Archive for February, 2015


Encourage Venturer Scouts to think critically about environment issues, leading to a shared understanding about individual responsibility for the environment.

1.) Take part in a practical environmental project requiring at least 10 hours of effort and some investigation through research and reflection (these aspects may be concentrated into an intensive weekend/s or spread over longer periods).
The project should be pursued in a specified locality or localities and must involve at least three of the following areas:
o sources of clean water and clean air in the local environment
o sufficient natural habitats exist to support native species
o minimising the risk of harmful substances to people and the environment
o using most suitable environmental practices
o preparing to respond to environmental hazards and natural disasters.
(Note- these are part of the requirements for the World Scout Environment Badge.)

The project should be defined in advance with the Unit Council.
A properly formatted handwritten or word processed report of 250 to 300 words should be provided about the project. It should include:
o what you did
o why you did this
o how you did it
o what you learned from this

2.) Discuss the Australian Scout Environment Charter

A Project
Our Unit get involved with Clean Up Australia Day, generally we end up in the Diamond Creek removing some serious amounts of rubbish, but although this is good service to the community it is not ticking the boxes for Venturer Award Environment.

What if we extend the day to cover Venturer Award Environment?


The Diamond Creek run along side our Scout Hall and forms the natural backdrop for many of the activities that we have in and around the hall. Within the linear park along the Creek at Eltham we now have a resident breeding population of Platypus.

* Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, Geographic Distribution Map: Platypus in the Diamond Creek (PDF) and a closeup from Eltham North to the Yarra (PDF)

❝ In the Yarra River catchment, platypus populations have been recorded along the Plenty River, Bruces Creek, Ruffey Creek, Diamond Creek, Running Creek, Arthurs Creek, Watsons Creek, Mullum Mullum Creek, Andersons Creek, Olinda Creek, Steels Creek, Sassafras Creek, Emerald Creek, Menzies Creek, Stringybark Creek, Watts River, Grace Burn Creek, Badger Creek, Woori Yallock Creek, Wandin Yallock Creek, Cockatoo Creek, Hoddles Creek, the Little Yarra River, Big Pat’s Creek and the Yarra itself.
The APC/MW survey program has established that the breeding population in the Yarra River is now resident as far downstream as Heidelberg. In addition, in recent years, platypus have been increasingly observed in the Kew/Fairfield area – i.e. less than 10 kilometres from the city-centre – suggesting that re-colonisation is starting to occur along the most urbanised section of the river and its inner-city tributaries. (However, in this regard it is important to note that a December 2003 survey of the lower reaches of Darebin Creek did not find any platypus.)
In the meantime, platypus continue to be found in increased numbers along the middle suburban tributaries of the Yarra, especially Mullum Mullum Creek, Diamond Creek and the Plenty River. The combined platypus capture success rate for the lower sections (0-3 kilometres from the Yarra) of these three creeks over the second five year period of surveys (1999-2004) is 22% higher than the comparable rate for the first five years (1995-1999), suggesting strongly that platypus numbers have risen significantly in the Yarra’s urbanised reaches. ❞ [2]


❝ Likewise, recolonisation of Diamond Creek has also been pronounced. Platypus now can be found as far upstream as Wattle Glen. Platypus usage along the lowest reach of Diamond Creek (i.e. Yarra to Eltham) has more than doubled for the 1999-2004 period compared to 1995-1999. In the next section upstream (i.e. North Eltham-Diamond Creek township) the situation has gone from no platypus found at all in the early period to a resident breeding population in the 1999-2004 period. ❞ [2]

What makes a for good habitat for the platypus in the Diamond Creek? Could we investigate this as our VA Environment project and then expand this into bigger local projects? This sounds like the beginnings of a much larger investigation ans series of projects!

1.) Water Quality
sources of clean water and clean air in the local environment
What impact does water quality have on platypus habitat? We will survey at know platypus habitat and non-platypus habitat; water depth, temperature, turbidity, ph and salinity. Can we draw any conclusions from this information alone?

2.) Site survey
sufficient natural habitats exist to support native species
Using field naturalist techniques we will investigate what impact the local micro environment has on the platypus habitat We will survey at know platypus habitat and non-platypus habitat; creek cross section describing and sketching the relationship between the creek and the bank, has any bank stabilisation works been performed?, a rocky or sandy creek bed?, are there any submerged trees or logs?, rapids – riffles – still water?
Can we draw any conclusions from this information alone?

Does the adjacent vegetation community have an impact on platypus habitat?
Vegetation survey using a line transect across several sites.

Install repeatable photo transects.

3.) Rubbish
minimising the risk of harmful substances to people and the environment
Is there any rubbish or dumping that can be identified as being present in non-platypus habitat that is not present in platypus habitat. Can we focus on removing this rubbish in our future clean up days?

Participate in (or organise, if necessary) “Clean Up” days along your local waterway.
Australian Platypus Conservancy.

* Platypus spotting
* Guest speaker from Australian Platypus Conservancy or Field Naturalists
* Observe Platypus behavior at Heallesville Sanctuary

[1] Victorian Biodiversity Atlas [Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria]
[2] Platypus in Urban Areas [Australian Platypus Conservancy]


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ScoutLinks February-2015



Boy’s Life Magazine [BSA]
Boy’s Life
* Inside the February 2015 issue
* Links found in the February 2015 Boys’ Life magazine


Scouting Magazine [BSA]
Scouting MagazineJan/Feb 2015


Scouting Magazine [UK]
Scouting MagazineFeb/Mar 2015 issue
* Get Active! Feb/Mar 2015


2015 NewslettersNewsletter February 2015 [PDF]

EncompassEncompass Issue 71 – February 2015 [PDF]


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