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

In this Issue: AGM Invitation / Interconnections are Addictive! / Into the Wilds / Friends of Westgate Park / Zero Waste Birthday PartiesEcoCentre Events / Affiliate Events / Volunteer Opportunities / Other Events
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You're Invited to our AGM
We invite you to come along to our Annual General Meeting on Sunday 23 October at 2:00pm (light refreshments from 1:30pm). Right before at 12.30pm we're hosting a celebration of the EcoCentre’s Affiliate organisations. You're most welcome to join us!

EcoCentre and Garden.
We are calling for nominations of candidates for election as officers of the Committee of Management. These can be made on the Committee Nomination Form downloadable from our website's homepage. (They must reach the Secretary no less than seven days before the meeting.)
After the AGM, there will be a short presentation by April Seymore our Executive Officer, and a discussion on the EcoCentre activities. Your membership (you can sign up or renew on our website) and participation are valuable demonstrations of support for the EcoCentre. We hope to see you on 23 October!

OUR CHIEF SPEAKS: Interconnections are Addictive!
The world is interconnected. The more we notice this, the more we understand the magical (and mathematical) stories of the ecosystems around us, discern how our everyday decisions matter far beyond what we perceive, and learn why what happens in the 'burbs impacts on the Bay. This underpins the EcoCentre's holistic approach which we're sharing nationally as the Victorian Finalist in the Keep Australia Beautiful National Clean Beaches Awards. We're proud to showcase our community's collaboration at West Beach St Kilda.

Once you begin to notice interconnections, studying them is addictive! The fields of art, mathematics and science provide common pathways for humans to structure our curiosity about patterns, and find stories of interconnectivity - like How Wolves Change Rivers.

Like a Nancy Drew for nature, detecting patterns fuel my nerd superpowers. So imagine my delight when Melbourne Water posted this on Instagram, showing the correlation between water usage and toilet breaks during the Grand Final. (GO DOGGIES!) Full disclosure: I advocate for a future where onsite rain tanks flush our loos, so this particular graph would become less pronounced in its peaks and troughs. But meanwhile, isn't this a divinely satisfying visual?

Melbourne's Water Use during the 2016 AFL Grand Final.
STAFF SPARK: Into the Wilds
During some recent Leave I (Sar Clarke, Admin Ninja at the EcoCentre) journeyed into the wilds (or at least the semi-wilds). I took myself to Briagolong which is about 3.5 hours from Melbourne by car (although I swear it took me longer). I wanted to immerse myself in Nature, and stay somewhere off the beaten track, surrounded by the Aussie bush. I discovered some cabins deep in 'wombat country' without electricity, without internet or phone reception (at least by my provider ...), and without other people.

What sparks my passion is Nature in all its diverse wonder. I experience a deep connectiveness to the Earth as one of its creatures - a nourished and meant-to-be part of the whole. I like to spend time relating with Nature, enjoying Nature, and receiving its generous gifts.

It hasn't always been this way ... Nature grew on me (pun intended!). The more I immersed myself in Nature the more my heart opened to a deeper appreciation; the more I sensed the interconnection of all. 
Billabong in Bush.
In the wilds I received many refreshing gifts. There was the gift of natural sound. There was complete silence except for bush noises (birds, insects, heavy breathing from wallabies ... often late at night right outside my cabin, the wind in the trees, the patter of rain). Something deep down inside of me took a huge breath of relief and 'let go' by being immersed in only natural sound. My sleep was easeful, restful, and luxuriously long.

There was the gift of natural passage of time. There were no deadlines, nothing to drive my passage through the world except for the sun's rise and set, the weather patterns, the need to gather wood so I wouldn't freeze to death! It felt tremendously freeing to move at a pace that felt right for me, and not imposed by outside schedules and the common freneticness of modern life.

There was the gift of hearing myself. Taking time apart from busy cities and other people supported by Nature's embrace all around me, I felt able to hear myself. My thoughts, feelings, desires, intuitions, bodily senses, experiences, and 'me-ness'. It was as though in modern life I have a very staticy connection to myself, but out in the bush I had 4G reception. The signal of 'me' came through loud and clear.

It wasn't all romantically wonderful. There were harder experiences. I felt bored. I felt emotional pain. I missed the internet. I missed people. Sometimes I didn't know exactly what to do next. Sometimes I felt a bit scared. When I couldn't figure out how to do something there was only me to figure it out (and boy do I like to ask Google for advice, not to mention other helpful people). 

But even these experiences were gifts in the wider scheme of things. They also pointed me back toward my relationship with myself, and how I could be more there for me in challenging moments. These challenges felt supported by Nature: its beauty, the strange new creatures, plants I'd never seen before, almost getting lost in the bush, the air being so fresh it was a pleasure to breathe, the rain water tasting so fresh it was sheer pleasure to drink.

I long to go away again, to immerse myself in the natural landscape and be a part of our wilder environments in a more connected way. Back here in St Kilda, I look to the urban environment for the support it still gives so generously. As I walk to work I notice the changing seasons reflected in people's gardens and the sky. I see a new insect I've never seen before. A bird seems to be calling straight to me (although it's certainly got an agenda all its own).

I am passionate about being part of the whole, a child of the Earth. I am grateful for the joy and refreshment that Nature so generously gives to those who reach out to receive. I'm going to keep reaching.

And thanks to the EcoCentre I have an opportunity to reach back, and support the local environment that has so supported me.

SPOTLIGHT ON AFFILIATES: Friends of Westgate Park
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 Friends of Westgate Park. Find more info on affiliate membership here

Friends of Westgate Park is made up of enthusiastic people, passionate about Westgate Park and the natural environment.  They have skills in horticulture, natural resources management, plant, bird and animal identification and plant propagation, plus the energy to get out and do it!
Their vision is to transform the Park into a bushland setting for locally indigenous plants and animals – a place where visitors can appreciate richly diverse, natural ecosystems in a beautiful landscape.

Black-winged Sctilts on pink saltwater lake.

Through direct experience and their website, they aim to share their knowledge about the value and importance of the species that thrived in inner Melbourne before European settlement and to encourage their protection and adoption in gardens and parks elsewhere. So far, they have planted around 260,000 plants in nine distinct vegetation areas, they are cultivating rare and endangered species, propagating most of what is planted and sharing and improving seed stocks with other groups.  In 2010 they won the prestigious Urban Landcare Award for their work.

They are partnering with business to improve lake and wetland water quality, engaging with employment agencies and schools to teach young people about horticulture and working with corporations to provide staff with the experience of working in the Park.
Their aim is to engage people of all ages and backgrounds to join them in volunteering their time and effort to achieve our vision and to enjoy, as they do, this remarkable park.

Find more info on volunteering (there are regular weekly opportunities) and membership here.

Trash Puppets: Zero Waste Birthday Parties
Want a birthday party that is unique and fun, whilst ALSO caring for Mother Earth? Now there's 'Trash Puppets' Zero Waste Birthday Parties at the EcoCentre!

Incorporating Trash Puppets' awesome Puppet Making Workshop our parties show guests how to make their very own puppet using recycled/reused materials. Each child leaves with an original, working puppet as a souvenir from the party.
Trash Puppets in action!
By introducing the concept of Zero Waste (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink, Refuse) through a fun and playful event, we aim to give everyone involved a positive experience to start them on the road toward more sustainable living.

You can find out more about our party package and book in here.

Community Wildlife Walks
Thursday 6 October and Friday 7 October, 3:30-4:30pm at Wooden Bridge across Elster Creek

Want to go on a Safari exploring the urban wildlife living along Elster Creek? Join our Award-Winning Youth Wildlife Ambassador, Gio Fitzpatrick, and passionate Education Programs Facilitator, Sharron Hunter as they guide you on safari. These two Community Wildlife Walks will start at the wooden bridge across Elster Creek that connects Wave St and Paul Hester Walk ELWOOD. Book by emailing

Environmental Film Festival Australia: Melbourne Down Under (Primary Screening - Yrs 3-6)
Friday 7 October, 10:00-11:30am at ACMI, Federation Square MELBOURNE

Our Award-Winning Youth Wildlife Ambassador Gio Fitzpatrick is giving an educational talk before this educational film. Melbourne Down Under showcases the city's best kept secret - Port Phillip Bay, a marine environment that rivals tropical reefs in colour and diversity. This film is a great a conversation starter to raise awareness of Port Phillip Bay, how to care for it and how our actions on land can have an impact on these marine environments. Cost is $10 per student, teachers free. Book here.

Environmental Film Festival Australia: Revolution (Secondary Screening - Yrs 8-10)
Friday 7 October, 12:00-2:00pm at ACMI, Federation Square MELBOURNE

Our Award-Winning Youth Wildlife Ambassador Gio Fitzpatrick is giving an educational talk before this educational film. Startling, beautiful, and provocative, Revolution is an epic adventure that inspires our youth to start a revolution and change the world forever. What quickly becomes apparent is that the global conservation movement depends on the passion of young people, and that information changes everything. Cost is $12 per student, teachers free. Book here.

EcoCentre AGM & Affiliate Celebration Event
Sunday 23 October, 2:00pm at EcoCentre, 55A Blessington St ST KILDA

We enthusiastically invite all our members, supporters, and interested parties to this year's Annual General Meeting. There will be light refreshments from 1.30pm. Right beforehand at 12:30pm we will be celebrating our Affiliate organisations, and you are most welcome to join. See full details on our website including a nomination form for committee members.

TEN Teacher Professional Development
Wednesday 26 October, 4:00-5:30pm at Albert Park Primary School, Bridport St W

At our October workshop we will be exploring the issue of WASTE and Andrea Eales from Albert Park Primary will be showcasing the many innitiatives her school has taken to promote positive behaviour change in students and staff. If your interested in signing up for the workshop please email us at Our workshops are always free of charge and are a wonderful opportunity to enhance environment and sustainability content knowledge and get exciting new ideas for classroom teaching.

Adaptive Sustainability - Free Intro Workshop
Wednesday 26 October, 6:00-7:00pm at EcoCentre, 55A Blessington St ST KILDA

By definition, being a sustainable business means having the ability to continue your organisation into the future. Prosperity 2.0 is a new training program that uses the latest in corporate responsibility to develop a practical and hands on approach that minimises risk while maximising productivity, profitability and efficiency across the organisation. This is led by Jane Stewart, a global leader in sustainability education and training. Book here.

Earthcare St Kilda - Screening of 'Human'
Tuesday 11 October, 7:00pm at Astor Theatre, Cnr Chapel St & Dandenong Rd

Support Earthcare St Kilda and Beach Patrol Australia by enjoying this special fundraising screening of the epic film Human. View the trailer and buy tickets here.

Port Phillip BUG - 'Come & Try' Ride Event
Sunday 16 October, 9:00am-12:00pm at St Kilda Primary, 2B Brighton Rd

For Seniors Week, Port Phillip BUG is hosting a 'come and try' ride event. They'll be supplying a range of bikes (recumbent, tandem, electric, cargo, mixte, cruiser and rickshaw) for people to try out in a safe, enclosed space. The event is pitched at Seniors, but anyone over 18 years can participate. They'll be giving away free muesli bars and fruit. Please confirm your attendance: Phone Liz on 0421 236 895.

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 to get involved.

Earthcare St Kilda - Seeking Penguin Volunteers
October 2016 to April 2017

Earthcare St Kilda is looking for volunteers to assist in educating the public about penguins! Responsibilities include educating about human impacts on the colony and supervising the public access viewing area on the St Kilda Breakwater. Volunteer Penguin guides operate over the daylight saving period from October 2016 to April 2017. 

Attending one 3 hour shift per fortnight is all that is required, must be over 16 and an Earthcare member. All training and equipment will be supplied by Earthcare at one of their regular training sessions. Contact Kitty on with your name, number, and email.

From Nature Organic Sculpture Exhibition
22 - 30 October at Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham St Albert Park

Gasworks Arts Park will host beautiful organic sculptures as part of a nine day exhibition over two weekends. Visitors can see Land Art installed throughout the park; made from natural materials including flowers, straw, sticks, stones and timber. Vegetation and naturally occurring materials will be composed into organic, transitory sculptures within a natural landscape. Book in here

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