All the latest news and events at the Port Phillip EcoCentre. Local Action = Global Future!
Port Phillip EcoCentre logo.   EcoCentre News August 2016

In this Issue: Rap for Less Litter / Naked Shopping / Place-Based Education / Earthcare St Kilda / Community Compost / Wanted: Loo Rolls / EcoCentre Events / Affiliate Events / Volunteer Opportunities / Other Events & Opportunities
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Hip to the Hop for Less to the Litter!
Rapping for less litter? Is that really what the fine institution of Hip-Hop is all about? Well, it is now, because a little bit of litter matters a heck of a lot! 

A Little Bit of Litter - MOOP Patrol squares off against MC Guttermouth.


Image of MOOP Patrol vs MC Guttermouth by Rachel Gedye Photography.

The EcoCentre's Turn Off the Tap project (funded by the state government's Litter Hotspots Program) works with schools, community groups and councils on a range of litter education, prevention and clean-up projects to stop litter from entering storm water drains and impacting the Port Phillip Bay catchment. 

Our Port Phillip Baykeeper Neil Blake has been educating and motivating the public to act on behalf of the water and its inhabitants for the past 30 years. He's now turned his attention to Hip-Hop as a means to spread the message that "A Little Bit of Litter Really Matters!" (I guess it had to happen sooner or later ...)

Follow his musical journey with fellow musicians MOOP Patrol and MC Guttermouth on the Pozible campaign that will be launched this month under the title 'A Little Bit of Litter' and stay in touch via this facebook link.

 
OUR CHIEF SPEAKS: Naked Shopping // Sign On to Ban Needless Plastics
I've become a rock star at sourcing 'naked' (no-packaging) food and supplies thanks to Plastic Free July, a global challenge to avoid all single-use plastic for one month. Single use plastic refers to the 'throwaway' plastic thrust upon us each day, like straws, wrappers and cheap bags. Plastic also nefariously hides, like in humble tea bags. The marvellous news is: most plastic is habit, not necessity, and Plastic Free July is a social prompt to swap habits. Many swaps are simple and often pleasurable! Join our party tonight to celebrate what we learned in July.

April donating blood.Yes: I do still use plastic, but only when it is the most sensible option - examples include my bike helmet, my tupperware, and medical equipment when I donated blood last week.  >>

Single-use, lightweight plastics easily become accidental litter through factory spills, or by blowing out of overstuffed bins. Ever seen beanbag 'snow' on a nature strip? Tragic for wildlife! Toxin-absorbent, immortal, tangly plastic is correlated with health issues for the oceans, animals and humans.

Fishing out plastics at Sea Shepherd's cleanup.Victoria is currently considering commonsense legislation to ban needless single-use plastic. Sign the online Plastic Free Sea petition to ban single use bags, cosmetic microbeads, and excess packaging on supermarket produce. Who needs a shrink-wrapped cucumber?! Take it from me - it's a joy to buy your produce 'naked'.        - April


April & Fam fishing out litter (primarily plastics) at Sea Shepherd's clean-up.
Sign on HERE to ban single-use plastics in VIC
STAFF SPARK: Place-Based Education
Sharron Hunter, Educator at the EcoCentre is passionate about Place-Based Education. What’s that, you may well ask, as I Sar (Admin Ninja at the EcoCentre) certainly did.

Place-based Education deepens people’s knowledge and appreciation of the place where they live. Kids get excited about their local environment if they see it in action, blooming, twittering, and growling all around them! They get curious once they get out in nature and start connecting: playing, learning, and spotting local plants and animals. Quite naturally they start to care and protect the environment. 

Adults are the same.
Sharron Hunter, Educator at the EcoCentre.
So getting kids (and older people’s inner children) to connect with their local place is the first key step to connecting them with national and international environmental issues. Why should you care about what’s happening in Antarctica if you don’t care what’s happening in your own backyard? And why should you care about your backyard if you never enjoy it, and haven’t been taught to see its not-so-hidden wonders?

Sharron shared that she’s delighted by the award-winning work of the EcoCentre’s Wildlife Ambassador, Gio Fitzpatrick. Using his rich awareness of urban ecology Gio highlights local treasures to residents. Since he was a boy he’s been learning about the incredible diversity of our wildlife (that persists despite human impact), and although Sharron is old enough to be his grandmother, she’s learned a lot from him.

There’s so much to see right here in our local parks, along Elster Creek, in the rejuvenated indigenous landscape of Westgate Park, the wetlands, Catani Gardens, Port Phillip Bay’s beaches, St Kilda pier, and our very own backyards.
Tawny Frogmouth.
Sharron has learned to her surprised pleasure that the odd-looking tawny frogmouth lives in the St Kilda area! It breeds in the Botanical Gardens, flying around our neighbourhoods at night, chowing down on insects, worms, slugs and snails (yum). Just by knowing what to look out and listen for (they’re camouflage experts!), she now spots them much more. Before Gio’s lesson Sharron never saw one.

That’s the difference that place-based education makes!

To find out more about our place-based excursions go here. Or for teacher professional development workshops, go here.

 
SPOTLIGHT ON AFFILIATES: Earthcare St Kilda
The EcoCentre acts as an 'umbrella group' providing support to like-minded organisations so that we all achieve more. This month we focus on our affiliate Earthcare St Kilda. Find more info on affiliate membership here

Earthcare St Kilda is a non-profit volunteer group that works in partnership with local government, state government bodies and specialists to improve the natural resources of the City of Port Phillip, from Port Melbourne to Elwood. They aim to protect the local natural environment, as well as increasing the diversity and extent of indigenous flora and fauna.

Current projects include monitoring the health of the Little Penguin and Rakali (water rat) populations, providing a Penguin guide service, re-vegetating the foreshore, removal of litter and much more. They are purely volunteer-run and welcome new members to participate in their invaluable work. You can find out more details and download a membership form here. And be sure to book in for the free Penguin Symposium on Saturday 27 August ... celebrating 30 years of Little Penguin research!

 
NEWS: Community Compost / Wanted Loo Rolls
Community Compost Steaming Once More
You may remember our popular community compost bins. Did you know that they were so popular with locals that we were overwhelmed with the demand? Well now we're back in action, thanks to some dedicated volunteers stepping up to the muck (quite literally), and regularly turning them. We have been trialing the bins with staff and volunteer waste. They're steaming ahead nicely.

So we're now happy to accept more foodscraps. Community compost is go!


If bringing in foodscraps for the compost, the following must be strictly observed: no plastic bags (including 'biodegradable' ones), no meat, and no dairy. Remove all fruit stickers, rubber bands, and other plastic items. Any foodscraps that do not comply with the above will be binned. We need to be strict because otherwise the compost doesn't breakdown properly. Those worms and mites may be mighty but they're not that mighty!
 
For information on dropping your foodscraps off, please drop by the EcoCentre. Or contact Anthony on anthony@ecocentre.com or 9534 0670.

Longing for Loo Rolls
Did you know that we use loo rolls for weird and wonderful Eco-Innovations? Our Garden Team uses them to propagate and sell heirloom seedlings. Our Corporate Volunteers use them to propagate coastal vegetation to re-vegetate Little Penguin habitat.

How can you help? Donate your loo rolls to the EcoCentre! Drop them off during business hours, or leave them in the toilet roll tub on the back porch (please don't pack them in plastic bags if possible).

 
ECOCENTRE EVENTS 
Plastic Free July Celebration
Thursday 4 August, 6:00-8:30pm at EcoCentre, 55A Blessington St ST KILDA

Have you done Plastic Free July this year? (tried not to use any single-use plastic items for a whole month) Or are you a newbie and want to be prepared for next year? Whichever category you fall into, let's celebrate this year's successes and learnings, while indulging in food and drink. Bring a plate of plastic-free food to share. We will provide some celebratory bubbles for the occasion!

Elwood Poetry Prize 2016 (Theme "Beach") 
Entries accepted until Thursday 11 August

Fancy yourself a poet and you know it? Time is getting short to showcase your talent. Read up on our 7th Annual Elwood Poetry Prize (put on in conjunction with City of Port Phillip) and download an entry form here. Remember to make 3 copies of your entry.

TEN Teacher Professional Development
Wednesday 17 August, 4:00-5:30pm at Beaumaris Primary School, Dalgetty Rd

Topic: Waste Not, Want Not. This workshop will feature teachers from Beaumaris Primary showcasing what they've done to address the issues of Waste in their school. It includes shared lesson plans for simple yet effective classroom activities on waste which examine our wants and needs. You can also share ideas and inspiration with other teachers. These workshops are fully funded by City of Port Phillip and Bayside City Councils. Please RSVP - email ten@ecocentre.com.

A Little Bit of Litter Really Matters
Thursday 1 - Wednesday 14 September

An up and coming Australian hip-hop artist known as MC Guttermouth has been spreading dirty words. He has written a song and it's catchy, convincing people that a little bit of litter doesn't matter. Does it matter? We need your help to tell it to him ... Read More.

11th Annual Sustainable Schools Festival
Friday 9 September, 9:30am-2:30pm at St Kilda Town Hall & Port Phillip EcoCentre

A fantastic sustainability day open to all schools, filled with 'Kids Teaching Kids' workshops (sponsored by Cities of Port Phillip, Bayside & Stonnington), awards and fun. Find out more and book here.

EcoArts Festival
Saturday 24 September, 3:30-7:30pm at EcoCentre, 55A Blessington St ST KILDA

Join us for the EcoArts Festival, a community festival to connect with nature, create art, and share stories and ideas! Make sure you see the spectacle of Illuminate 2030, a roaming projection work that will explore different future climate scenarios for the City of Port Phillip. Bookmark the date. Find out more here.

 
AFFILIATE EVENTS
SKINC - Book Binding with Native Plant Fibres
Saturday 20 August, 11:00am-1:00pm at SKINC Nursery, 525 Williamstown Rd PORT MELBOURNE

Come and learn how to make your own book! SKINC indigenous nursery co-op is excited to be hosting a new workshop which will teach you about how to book bind using recycled materials and native plant fibres. You will learn traditional binding techniques, how to prepare your paper, and make your own unique book covers. Cost $45. Please book here.

Earthcare St Kilda - Penguin Symposium
Saturday 27 August, 10:00am-4:00pm at MEMO, 88 Ackland St ST KILDA

Right now there are Little Penguins warming their eggs on the breakwater! Attend Earthcare's Penguin Symposium, where you can catch up on all the latest penguin news. This is a special event to mark 30 years of continuous research of the St Kilda Little Penguin colony with a program of interesting presentations about Little Penguins. Please book here.

Australian Coastal Society - Coast to Coast Conference
Monday 29 August - Friday 2 September at MCG, Brunton Ave RICHMOND

The Victorian Coastal Council with the Australia Coastal Society and partners will be hosting the national coastal conference Coast to Coast in Melbourne in 2016. To help create the best Coast to Coast please take this short survey to share your thoughts and ideas.

OASES Graduate School - Saturday Breakfast
Saturday 3 September, 9:00-11:30am at Augstine Centre, 2 Minona St HAWTHORN

The OASES Breakfast Series is a bi-monthly event featuring local and international guests discussing topics across a variety of subjects, such as recent events on food, spirituality, democracy, and education for sustainability and social change. Tickets include a vegetarian breakfast, with vegan and gluten free options also available. Read more and book here.


 
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
EcoArts Festival
Saturday 24 September, Lead-up plus varying times from 2:00-7:30pm at EcoCentre

Our EcoCentre is excited to be hosting an EcoArts Festival. We're after volunteers who would like to get involved in various roles in the lead up and on the day including: Safety Marshals, Welcome Desk, Nature Walks (to the EcoCentre from another location), Fire Observer, Workshop Helpers, General Helpers. Please email expressions of interest to anthony@ecocentre.com.

EcoCentre Community Garden
Regularly on Fridays with the Garden Team

Our Community Garden is looking for volunteers who can donate up to 5 hours on a Friday to test out those green thumbs. We like to build relationships with our garden volunteers, so the more you can attend the better, whether it is once a week, once a fortnight, or once a month!

Our garden is a shared edible community garden maintained by garden-lovers. It is also an education garden on sustainable planting. We focus on growing heirloom varieties, soil creation, propagation and seed-saving, companion planting, and organic methods. Our gardeners enjoy being involved in community spirit, learning and practising gardening skills, harvesting and eating healthy and indigenous foods, the health benefits of gardening in nature, and leading the way in community food security.

Are you up for the challenge? Contact Anthony on anthony@ecocentre.com to get involved.


 
OTHER EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES
EPA Victoria - Science by the Sea: Help Shed Light on Microplastics
Saturday 13 August, 10:00am-1:00pm at Beachcomber Cafe, St Kilda Beach

To improve their understanding of microplastics (tiny pieces of plastic that pollute our waterways and beaches), Environment Protection Authority Victoria is calling on ‘citizen scientists’ and interested beach-lovers to join them for a trip to St Kilda Beach, where you’ll hear more about the issue from their scientists, take samples, and learn how to spot microplastics under coloured lights. Book in here

Job Opportunity: The Squeaky Wheel - Executive Director
Applications due by Wednesday 17 August 10am

The Squeaky Wheel is a not for profit producing and advocacy organisation celebrating bicycles as vehicles for change. They're searching for an Executive Director to lead the organisation into its next stage of growth. See application details here.

 
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