ERF Newsletter - May 2016
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Image by Chelsea Templeton.
Growing Local and Connecting the Gaps
Growing Local.
ERF is continuing to work on rolling out the Sustainable Living Project, now branded as “Grow Local: Skills for Sustainability”. The focus is on delivering a series of engaging workshops that meet the contracted deliverables of both the Federal Government 25
th Anniversary Landcare Grant, and the Esperance Shire Council Community Grant, while helping ERF fulfill its goal of nurturing a sustainable Esperance. Future workshops include a two hour guided walk with Antoinette Vincent from Esperance Tree Farms. Participants will learn how to take native plant cuttings and propagate them. At the morning’s end their efforts will be rewarded with a mini tray of six cuttings each to take home. After lunch, a tour of the nursery is on offer. Other workshop subjects have been finalised, with topics to be covered including fermenting, patch from scratch, property planning and creation of a healthy top soil.
The first workshop will be fermenting, with the delightful Karli Florrison from Green Kitchen Cafe! Places will fill up fast, so be sure to contact us to book your place!
State NRM Project: Connecting Gaps.
This project involved the protection of land and revegetation of a creek line on the Walters property at Cascade. The quarterly progress report was recently submitted to State NRM for this project, and has been accepted. The project has continually moved ahead of schedule, and with the seed purchase of 25 kgs of salt tolerant seed now done, we are well on our way to completion. The next step will be treating the seed before sowing.

We are seeking volunteers to help with the seed treatment for this project. No experience is necessary, as Claudia Magana from South Coast NRM will be on hand to help teach those involved about the treatment process. Possibly two days volunteering required, but depending on numbers it may take only one day. To register your interest please email the ERF Executive Officer, Chelsea, on or phone 0409 750 878.
Profile of Growers' Market Participant :
Brad McMeikan
Above picture shows Brad (third from right) with participants at a soils workshop held on his property as part of ERFs Sustainable Agriculture Project in 2014.
Brad McMeikan has been a staunch supporter of the Esperance Growers Market for some time.
In order to gain access to his vegetable growing area, visitors to Brad McMeikan’s property have to first traverse a bridge which crosses the Dalyup River, and wend through native vegetation before arriving at an old style house built on the 43ha property in the early days of its development. Then there is a short walk along the river before reaching the flat, naturally rich soil which Brad is nurturing to produce a range of vegetables and fruit. Since establishing the garden about four years ago, he has produced watermelons, pumpkins, zucchinis and other vegetables, marketed at the Grower and Community Markets and directly to customers in Esperance.

“Daly Downs” is one of many small landholdings located along the Dalyup River, about 35km west of Esperance. Regarded as a local “food bowl” during Esperance’s early days, the gravelly loams which are a feature of the area enabled landholders to produce fruit, vegetables and other goods for consumption by locals and for distribution to markets as far away as the Goldfields to the north. The Dalyup catchment has been adversely affected by early clearing practices, and salinity is an issue and it has been an area targeted by land care projects in an effort to encourage vegetation and protection of the catchment and waterway.

What is different about what Brad is doing on his property is not so much about the farming techniques he is using as about the way he wants to involve other people in his farming experience. He already includes Willing Workers on Organic Farms in his life, and is keen to enable others to grow food on his property.

During the summer months, when the watermelons, pumpkins and zucchinis are thick on the ground, Brad can be found at the markets in Esperance, interacting with other growers and people keen to get their hands on local food. He is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable producer who is growing produce, while growing enthusiasm among others keen to both produce and consume locally produced food.
Fire Recovery Work
ERF is helping with the recovery process in the wake of the fires that ravaged our district in November 2015, with Management Committee Treasurer David Ford serving on the Shire of Esperance Fires Local Recovery Environmental Sub Committee.
The committee also comprises of Esperance Shire Councillor Lara McIntyre;  Shire Environmental Officer Julie Water; South Coast NRM Coastal Marine and Water Program Leader Dylan Gleave and Biodiversity Implementation Officer East Robyn Cail; Esperance Tjaljraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation member Doc Reynolds and Shire of Esperance Personal Assistant and Amelia Rolton.
According to the council, this committee is “currently looking into options that can reduce erosion hazards on both private and public land. This includes reestablishment of ground cover and artificial wind breaks. Vehicle access to Truslove Reserve and some areas around the lakes in Merivale will need to be managed to allow these areas to recover.”
“Work is underway to provide information to the community on how to assist the fire affected areas in the recovery process. This will include information on how to manage potential outbreaks of invasive species and the spreading of dieback. A review of the fire breaks installed during the fires is underway, this will determine those that need to remain as fire breaks and those that require rehabilitation.”
ERF has provided its support for a South Coast NRM application for a State Government Coastwest grant to help with recovery work.
Update on John Holland Planting - 2014
On Friday June 20th 2014, students from the Esperance Primary School and the Esperance Anglican Community School worked with ERF, and volunteers from South Coast NRM and the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Wayne Gill to plant 600 mixed species plants on 0.14 hectares of bare ground along the Esperance Port Access Corridor (EPAC) site. Coordinated by EPAC contractor John Holland in conjunction with ERF, the work gave the students a chance to get their hands dirty and enjoy the rewarding process of planting, but it helped soften the scars that are an inevitable part of large scale construction projects like the access corridor. Two years later, former John Holland Safety, Quality and Environment Officer, Ross Templeton visited the site with his children to see just how much the trees have grown. In a lovely twist of irony, the trees continue to be of interest to the Templeton family as Ross’ partner Chelsea is now ERF’s EO.
Volunteers planting trees at the site along the Esperance Port Access Corridor near Emily Street.
Ross Templeton and his children exploring the growth, two years on.
Update on School Environment Education program.
In 2014 ERF was able to support the School Environmental Education program implemented by South Coast NRM. As a result of funding provided by the Esperance Rotary Club, ERF was able to supply assistance which initially included the assistance of engagement officer Sam Grogan in helping with the education program and school outings, and as a longer term investment enabled the purchase and maintenance of scientific equipment needed to make the program a reality. South Coast NRM Regional Landcare Facilitator - East (acting) Caitlin Jackson provided ERF with an update on this project.
“South Coast NRM was delighted to once again work with year 11 students from Esperance Anglican Community School to discover, donning waders and armed with scoop nets, what macroinvertebrates exist in our local wetlands, and to investigate the quality of the water. Similarly, young people of Esperance took the opportunity to take a look down the microscopes at some aquatic animals scooped up from the Adventureland Park pond during the well-attended Kids Fun Day Out on 13th March.
South Coast NRM is grateful for ERF’s and Rotary’s support in funding equipment that has enabled our local young people to engage with and thus develop an understanding and appreciation for the local environment.”
Wicking Beds.
The first Grow Local 2016 workshop was one which gave people the chance to learn how to create wicking beds for their gardens. Presenters Geoff Tonkin & Marli Starcevich showed people how to create wicking beds, garden plots which are easily maintained, use very little water, are compact and easy to set up.
Rather than detail the process involved in setting up a bed in this newsletter, we have provided links to some gardening sites which have wonderful descriptions and diagrams of various wicking beds; the info provided is from sources like ABC Gardening, and are inspirational and useful in getting your wicking bed happening!
Diagram courtesy of PWPS Kitchen Garden.

And here are some additional resources provided by ERF to help make your wicking beds wonderful!
“Fact Sheet: Building a Wicking Bed.”
Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Presenter: Sophie Thomson, 24/05/2014
SERIES 25 Episode 10
“Wicking Beds.”
Sustainable Gardening Australia. Posted by Helen Tuton.
“Wicking Garden Beds”
Costas Garden Odyssey. SBS. Presenter: Costa
“Building a Wicking Bed”
“From the Bottom Up – A DIY Guide to Wicking Beds”.

Amazing opportunity with the Piper Prize, so head to the website for more info!
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