Another one bites the dust! And another gone.. So it is with our sixth year of partnership with Fintona Girls' School in Balwyn and our combined Tawonga Huts Willow Wackery Weekend.
On a serious note, we take around 20 senior student forms the school up to Falls Creek and together, over a weekend, we work with parks Victoria to remove as many Sallow Willows from the water courses around the iconic Tawonga Huts.
Friday night is the trip up and we are very fortunate to be able to count on the support of the Upper Kiewa Valley Lions Club, who come together to cook the evening meal for the entire crew. May Walton and he fellow Lions put on a really nice local produce dinner - which we think is very much preferred to a bus stop at Maccas!
For many of the girls, this is their first time to the Alpine National Park - and what a weekend it was this year. An excellent Lodge to stay in (Viking Lodge - thank you Steve as the Lodge Manager and Katrina and the team at the Falls Creek Reservation Centre), great support from Parks Victoria and plenty of willows to remove in the brackenin the hut vicinity.
We work from arrival at around 0930 through to 4 pm, with a lunch break at the huts. After a slow and bumpy ride back to the Pretty Valley Storage gates, we head up to Mt. Mackay as this gives the crew an excellent overview of the Park and the Falls Creek area. Dinner this year was a night out at Max's Restaurant in the Village Bowl and on the Sunday we also spent a pleasant couple of hours doing a willow inspection sweep along the foreshore of the Rocky Valley Storage, up near Big River Fire trail.
Here's some highlights..
Ranger-in-Charge, Bogong Management Unit, Ross Grant, gives all participants the JSA briefing after the Lions cooked us dinner. . Know what a JSA is?
On the Saturday morning trip out to Tawonga Huts, with the fog rolling around, we stop for a briefing on the Pygmy Possum status in the Park. Endangered would be a good summary I think.
Ross and Phil get stuck into demonstrating the correct procedure for removing mature Sallow Willow. Poisoning the rootstock is the only effective treatment with priority given to mature willows capable of seed production.
Now, this is the life! All of us relaxing after lunch, prior to the afternoon wackery session... Tawonga Huts in the background and a glorious alpine March day.
Fintona students get into the spirit of wackery.
to get to grips with our photo libraries