All the latest news and events at the Port Phillip EcoCentre. Monthly 5-minute positive action.
Port Phillip EcoCentre logo.   EcoCentre News April '17
In this Issue: Learn from our Chief how you can make a meaningful difference in just 5 minutes. Celebrate the achievements of the Warburton Trash and Turd Patrol! Discover why Environmental Problems are Everyone's courtesy of Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation. Watch our new youtube video on Captain Trash. Come to our upcoming event on what Gio and others learned in Antarctica. Read up on our hardworking affiliate, Beach PatrolDiscover what's on at the EcoCentre and locally. Check out the latest vollie opportunities. Or just browse some cool extras.
5-minute meaningful action: A pledge as leverage
Last Saturday at 7:30 am, workers clocked out of the last ever shift at Hazelwood brown coal power station. FAQs here. Victoria is visibly in transition to a renewable energy future (which is expected to fairly quickly balance out power costs). We citizens play a crucial role! This Month's Meaningful Action: Make a pledge on Take2.

The Victorian website collects public commitments to tackle climate change. Completing this quick action provides 3 benefits:
  • provides a list of climate-positive actions for you to choose;
  • demonstrates public support to "de-risk" eco-friendly investments by industry
  • holds future government to climate commitments, by recording majority support.

We are Take 2 Founding Members. Our core operations are carbon-smart in the "obvious" ways (cycling to many programs, sourcing renewable energy, zero waste policy, providing energy efficiency audits) but also strategic ways. For example, protecting a healthy Bay enables marine ecosystems to do their natural job of storing carbon. What are your everyday and strategic commitments?   ~ April

"No trash too small, no turd too big!"
Litter Hotspots legends receive recognition reward: Our Litter Hotspots champions, Ben and Ruth Aldridge were recently awarded the Ian De La Rue Award in the Yarra Ranges for showing unwavering commitment to reducing rubbish found along the Yarra River. Ben and Ruth have been Litter championscollecting litter in Warburton every single day for a number of years under the guise of Warburton Trash and Turd Patrol with a motto of "no trash too small, no turd too big!"

In recent times, Ben and Ruth represent Upper Yarra Landcare who have been actively engaged in the Litter Hotspots project, a State government funded waste inititiative through Port Phillip EcoCentre.  Their monthly waste audits have been a valuable contribution to the Litter Hotspots project, explicitally documenting their findings of litter.

The Australia Day awards ceremony took place at Burrinja Cultural Centre, Upwey following the citizenship ceremony and awards were presented to recipients by Yarra Ranges Mayor, Cr Noel Cliff.

Yarra Ranges Mayor Noel Cliff said the awards ceremony provided an opportunity to recognise residents and groups who contribute their skills and time to the Yarra Ranges community.

Although a long way from Port Phillip Bay in Warburton, the Aldridges have a thoughtful motto of "the ocean starts here."  Not only should Yarra Ranges be proud of the actions and commitment of the Aldridges, residents and visitors alike from the Yarra river catchment should be glad that litter from upstream was intercepted and thoughtfully disposed of, prior to heading to Port Phillip Bay. ~Bronnie
Environmental Problems are Really Everyone's Problems
"We often refer to ‘environmental issues’, as if they’re separate from us." ~Daniel Pediaditis, Sustainable Melbourne Program Manager, at the recent Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation event attended by April.

"However, there is no real separation between social, economic and environmental systems. They are interdependent and increasingly global in nature," Daniel said at the State Library last week.

"The planet does not have infinite resources and an infinite capacity to process our waste. There are finite limits to what the planet can absorb and what it can supply to us. We need to find ways to live within those limits.

Environmental problems are really everyone's problems. All of us, governments, businesses and the community need to transition toward a more sustainable economy quickly. We have the technology, the expertise and wealth to make that happen."

Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation (LMCF) have provided the EcoCentre critical funding support for innovation, capacity building and strategic network development. LMCF take an impact-based approach that includes investment, research, strategic communications and enabling philanthropy. Their work aligns with our own Vision for community actively cultivating long-term social and environmental well-being, and we have no doubt we are a stronger organisation through their partnership. ~April
Captain Trash teaches kids the 5 ARRRGHS!
Captain Trash isn't a real pirate ... he's an unreal pirate! He's the rollicking alter ego of Port Phillip Baykeeper, Neil Blake. This lovable pirate educates kids of all ages on the 5 ARRRGHS: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse and Remove. His message is to leave only footprints on the sand ... not litter.

Our youtube channel EcoCentreTV has a new video of Captain Trash in action. Watch him here. To discover more about the Captain's services

Captain Trash is especially popular with Early Learning and Primary kids, and can be booked for litter audits, shoreline shell surveys, and festivals.

Using pirate humour, strumming the ukulele, and rapping funny lyrics, Captain Trash gets kids' attention. He's a big character but not so big that he doesn't have a solid scientific underpinning. 

Download our free Captain Trash Activity booklet! Your kids can colour him in, sing his song, and figure out ways they can do the 5 Arrrghs.
Bookings: Captain Trash is bookable starting from $250 +GST for incursions and $500 +GST for festivals and events. He's a popular speaker, especially gifted at giving young kids a solid grounding in sustainability. Make a booking.

Captain Trash in action
What I learned in Antarctica ...
Our multi-award-winning 20 year old Youth Wildlife Ambassador Gio has just returned from Terra Australis ('Southern Land'), otherwise known as Antarctica. When asked for a quote about his trip he said, "Antarctica - almost as spectacular as Elster Creek!" This is not surprising given his longtime love and exploration of Elster Creek, and convenership of Friends of Elster Creek. (To join him in spotting "more species at Elster Creek than there are at Melbourne Zoo" join our Biodiversity Blitz this weekend!)

At our special event What I Learned in Antarctica you can hear Gio's spectacular stories of Antarctica's breathtaking biodiversity. You'll also hear the stories of three other visitors to Antarctica, including Nicko Lunardi, a volunteer sparky on Sea Shepherd's recent Operation Nemesis.

Gio hiking in Antarctica 

Join us on Thursday 11 May 7pm at One Space Two, 127-129 Fitzroy Street St Kilda. This special night is free but bookings are essential.

On the night, we welcome donations to the EcoCentre Youth Wildlife Ambassador program so that more kids (and grown ups) can work with Gio in his local educational role. All donations of $2+ are tax deductible.
Beach Patrol
EcoCentre affiliated group, Beach Patrol addresses the marine litter crisis through direct action. Direct action involves the engagement of the community via individual suburb based groups to clean their local beach and foreshore and collecting data on the results of each clean up.

Beach Patrol is an organised network of volunteers, and community beach cleaning groups. Each group is defined by its suburb, is comprised of residents of that suburb and is named according to the relevant post code. 

The groups operate on a very simple model. Local residents sign up on the Beach Patrol website to become members of their selected group. Members then pledge one hour of voluntary beach cleaning per month. This cleaning is done either at the discretion of the member or as a part of organised monthly group cleans. Group cleans are usually conducted on Saturday mornings, are followed by a fun, social coffee session and are also a great way to get to know people from the neighbourhood. The extra buzz comes from members being able to share in the enjoyment of doing their bit for the local environment.

Love Our Street is a newer initiative whereby each Love Our Street group cleans a street in their area.  All too often litter originates in the street then gets washed down to a beach.  LOS volunteers tackle streets in their area to bring back their beauty and stop the litter from traveling downstream. Contact: or their facebook page.

Beach Patrol write on their website: "As Melbournians we are SO LUCKY to have such an array of beautiful inner city beaches and helping to look after them in the beach patrol way will help secure their bright future and is actually rewarding not onerous. Unfortunately beaches are often littered by a careless minority and via all sorts of rubbish that finds its way to the sand through the water ways of Melbourne. Yes! Street, pavement, errant and accidental litter once it hits our gutters is washed through the storm water system by rain and ends up in The Yarra and or Port Phillip Bay. The tides then do the rest! Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws and just about anything plastic (it all floats) are the worst offenders along with cigarette butts."

Find out more about Beach Patrol here or become a member.
What's On
Wed 5 - Fri 7 Apr in Richmond - The EcoCentre's very own April and Fam join Melbourne International Comedy Festival's Allsorts, a comedy variety hour. Book in for some ecologically informative fun! All profits donated to us.
Fri 7 Apr in Sandringham - Friends of Native Wildlife is running a Rakali Discovery. Join them on the foreshore searching for Australia's only semi-aquatic mammal besides the platypus.
Sat 8 Apr at Elster Creek - The EcoCentre team (including Gio and April) are running a Biodiversity Blitz where we try to spot more species in a single day than there are at Melbourne Zoo! Find out more and register.
Sun 9 Apr at Pier's Festival - The EcoCentre will have "Litter & Health of Bay" info stall with a penguin focus. Come along from 11am-3pm to learn more.
Wed 12 Apr at the EcoCentre - We're running a Garden Sensory Safari to celebrate Nature Play Week. Bring your 2-5 yr olds on safari in the St Kilda Botanic Gardens. They'll explore nature and make natural artworks. Please book.
Wed 12 Apr in Sandringham - Friends of Native Wildlife is running their regular Frog Watch Winter 2017. Learn how to identify local frog calls, and some of the places you may find them in Bayside.
Thurs 20 Apr in Parkville - EcoCentre affiliate EarthSong are hosting a conversation with Bruce Pascoe, Bunurong man and author of Dark Emu. Fam our resident Marine Biologist calls his book "groundbreaking stuff". Details here.
Sat 29 Apr in Port Melbourne - Our Exec Officer April will be speaking at City of Port Phillip heritage event, Changing Minds: Contemporary Women's Activism. Engage with key political and social issues. Bookings essential.Be the RE-Generation crew in action!
Sat 29 Apr in Elwood - Plastic Bag Free Elwood are holding their first sewing bee to make reusable bags from donated fabric. These will be distributed in wooded boxes across nearby suburbs. Details TBA on their facebook.
Sun 30 Apr in Port Melbourne - Port Picnic by the Vibrant Village Partnership. This free event will include the EcoCentre with a stall about Little Penguins. Come visit us between 2-4pm at Garden City Reserve.

Every Sunday in Apr at St Kilda Pier - Be the RE-Generation: Young people (15-25 yrs) meet to help protect the biodiversity of our beloved Port Phillip Bay. Citizen Science activities include penguin habitat enhancement, beach profiling, and live mollusc surveys. Have fun and meet others while helping the local environment! Sign up to our mailing list for updates about events. Be the change you want to see ...
Be a Vollie!
Seeking a Drill and/or Cordless Drill: Your donated drill will help the EcoCentre continue to deliver our nesting box programs (ours has just died). Any generous souls who may be able to assist?

Arts Festival Climarte (Art + Climate = Change 2017) is seeking enthusiastic, friendly and reliable volunteers to help out with a variety of festival tasks. Fill out the volunteer application. Any questions to Julie at mail@climarte.og
Every Friday at EcoCentre - Community Garden Group. Seeking green thumbs, propagationers, waterers, and  training black thumbs to be greener.
Cool Extras
Save St Kilda Road: Check out this video map that shows the disruption that will be caused by the senseless destruction of St Kilda Road's finest (heritage listed) trees. Sign the 2 petitions. Also read this ABC news article on the issue that features our very own Bronnie as one of the very concerned local residents.
Little penguins moulting
When balloons fly, seabirds die. Zoos Victoria is running a campaign on stopping releasing balloons outdoors. Watch their video on the Shearwaters of Lord Howe Island. Spread the word via social media!
Six Bits of Plastic that you Need to Stop Using: Small changes, big difference! If you need ideas on how to cut down on single-use plastic, this article is a good place to start.
Bring your foodscraps for the EcoCentre's Community Compost: Deposit them into the mini green compost bin on our veranda. Thanks to our generous volunteers we are up and running again.

Cool Penguin Fact: Only a few days to go before St Kilda's iconic Little Penguins finish moulting. Then they can get back into the water for a feed! Penguins can't swim when they moult because they're not waterproof when they're changing over their feathers. So they gorge themselves on fish before being landlocked for 2 weeks, hoping their fat reserves will get them through.
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