The Challenge

The tallest flowering trees on Earth grow north-east of Melbourne. In their high canopies dwell owls, gliders and the critically endangered Leadbeater’s (or Fairy) Possum. Victoria’s precious and endangered faunal emblem lives only in these ash forests of the Central Highlands.

Montane ash forests flourish along the Great Divide receiving high rainfall. They harvest water from the air and provide most of Melbourne’s drinking water. Research has shown these forests to be among the most carbon-dense forests on Earth due to their rapid growth and relatively slow rates of decay in the cool, wet climate.

The Great Forests National Park proposal is a vision for a multi-tiered parks system for bush users and bush lovers alike. It is a Parks system that protects and maintains important ecosystem functions critical for our way of life.

See these magnificent montane forests for yourself

Help us support Australian National University’s “Stagwatch program”. Stagwatch has been running since the 1980’s. The information collected adds to our understanding of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s (or Fairy) Possum biology and population trends, tree hollows and habitat use, animal responses to fire, forest recovery and much more.

We’re working hard to give Stagwatch volunteers the support they deserve. Your donation will help us help them.

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Give your friends the chance to be involved in Stagwatch, and share the Great Forest National Park story


What are we doing?

Wildmob is supporting the Australian National University (ANU) research team in their Stagwatch program. We are building a team of volunteers that will help out, starting in late spring 2015.

A stagwatch is a method of surveying for the critically endangered Leadbeater’s (or Fairy) Possum and gliders that the team at ANU have used since the 1980’s. It involves watching hollow trees (called stags) over one hour at dusk. This is ‘possum peak hour’, when animals emerge from their hollow trees to head out foraging for the night. ANU have 200 Long Term Monitoring sites, each with hollow trees mapped and measured. Over summer, we stagwatch up to 50 sites.

What can you do?

Have a spare weekend, or even a single evening?

The spectacular Mountain Ash forests are an amazing place with some of the tallest trees on earth and swaths of luxuriant ferns. Dusk is a special time to visit these forests when you will witness the transition of day birds settling down and the night animals emerging. Some of the animals we see include Greater Gliders, Sugar Gliders, Feathertail Gliders, Yellow-Bellied Gliders, critically endangered Leadbeater’s (or Fairy) Possum, Mountain Brushtail Possum, large forest owls, small forest bats and ground dwelling mammals.

The survey is observation only, so you will see animals behaving naturally. This can involve owls flying overhead, Yellow-bellied Gliders screeching and squealing and gliding off into the dark, or the critically endangered critically endangered Leadbeater’s (or Fairy) Possum leaping from tree to tree around you.

Register to express your interest in being involved in Stagwatch, contact Renee and we’ll keep you in touch with upcoming opportunities. This is a great opportunities for Melbournites, but if you’re only visiting the region, what a great way to really see the forest!

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