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August newsletter

‘In the stories we tell, we tell ourselves’

(Kwaikutl elder) (1)

The universe is made of stories, not atoms.

Murial Rukeyser (2)

Our August newsletter has information about:

  • Words in Winter– Daylesford, Newstead and Trentham
  • Susan Murphy- Falling Awake in a Global Ecological Crisis
  • Repair Cafe’s- Daylesford and Castlemaine
  • Hepburn Herbal Group– getting started with a pot luck dinner
  • Maldon Car Free Carnivale
  • Landscapes in Transition a visit to Muckleford
  • Climate Action, Extinction Rebellion & September School Strike
  • Mt Alexander Eco-Housing group
  • Tim Low and The New Nature– Newstead
  • Transition Australia Convergence
  • Common and Outlaw plants– a presentation  by Patrick Jones
  • Listening to Nature Citizen Science Video
  • Birdlife – Castlemaine district
  • Food for Thought

Words in Winter

When: August 16 to 18, 2019

Where: Daylesford, Newstead, Trentham

It’s Words in Winter time again – Hepburn Shire and surrounding district’s annual literary and arts festival- a celebration of words, stories and ideas in all their forms shared by locals and visiting presenters through readings, poetry, theatre, music, talks, workshops, visiting authors, and exhibitions. Check out the festival program here

Falling Awake in a Global Ecological Crisis

Castlemaine’s Zen Group presents a public talk about Zen and Climate Change with Susan Murphy Roshi, one of Australia’s most respected Zen teachers.

When: Sunday 18 August, 2 – 4pm
Where: 133 Duke St, Castlemaine

Susan says: The multi-faceted planetary crisis of our time is fast coming into plain view as inarguable climate tragedy. It is turning us all into present-day refugees from an un-livable future, right here in our own home- called Earth.

An afternoon of looking deeply into the spiritual crisis increasingly visible within the material one. Take stock of the resources at hand for meeting this crisis to be found in a practice of deep, settled awareness that looks directly and cannot help but see that ‘All beings are one body’, one body together with the living Earth. Call it eco-buddhism, if you like, call it Zen buddhadharma, or just call it stepping into reality and letting the tremendous koan of the Earth in crisis bring us vividly awake and to our feet. There is no way to save the earth: saving the earth is the Way.’

Susan Murphy Roshi is a leading voice in Australian Zen and founding teacher of Zen Open Circle.
She has published many books on Zen and the environment including ‘Upside Down Zen’,
‘Minding the Earth, Mending the World’, and ‘Red Thread Zen’. She regularly produces radio
programs for the ABC and in June this year gave the opening keynote address for the 16th
International Sakyadhita conference in NSW. For more information

Repair Cafes

Daylesford: Sunday August 18th, 1-4pm, at Victoria Park Pavillion. You’ll find the usual range of knife and tool sharpening , mechanical, electrical, sewing and bicycle repairs.
Castlemaine: Sunday August 25th, 10am to 1pm, Castlemaine Town Hall .This month’s cafe will incorporate  a sewing machine maintenance workshop.

Hepburn Herbal Group

Rosie Cooper is mad about plants. She forages them, she grows them, she drinks them, she eats them, she infuses them and she decocts them.

As of this coming spring, Rosie Cooper, practicing herbalist from Rare Beauty Botanicals in Guildford, will be facilitating a free monthly herbal group where participants will be taught to make their own tinctures, teas, oils, balms, infusions, love potions, herbal first aid kits, flower essences and herbal honey remedies.

To kick things off Wild Fennel is hosting a potluck dinner where we will decide where and when to meet on a regular basis, and what we’d like to learn from Rosie during the first gathering, come springtime.

When: Friday August 23, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Where: 6 Tierneys Lane, Daylesford
Bring: Dish to share for dinner (with as many local ingredients as possible) plus a plate & cutlery.
No need to RSVP, just come along.
Note: This is a waste-free event so no single use plastic please.

Maldon’s Car Free Carnivale

When: Sunday September 22nd, 12-3pm\

Where: Maldon main street

What: Ideas for sustainable living and lots more

Ditch your car for the day! Maldon goes car free for climate action.Walk, cycle, catch the bus or take the heritage steam train to Maldon’s new street festival to inspire climate action and achieve a safer, healthier and cleaner environment for local communities.

Climate Action, Extinction Rebellion & September School Strike

Castlemaine has established a local chapter of Extinction Rebellion. The group, open to all,  met on August 14th. ‘It’s time to get real about the ecological and climate emergency we are facing!’ say the newly formed group. Our political system is broken and our leaders are failing to protect us. It’s time to tell the truth and act as though the truth is real. It’s time to band together and be effective as part of an international movement of mass participation civil disobedience. The group is planning action as part of the October 7th international rebellion. Contact the group via facebook to see how you can be involved:  https://z-m-www.facebook.com/

Friday September 20th is the date for the next School Strike for Climate. Everyone is invited and everyone is needed. Three days out from the UN’s Emergency Climate Summit, strikers will gather across regional towns in central Victoria as well as in central Melbourne. For more information: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/sept20 

Mt Alexander Eco-housing group

When: Thursday  22nd August  7-9pm

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine, next to the IGA car park

At this next meeting Ally from Mt Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) will talk about how our  eco-housing group can work together with MASG work. It will also be an opportunity to hear about some of the projects that are progressing in the area.

Tim Low speaks- The New Nature

When: Friday 6th September 2019

When: 7.30 pm on Friday 6 September 2019
Where: Newstead Community Centre, Lyons St (Pyrenees Hwy) Newstead

Organised by: Connecting Country and Newstead Landcare Group

All welcome. A gold coin donation will help cover costs. Bookings not required.

Well-known author and biological scientist Tim Low will speak on his book ‘The New Nature’. Although controversial when first published in 2002, the book was recently updated and its themes are now more relevant than ever. Following Tim’s presentation there will be an opportunity for questions and answers, then a cuppa and cake.

For event flyer – click here

Tim Low is a biologist and best-selling author of seven books about nature and conservation. ‘Where Song Began’ won several prizes, including the Australian Book Industry Award for best general non-fiction. It was praised in the New York Review of Books and recommended by Scientific American. ‘The New Nature’ was praised by Time magazine and listed by Who magazine as one of the books of the year. ‘Feral Future’ inspired the formation of a conservation group, the Invasive Species Council. Tim’s articles have appeared in Australian Geographic, The Weekend Australian Magazine, The Guardian and many other places. He works partly as an environmental consultant, and has a lizard named after him. He recently returned from a visit to Manchuria as a guest of the China Writer’s Association.

‘The New Nature’
The conservation movement talks about declining species, as it should, but this leaves many people unaware that some animals and plants are doing better today than ever before, because they have found ways to exploit us. Australia has winners as well as losers. Animals don’t have any concept of ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ so they don’t automatically recoil from cities and farms. Sometimes they can do better in cities than in forests – Australian cities and towns are gaining animals over time. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane now have peregrine falcons nesting on skyscrapers. Some urbanising species, notably corellas and flying foxes, are becoming sources of conflicts that need to be carefully considered. The notion of wilderness can get in the way of understanding all this because it implies that nature is authentic only when there is no human influence. But animals and plants have been benefiting from humans ever since Aboriginal people began burning the ‘wilderness’ to manage it.

You can read more about Tim Low and view his Blog and website – click here

Transition Australia Convergence

What:Networks for Action- An opportunity for central Victoria to connect with other transitions groups and actions

When: 9am – 5.pm, Sunday 15th September

Where: RMIT Storey Hall, Swanston St, Melbourne

Cost: $30 including catering

Contact:Paul Shelton,  events@transitionaustralia.net

Our world, our country and our communities face some serious challenges not just now but in the future. The Transition Australia ‘Networks to Action’ Convergence is a chance to honestly acknowledge both the scope of the challenge but also the opportunities that we already have at our disposal. It’s about coming together to share, build and energise each other for the journey to a more just and sustainable future. More importantly this convergence is about asking the key questions:

  • How can we work together to bring authentic and powerful change to our communities?
  • How can we build inter-dependence rather than isolation or competition?
  • Who is out there and what lessons can we learn from each other?
  • How can we showcase the work we do to change the narrative from business as usual?

For more information: https://transitionaustralia.net/event/transition-australia-victorian-convergence-networks-for-action/

Common & Outlaw plants with Dr Patrick Jones

When: Tuesday September 3rd, 7.30pm

Where: John Mitchell Hall, Daylesford (cnrDuke and Central Springs Rd)

Organised by : Daylesford and District Horticultural Society

Cost: Members free, guest attendance $5

An upcoming talk by Daylesford resident Dr Patrick Jones, on useful local plants, their historical uses and cosmology, and the politics of their current status, or rather non-status.

Listening to Nature

Connecting Country has received Museum Victoria’s published video summary of the fascinating ‘Listening to Nature Citizen Science Video’, which has been mapping out the sounds of our local bushland. Scientific wildlife surveys are essential for reporting and managing biodiversity, and researchers now listen as well as look.

During 2018, a group of volunteers began a project to monitor nocturnal birds in the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria using song meter recorders. This ‘Communities Listening for Nature’ project was run by Victoria National Parks Association (VNPA) in partnership with Museums Victoria and Connecting Country.

The Communities Listening to Nature project uses automated sound recorders to monitor birds in their natural environments. The song meters recorded bird calls at many sites over long time periods. Partnering with local groups, the VNPA  installed recorders at several locations, including Mount Worth State Park and surrounding district, Bunyip State Park, Mount Alexander region and the Wombat State Forest.

The project was supported with funding from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust.

For more information on the Listening to Nature Program, please click here.

The video contains interviews with the volunteers and participants of the project and gives an excellent summary of why the project is vital to our future work. The Listening to Nature project uses spectrograms,  a visual representation of an audio signal, with the pitch or frequency displayed vertically, and the time horizontally. High frequencies (like those made by bats) are near the top of the image, while lower frequencies are near the bottom of the image. To learn more about some of the wildlife sounds recorded during the project in our region, please click here.

The filmmakers acknowledge the elders of the Dja Dja Wurrung community and their forebears as the traditional owners of Country in this region.

BirdLife Castlemaine District

Bird-walks are held on the first Saturday morning of the month. All ages and birding abilities are welcome, we are a friendly inclusive bunch. If you’d like to learn how to record your bird lists using Birdata,  or brush up on your survey skills, we aim to do at least one survey each bird walk.

Over 200 species have been recorded in the Mt Alexander region, including Brown Treecreeper, Diamond Firetail, Powerful and Barking Owl, Hooded Robin and some cryptic species such as Speckled Warbler and Painted Button Quail. For more information: https://www.birdlife.org.au/locations/birdlife-castlemaine-district

Food for Thought

Primitive technology- Tiled roof hut: A remarkable video clip about building from scratch and from readily available materials.

Love-Bombing the Tasmanian government to win Indigenous rights, with Dr Emma Lee.

A podcast conversation, produced by RegenNarration, explores how it all happened, and why family, kinship and a regional approach is central to it. With this in mind, Emma has salient things to say about the implications for reconciliation and Treaty processes, the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and how to engage most meaningfully and successfully with Aboriginal communities.

(1) Kwaikutl elder,  cited in Murphy, Susan: Minding the Earth, Mending the World, Picador, 2012, p.66
(2) Murial Rukeyser, cited as opening quote in Kornfield, Jack and Feldman, Christina: Soul Food, Stories to Nourish the Spirit and the Heart, Harper San Francisco/Harper Collins, 1996
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