News Articles

Dung Beetle Field Day 2021

Southern Farming Systems Trial Site Inverleigh

Saturday 6th November

Bret Ryan ( SFS), Dr Russ Barrow ( CSU), Kaye Rodden ( BHLG), Graeme Heath ( CSU) and Cemlyn Martin ( SFS) giving a thumbs up after a successful filed day

This was an introductory event for community members across the Barrabool Hills and beyond, to
hear about dung beetles and the role they play in contributing to carbon capture and storage( very
topical at the moment), learn how to identify both native and introduced species and implement
methods to collect and identify beetles on their own property.

Attendees inspecting the field trial mesocosms

It was also an opportunity to announce the success of the Geelong Landcare Network (GLN) and
Upper Barwon Landcare Network (UBLN) in obtaining a grant through the State government to
survey dung beetles across the two network areas over the next 12 months, in partnership with
Southern Farming Systems (SFS), and to seek EOI’s from landholders to participate.
The program fulfilled all the above aims and also reinforced the important partnerships between
the BHLG, GLN and SFS.
The event took place in the SFS machinery shed at their trial site, and thanks to the SFS staff who
cleared the shed to enable us to set up for the presentations.
A hearty individually packaged morning tea and lunch was sourced from a local caterer and
provided FREE, and as some of the participants had travelled significant distances, including from
Ararat and Mortlake, I believe this was welcomed.
Many also welcomed the time after the scheduled presentations to network and chat with the
academics from Charles Sturt University over lunch.
Over 40 members of the community, young and not so young, attended the field day on a warm and
muggy Saturday/
We were lucky that the Dr Russ Barrow and Graeme Heath from Charles Sturt University’s Dung
Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project were able to cross the border and provide us with an excellent
presentation about their research into these amazing insects.
The Dung beetle is fast becoming a national identity, with the National Broadcaster recently
featuring them as a key to Australia moving toward zero emissions stating….
“ a humble powerhouse working underground to support the big pl;ayers up top to keep our planet
liveable. Dragging poo through the soil, like adding fertiliser, turning humble paddocks into carbon
sinks that can soak carbon dioxide out of the air like trees do”.
Those members from our group who attended also heard that the Geelong Landcare Network in
partnership with the Upper Barwon Landcare Network and Southern Farming Systems, have been
successful in obtaining a grant next year to survey for Dung Beetles across the two network areas. A
steering committee is being set up to start the search for appropriate sites ( 10 in total) to monitor
over the 12 months. There will also be workshops to discuss setting up your own monitoring stations
across your property. If you would like to register for any of these activities contact the Geelong
Landcare Network Facilitator, Bron Merritt, at

Christmas Meeting 2020

Mark and Heike Dunn’s property, Stonehaven

Friday 18 December

Photo: Brien Cohn

On a cool night 30 plus members congregated to celebrate Christmas and the Group’s first non-electronic meeting of the year.

Newly-elected President, Jim Seager welcomed all those attending and made a presentation to recently retired President, Kaye Rodden.

Photo: Brien Cohn

Guest speakers: Andrew McLean, executive officer of Landcare Victoria, outlined the organisation’s plans for 2021.

Janine Duffy, founder of “Koala Clancy”, spoke about techniques to encourage more koalas to visit the Barrabool Hills. She related how her Group had cleared woody weeds in the You Yangs to enable koalas to migrate from tree to tree. She also related how she discovered a method, based on facial features, to recognise one koala from another.

Janine Duffy (left) addresses an attentive audience Photo: Brien Cohn