Community interest in alpine ecology ran high at Dinner Plain as more than 50 people participated in the Alpine Ecology Workshop hosted by Benambra-Dinner Plain-Omeo (BDPO) Landcare Group, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort and the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) at the Dinner Plain Community Hall on 1 May.
The workshop was organised in response to concern from Dinner Plain residents about the health of the Alpine Peatlands that are located on the southern edge of the village.
Resident Gail Owen, one of the main proponents of the event said, “The Dinner Plain village is growing very quickly, but so are its impacts”.
“The surrounding environment is beautiful but also very sensitive. Alpine Peatlands are just so important to the alpine landscape and that’s why we wanted to know more about how these ecosystems function so that we can protect and restore them for future generations to enjoy.”
The event included a long list of speakers from Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, LaTrobe University, Zoos Victoria, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort, Parks Victoria and North East CMA.
The discussions focused on the ecology of Alpine Peatland ecosystems and included the historical land use and the ongoing importance of the alpine landscape to First Nations people, fire ecology and bushfire response, the conservation of the Mountain Pygmy Possum and Broad-toothed Rat, and the functioning of Alpine Peatland ecosystems and how to restore them.
The day concluded with afternoon field trips hosted by Dr Ewen Silvester and Associate Professor John Morgan from LaTrobe University, and Sakib Kazi from Zoos Victoria to look at the hydrology, structure, functioning and mammals of the Alpine Peatlands adjacent to the main village area.
The workshop was extremely well-received, with some participants making the journey from Melbourne to attend.
Lisa Lee, Landcare Facilitator at BDPO Landcare said, “We were pleased to see that people were so enthusiastic to learn about these ecosystems and how to protect and restore them”.
“There seems to be a high demand for people to learn about the alpine environment and we’re looking forward to building upon this momentum by hopefully running another similar event up here at the same time next year.”
The Alpine Ecology Workshop was supported by BDPO Landcare, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort and the North East CMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Into Our Hands Community Foundation.