Sunday, May 23, 2010

We made the paper!

Check out toady's Daily Examiner at for our story and photo. I would not want to mess with Marty!

And the cane toad end of season results are in!

OK CIA cane toad hunters - here it is! I have finished entering our data for the 2009/10 season and the results are....
  • Total number of toads picked up in the Clarence Valley - 11,146 (when I first came up with the tally idea I did not even dream we would hit 5 figures- I feel like a petrol station attendant where I have to squeeze in the fifth number!)

  • Number of those toads picked up by CIA volunteers - 6,003 (that's amazing!!! Well done guys!).

I have not even begun to analyse the data, but there is so much information for us to learn from our records. Thank you to all CIA volunteers who collected toads, scribbed on the nights (I know how hard it is to manage a torch, clipboard, pen, dam edge, toadsters shouting data at you and often a toad!) and those who emailed me their data (esp Annie's efforts). Cheers, Sharon.

Final toad photo of the girls.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE - CIA Gets Tough on Mynas

The Clarence Valley Conservation in Action Landcare group (fondly known as the CIA) has agreed to step in and help out in the Clarence Valley war on the feral Indian Myna.

Clarence Valley Council Environmental Officer, Martyn Swain is ecstatic the CIA is going to lend their expertise in rallying the community on invasive animal control and welcomes the backup.

"Community participation is essential if we are going to successfully reduce the population of Indian Mynas in the Clarence Valley", said Mr. Swain.

"Clarence Valley Council have been working very hard for about five years with a small number of people on this project", said Mr. Swain, "but we need more members of the community to chip in and get trapping".

Mr. Swain said he was delighted the CIA were now going to help out with the distribution and coordination of the traps and data.

"I'm only one person with a large number of projects on my plate", said Mr. Swain. "The CIA have proven they can tackle a broad, coordinated Clarence Valley wide invasive animal program with their very successful cane toad project winding down for the season".

And experienced they are! CIA Myna Coordinator, Bevan Pugh, has already trapped over 400 Indian Mynas in his backyard at South Grafton since he became interested in this clever but aggressive bird.

"These animals are very smart and it is essential that trappers network and share ideas", said Mr. Pugh. "A few CIA volunteers are making a road trip down to Coffs Harbour this weekend to see how their very successful program is set up".

"We hope to bring that knowledge back, integrate it with what we know here and come up with a coordinated plan of attack", said Mr. Pugh. "The CIA need as many people to get involved as possible so stay tuned for more details on our next mission!"

And with even better news, Mr. Swain announced that the Coffs Harbour Indian Myna Project Officer was coming up to Grafton to hold a Myna Control Workshop on Friday 4th June from 12 noon to 4 pm at the Council Chamber sin Grafton. Attendance is free but places are limited and filling up fast. Please RSVP for the workshop directly to Martyn Swain at CVC on 6643 0200.

If you are unable to make the workshop but still interested in getting involved in the Clarence Valley Indian Myna Control Program, please contact Sharon Lehman of the CVCIA on 0411 020 394 or email .

Clarence Valley Conservation in Action Myna Coordinator, Bevan Pugh vows to get tough on Indian (Common) Mynas with Clarence Valley Council Environmental Officer, Martyn Swain. Photo: Sharon Lehman.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Generous donation from Coffs Harbour Landcare

Last week I drove down to Coffs Harbour and spoke at the Coffs Harbour Landcare AGM about cane toads. I have travelled up north and pleaded with the groups above us to keep trying and it was interesting to travel south and show what we have been doing.

Many members were very interested and asked a great deal of questions. The most common theme was they had no idea we had so many cane toads in the Clarence. I think a few people went away a bit more concerned about the future of cane toads in the Coffs area. I was treated to a feast and given a lovely gift - so many lovely people to meet.

Then, two days ago I receive a letter thanking me for my time (I can talk toad all night!) and enclosed was a cheque for $50 as a donation ot the CIA to support our efforts. Thanks to CH Landcare - that is very appreciated and will be put to good use. I am sending a letter as well.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

CIA Sets Sights on Common Mynas

Ok, we've done toads (only joking, we have just a little more to do on that!) and Martyn Swain from CVC has been crying out for some community help on the Common Myna problem. So, we are going to tackle the mynas. We are still working out how the model might work, but it looks like the CVCIA might be taking over the management and distribution part of the traps and data in the Clarence Valley. Our experience with networking in the valley will come in handy to link people wanting and trying trap.

Some exciting developments include:
  • a road trip down to Ron (Mr Coffs Harbour Myna guru) Smith at Coramba next Saturday (let me know if you want to go so we can arrange carpooling). We will see how their model is set up and get some great ideas from Ron. He is very excited that the CIA is going to grab the myna problem by the throat (metphorically of course!).
  • Tien Phan, the Coffs Harbour Myna Control Officer is coming up to Grafton to hold a workshop!! Friday 4th June 2010, 12 noon - 4pm in the council chambers, Prince Street, Grafton. Please RSVP directly to Marty on and I think places are limited so get in early.
  • I have created a draft myna logo to help promote the CIA myna work like Terry Toad. This will go on promotional material which is currently being printed.

Mission Report - Tuesday 4th May 2010

We thought that was it for the cane toad season, but I took a phone call from a journalist visiting from Sweden doing a story on invasive animals in Australia. She wanted to come out toading one night so a few quick text messages and the promise of Harry's dams at Mororo and we had about 10 CIA volunteers turn up to do our thing.

In just 90 minutes and covering only two dams, we picked up over 250 toads. Scott and I got some great pictures and Carla from Sweden got to pick up her first toad (and squeal for her microphone interview). Thanks to all who came out that night, especially the girls. We had great fun (as usual) and hopefully Kathie's swearing on radio in Sweden will not cause an international incident!

Mission Report - Friday 30th April 2010

Kath, Judith and I had a quick trip to Brooms Head to see what we could find. All three of us were exhausted and only caught about 50 toads. Most of these were found by hanging around the garbage bin at the Bowling Club! The things we do.

So about 9:30pm, we decided to pull up stumps and call it a night. We tried to take some photos of ourselves (which I'm going to try and attach) as we thought it was our last night toading for the season. Little did we know...

Testing, testing. 21st century? Are you out there??

OK. It might just be a mid-life crisis, but I have decided I need to drag myself, and my projects, into the 21st Century, so here goes my first ever blog. While I have always thought it might be a bit self-indulgent (who would want to read this?) I have recently realised the commerical and community implications so thought it would be better to try this for our wonderufl CVCIA Landcare group as opposed to pestering everyone all of the time with emails. That way, if people want to read my jibba-jabber, they can go and look it up.

This will no doubt be easier to update for mission reports, numbers caught, etc than having to upgrade the website constantly. let's give it a go...

Cheers, Sharon.