens have been recorded in the local area and are likely to use habitat within the Park, whilst Common Dunnart Smithopsis murina murina and Brush-tailed Phascogale Phascogale tapoatafa tapoatafa may also be present.
The Trust has recently installed a number of nest boxes for Brush-tailed Phascogale to help improve the availability of shelter and refuge for the species in the Park, and hope to report use of the nest boxes by this species, in the near future.
Historically, the Park is likely to have been subject to a number of disturbances including some vegetation clearance, gold mining and livestock grazing.
Current management issues are primarily associated with pest plants (e.g. Blackberry Rubus fruticosus, Spanish Heath Erica lusitanica, Sweet Pittosporum Pittosporum unulatum) and pest animals (e.g. Feral Cat Felis catus, Sambar Deer Rusa unicolor, Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus).
The Trust has also implemented a small-scale Burgan Kunzea ericodes monitoring plan, looking at how this colonising species influences vegetation composition, diversity and structure. This will help inform future management actions for the Park.
Eltham Copper Butterfly Reserve
Trust for Nature purchased this small, one hectare property in Eltham after running a public appeal, with financial assistance from the former Shire of Eltham (now Nillumbik Shire Council) and the State Government.
The property is one of the most significant areas for the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly. An estimated 300 to 500 larvae of the butterfly have been recorded here.
The property is sparsley covered by eucalypts including Red Stringybark, Long-leaf Box and Candlebark. The vegetation is naturally quite open and conducive to the low flying activity of the butterfly.
Apart from the butterfly populations, a number of skinks and frogs have been identified on site.
The property is also likely to be home to ringtail and brushtail possums, echidnas, bats and sugar gliders. A variety of birds have been observed here.
The property is managed by Nillumbik Shire Council with the support of Trust for Nature.