EcoCentre March News

In this Issue: New EcoCentre project / NAB Volunteer Day / Schools & Community Education News / EcoCentre March events / Bicycle Mayhem activities / Volunteering / Other local events
The photos above show the festive launch of our new Baykeeper Catchment Education project in Sorrento in February. This was a joint event that also celebrated the Mornington Peninsula towns of Blairgowrie and Mt Martha going plastic bag free, and the launch of 3941 Beach Patrol Rye. The Baykeeper Neil Blake and EcoCentre staff were joined on the Polperro by community leaders, including the likes of Mayor Cr Bev Colomb, Ian Kiernan (the grandfather of Clean Up Australia Day), Norm McKinlay and Phil Wierzbowski from CoastCare (pictured top right). The rare, endemic Burrunan dolphins came to celebrate with us in great numbers, as if they knew exactly that they are going to be on the receiving end of these positive community initiatives (bottom right photo by Stan Vermeeren).

Project: Baykeeper Catchment Education 
Baykeeper and EcoCentre director Neil Blake has been advocating for the health of Port Phillip Bay and its unique wildlife for decades. But he doesn't just talk! Over the years he has collected a large body of research data on shells, shellfish, litter, water quality, sea stars, birds and other happenings in the Bay. This is necessary to record and prove any possible changes in biodiversity and habitat over time. Many of these research projects are the first ever to be done in the Bay. Now we are looking for help to make these projects even bigger.

This project is looking to expand biodiversity and litter monitoring efforts to community groups, businesses and individuals all around the Bay. Ideally these participants would already have a strong connection to the Bay, and are willing to adopt some easy-to-do monitoring methods into their usual Bay-related activities. The aim is to get different groups and people using the same methods, so we can combine the results into one big body of citizen science research. Together, we can monitor every corner of the Bay and contribute to its well-being.

Do you recognise yourself in the above description and want to get involved? Then email us at

This project is sponsored by the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation
Volunteers from NAB joined forces with the EcoCentre to make a difference in the community. They picked up over 6,100 cigarette butts on Blessington Street and St Kilda dog beach, built a raingarden and a model of the sandstone cliffs of Port Phillip Bay. Some brave souls even turned the compost!

Together they earned $4,200 in volunteer credits that they donate so that a local school can get a rebate on a rain water tank. Plus they learned how to build a rain garden, a skill they can apply at home.

Are you a resident of the Elster Creek catchment and are you interested in getting a subsidised water tank or rain garden, or want to help a neighbour or local school get one? Check out the EcoCentre's new Well Waters project, made possible by the Office of Living Victoria.
St Columba's Primary School students (above left) are kicking goals in the energy and waste-reduction departments. Congratulations on earning their first Sustainability Star for ResourceSmart Schools! Read more here 

Elsternwick Primary School (above right) is working with Andrea Eales on saving energy through sustainable transport, as preparation for Ride to School Day. The kids made their own videos on active transport. Watch them on EcoCentreTV here, here and here.

As part of the Baykeeper Catchment Education program, environmental leadership teams from Mac.Rob Girls, Melbourne Grammar, Brighton Secondary and marine biology students from Melbourne Girls College spent a day on board research vessel Pelican 1, sailing Port Phillip Bay (below right). They made pledges to change one thing in their school that would reduce litter and plastic use in their schools. We can't wait to see the results.

The EcoCentre is working together with Hobson's Bay Council on a study of cigarette butt litter in several Hobson's Bay localities. In two sessions, over 21,000 butts were collected. The hotspots were recorded to give Council greater insight in problem areas and possible solutions to this littering problem. Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate and consist of twelve thousand plastic-based fibres. This plastic, like all other plastics, is not biodegradable and causes problems when ingested by wildlife.

The butts were picked up by Tim Silverwood from Take3 to be displayed in an artwork in Sydney.

Photo above left: The Port Phillip Baykeeper with EcoCentre staff and amazing volunteers from Christ Church Community Centre.


Bushtucker workshop & cookup
Tuesday 24 March
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Join Aunty Carolyn Briggs for this special evening workshop. After a Welcome to Country, you will learn to identify local native plants that can be used in the kitchen, and enjoy a delicious meal.

Location: gather at the EcoCentre 
Cost: $45 full/$30 concession, EcoCentre Green Members and children under 12
BOOK HERE or ring 9534 0670

Baykeepers screening
Tuesday 17 March
5:30 pm

Join the Port Phillip Baykeeper Neil Blake and Youth Wildlife Ambassador Gio Fitzpatrick for a public screening of Baykeepers, followed by a Q&A.

Location: Frankston High School Hall, Corner of Towerhill Rd and Foot St, Frankston 3199

Community Clean Up & BBQ
Sunday 26 March
9:00 am

Hate litter and plastic pollution? So do we! Tangaroa BlueFriends of Westgate Park, Beach Patrol and the EcoCentre are joining forces for a foreshore clean-up! All tools provided and stick around for a free BBQ afterwards

Location: Westgate Punt Ferry, Port Melbourne

A Walk Trough Deep Time
Sunday 15 March
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

As we take a contemplative 4.6km walk, we'll develop an understanding of how the Earth has evolved across its 4.6 billion year lifespan.

Starting point: The Grumpy Swimmer Bookshop, 110 Ormond Rd, Elwood

Monthly Community Gardening
Sunday 22 March
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Like to garden? Our friendly garden team invites you to come and get your hands dirty. Plant a seed, socialise with your local community and ask your burning gardening questions.

Location: EcoCentre community garden

Backyard Garden Artsplay
Sealife Panorama

Sunday 15 & 29 March 
10:30 am - 12:00 am

Sharing a snapshot panorama of our amazing Port Phillip Bay's thriving sea life as a life size assemblage, using recyclable materials & nature objects. A family friendly outdoors arts project for eco-youngsters aged 4-12.

Location: EcoCentre garden, under the story tree. $5 donation, no booking necessary.

We would like to welcome the Port Phillip BUG as our new official EcoCentre affiliate. It's great to work with such a passionate, active crew bent on sustainable transport and community building. Go on one of their March rides and join the club as a member to support this great community initiative.

Elster Creek Wellwaters Wellbeing Ride
Saturday 14 March 2015, depart 10:30am (Point Ormond return) 
A roll along Elster Creek from the Bay to learn more about this interesting waterway. Help the catchment with a couple of litter clean ups along the way. Refresh with a delicious lunch from the popular Oases bakery. Learn more about local rainwater/rain garden initiatives. Less than 20 km, bring money for lunch. All ages and abilities welcome.

Studley Park Ride
Sunday 15th March, depart 9 am from the EcoCentre
We'll be exploring  beautiful Studley park taking the waterfall and the boathouse as well as all the beautiful nature so close to the city. From the Eco Centre we'll ride into the city and along the Yarra Trail to Studley park. It has a couple of hills but they should be manageable for everyone. We'll have a snack or a coffee at the boathouse before riding back. Estimated return 2 pm.
Councillors Ride & Drinks
Thursday 26th March, depart 6 pm from EcoCentre
A gentle ride along the Port Phillip foreshore followed by local drinks/dinner. Your chance to chat with Councillors Bernadene Voss, Jane Touzeau, Serge Thomann  & Mayor Amanda Stevens.

Ride & Drinks with Sam Hibbens (Greens MP, Prahran)
Tuesday 31st March, 2015 depart 6 pm from EcoCentre
A gentle ride along the Port Phillip foreshore followed by local drinks/dinner. Your chance to chat with Sam.
We are looking for regular, dedicated volunteers who are interested in organic gardening on Fridays. Experience in and knowledge of gardening is favorable, but not a necessity. Being reliable and a team-player are! Tasks are: watering, weeding, propagation, composting, worm farming, mulching and general site maintenance.
Check out our volunteer page for more information.

For our new Well Waters project, we hope to team up with 2 or 3 volunteers who are able to help us for half a day on 12 Saturdays over the next 6 Months. You would be engaging with community volunteers, recording attendance and promoting Well Waters gardens. Training provided. Contact
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