MCMC audits schools' rain tank use

Small tank to water surrounding gardens at Thomastown East Primary SchoolMerri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) staff often visit school grounds to deliver environmental education programs and recently we noticed that a lot of the rain tanks, which have been installed over the last decade, were being under-used or sitting dormant.

As part of a new 2014-15 project funded by Whittlesea City Council, MCMC conducted an online survey with all Whittlesea schools to gain knowledge about how they use of their rain tanks. MCMC's Waterwatch Coordinator, Jane Bevelander, is following up these surveys by visiting schools, conducting an onsite audit with school staff, and providing schools with advice on how to better utilise their rain water.

After just two school visits Jane has seen some great initiatives, such as a tank linked to watering a new mini orchard. However for those schools that need improvement, one incentive is funding and support from the project to use tank water in productive way by creating a frog bog on the school grounds.

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Merri Corridor for sale

Merri Trail passes rocks and native shrubs at Lakeside College siteMerri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) is deeply concerned about the state government’s proposal to rezone the site of the former Lakeside Secondary College at 31 Radford Rd Reservoir, from Public Use Zone to Industrial Zone, in preparation for its sale on the open market.
The rear portion of this property, between the school oval and Merri Creek, has functioned as public open space since the mid-1980s. It has been managed for many years by the City of Darebin as open space for passive recreation, ands biodiversity and waterway significance.

Its values include:

1. The Merri Creek Shared Path/Trail: This trail traverses the site and is part of the Metropolitan Trail Network and connects the Yarra Main Trail north along Merri Creek to the Ring Rd.
2. Significant Linear Open Space Connectivity: The Darebin Open Space Strategy nominates this area as recreational open space.
3. Significant Biodiversity Values: These include nationally-listed EPBC species and communities. These values are mapped and described in detail in Darebin Council’s draft Natural Heritage Plan 2011.
4. Significant Waterway Values: Merri Creek is a Melbourne’s most popular urban creek and is greatly valued by the community.

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Habitat Gardening

MCMC Front GardenThe evidence is growing that we feel better and are healthier if we have regular contact with nature.  Nature can seem thin on the ground in our urban environment.  In our busy lives, even getting down to the creek is an effort we might neglect at a cost to our health and happiness. 
But what if every trip to the front gate could give you a quick ‘dose’ of nature?
Habitat gardening using local indigenous plants gets us in touch with nature and is a fascinating hobby.  The habitat in our garden can be a small stepping stone for the wildlife that use the larger habitat corridor of the Merri Creek. 

Habitat Gardening Workshop: Saturday 25th October 2014, 1.30-4.30pm at Merri Creek Management Committee Depot (pictured); 2 Lee St, East Brunswick. Numbers limited, bookings essential at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or phone Ray or Monica on 9380 8199.

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