"> Friends of Mount Painter - Ginninderra Catchment Group

Friends of Mount Painter

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Geographic focus: Situated on the watershed between the Molonglo and Ginninderra catchments, Mount Painter Nature Reserve is one of the Belconnen Hills reserves. It adjoins the suburb of Cook and occupies about half the area bounded by the suburb, Bindubi Street, William Hovell Drive and Coulter Drive. There are two separate sections of the reserve: the hill itself in the centre of this space and a lower area beside Bindubi Street which is known as the Wildflower Triangle. A map shows the two reserve sections and how to access them.

Regular Activities and Working Parties:

  • Friends of Mount Painter (FOMP) holds monthly work parties in the morning of the third Sunday of each month, with morning tea an important opportunity to talk about the reserve and to socialise with old and new friends. Smaller groups and individuals also carry out work on a weekly basis.
  • Active FOMP members meet twice a year for planning meetings and at other times as necessary.  Morning tea during work parties is another time when FOMP business is discussed
  • FOMP organises two or more guided walks each year. Birds and butterflies were the focus of recent walks.
  • FOMP has an ongoing relationship with Macquarie Primary School. On their visits to the reserve, we contribute local information to students.

Contact: Convenor – Sarah Hnatiuk: mob. 0424 263 565, email friends.of.mount.painter@gmail.com or through Friends of Mount Painter’s Facebook page.

About Us: FOMP is a small group of local residents who translate their love for the environment into actively supporting the ACT Parks and Conservation Service’s (PCS) management of the reserve. We aim through our work to help the reserve to become a healthier, more sustainable and resilient ecosystem that will provide habitat for more abundant wildlife and more interest and enjoyment of the area for ourselves and others.

FOMP’s work involves weeding, monitoring aspects of the reserve’s condition, and planting and caring for young plants. We also help PCS by mapping rabbit burrows and weeds, and contribute to Canberra Nature Map.

Weeding is one our most frequent activities. We focus on the areas of most diverse vegetation such as in the Wildflower Triangle and on the hill slope behind the houses of Cook. Both areas are home to some of the ACT’s rare and protected species. (Lists of the reserve’s flora are here: Wildflower Triangle flora; Mt Painter flora; Mount Painter’s birds; Mt Painter’s butterflies.)

Planting trees and shrubs is helping to re-establish an open woodland on the extensively cleared slopes of the hill. The early plantings, dating from the late 1990s, are now clearly visible to travellers on the roads nearby. Success with plantings has varied according to the season; during the 2000’s drought only a quarter to a half survived their first summer but during good seasons, more than 80% live on, as detailed in this report on tube stock survival rates. As the trees and shrubs have grown, so have the number of birds and butterflies, as the above lists show. Recently we have planted grasses and other low-growing plants but with less success than with trees and shrubs. Re-establishing ground cover is proving difficult.

This online article from ABC local radio provides further insight into Friends of Mount Painter’s role in supporting the work of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

FOMP was formed in 1989 by local people concerned about the degradation of the reserve. In its 30 years of existence, we have, according to the Government’s ecologists, had a substantial impact for the better on the reserve’s condition. We continue to build on that legacy through the work of our 20 or so active members. A further 125 others, who receive our email notices and electronic newsletters, maintain an interest in our activities and news of the reserve.

We welcome new members. If you would like hands-on involvement, we will provide you with the tools needed for each task and show you what to do. No previous experience in Landcare is needed.