Matt Crawley

Green Corridor Strategy kicks off!

Half of all tickets sold at Mountain to Mouth 2016 go towards funding a planting program of indigenous species along the 80km walk, called the Green Corridor strategy. It is a long term vision focused on connecting local communities and revegetation organisations together, in order to help revegetate local habitats and retain the regions natural beauty. 

Today the Mountain to Mouth team, Karingal Foundation, Parks Victoria and an entourage of over 40 volunteers successfully conducted the first major planting at Big Rock in the You Yangs, an important site for indigenous heritage, ecology and the starting point for the Extreme Arts walk. 

650 indigenous flora were planted over two sessions, helping the ecology of the You Yangs to get back on track. Matt Crawley, one of Mountain to Mouth 2016's district coordinators and part of the Bellarine Landcare Group,  said the area contained a lot of biodiversity but the ground-level plant life has become sparse due to pests like rabbits. 

The planting has seen 150 bidgee widgees, 50 snowy mint-bushes, 250 pots of kangaroos grass and 200 pots of basket grass reintroduced to the area, which will initiate a positive chain reaction for the local environment, including giving natural wildlife such as kangaroos the ideal plant life to graze on. 

Suzette Jackson is the Green Corridor coordinator, responsible for overseeing this very important aspect of the Mountain to Mouth project. She has been instrumental in numerous regional sustainability initiatives in the Geelong region and is a director of Innate Ecology. With a strong focus on sustainable living and healthy regions, she is excited to have initiated the project with such success and enthusiasm from partners and volunteers.

Suzette Jackson addressing the planting team. 

Suzette Jackson addressing the planting team. 

Tamara Karner, a team leader at Parks Victoria who is responsible for the You Yangs regional park, says they are ecstatic to have plant life reintroduced to the area after so many years without it. A rabbit-proof fence is being installed to ensure the new plants are not decimated by the pests. 

Esther Konings-Oakes, the district coordinator for the Songline Station at the You Yangs will coordinate volunteers to maintain the planting in the lead up to event. This team will also clear the ceremonial circle of noxious weeds and debris in time for Mountain to Mouth 2016's indigenous dance and welcoming ceremony, "Gathering of the Elders". She is in the process of organising regular days where volunteers get together to maintain this important and treasured environment. 

The upcoming installation of Mountain to Mouth walking maps and signage at a number of sites will encourage year-round walking of the Contemporary Songline.

 Mountain to Mouth is Geelong's multi-award winning journey of discovery, an 80km walk over two days and 11 stages. Register now.

Remembering lost views in a changing environment at Barwon River

As Mountain to Mouth 2016 approaches, we thought it was time to take a closer look at the Artists and District Coordinators who are guiding different aspects of the journey.

THE BACKGROUND: Six District Coordinators organise the twelve Songline Stations across the 80km walk in the Geelong and Queenscliffe regions. Each Station features a walking circle punctuated by an installation, which range from a mixture of audio, interactive, visual and performance arts that interact with and reflect the diverse environments they are set in. Each of the walking circles express the unique nature of its locality and community, playing a significant role in transforming the walk into a journey that encourages its participants to discover extreme arts and the surrounding environment.

SONGLINE STATION 6: BARWON RIVER ROWING PRECINCT. Kicking off the second day of Mountain to Mouth 2016 is the sixth songline station at Barwon River Rowing Precinct, where artist Jennifer McElwee will present "Lost River View", a walking circle that signifies the changes to the environment that have resulted from the obtrusion of suburban expansion. She uses Eugene von Guerard's View of Geelong, 1856, as a reference point for the ways in which the area has adversely changed, the most significant consequence being that the view depicted in von Guerard's painting can no longer be seen.

View of Geelong,  1856, by Eugene von Guerard

View of Geelong, 1856, by Eugene von Guerard

For over a century the general public was unaware of von Guerard's painting. McElwee questions whether the self esteem of the community and sense of value for the environment would have been stronger if it was known how highly the region and painting was regarded. The walking circle will be formed by water filled cooking vessels symbolising settlement along the river. In the centre lies a sculpture based on the original shape of the river from the perspective of the now lost view. The extremity of the art lies within the challenge of its demand; that we must consider the needs of the community concurrently with the needs of the environment by regarding significant natural sites.

The Songline Station at Barwon River Rowing Precinct is open from 6:00am-7:45am on the second day of Mountain to Mouth 2016 (7 May), after a 2.9km walk from Steampacket Gardens. Check out the timetable for more information. 

Mountain to Mouth is Geelong's multi-award winning journey of discovery, an 80km walk over two days and 11 stages. Register now.

A shrine that connects arts, community and the environment

As Mountain to Mouth 2016 approaches, we thought it was time to take a closer look at the Artists and District Coordinators who are guiding different aspects of the journey.

THE BACKGROUND: Six District Coordinators organise the twelve Songline Stations across the 80km walk in the Geelong and Queenscliffe regions. Each Station features a walking circle punctuated by an installation, which range from a mixture of audio, interactive, visual and performance arts that interact with and reflect the diverse environments they are set in. Each of the walking circles express the unique nature of its locality and community, playing a significant role in transforming the walk into a journey that encourages its participants to discover extreme arts and the surrounding environment.

SONGLINE STATION 3: LIMEBURNERS LAGOON. Matt Crawley is the District Coordinator of Station 3. He is a resident of the Bellarine who is passionate about community engagement and the environment, having worked on related projects for the past 20 years. Matt's role as a District Coordinator focuses on workshopping the vision of the artists, looking for tangible links to the station, the landscape, the history and the community, a process he finds inspiring, challenging and ultimately rewarding, once the community connects with the site and art installation.

Limeburners Lagoon is a wetlands site that is protected under one of the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements, Ramsar. The treaty was negotiated through the sixties and came into force in 1975 as a response to global concerns about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitats for migratory waterbirds. Wetlands are vital for human survival, being amongst the world's most productive environments as a cradle of biological diversity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival. Yet study after study demonstrates that wetland areas continue to decline in most regions of the world, compromising the ecosystem services they provide. Simon Macaulay, the artist for the walking circle at this Songline Station, is using his installation to focus attention on the importance of respecting and protecting such sites.

Limeburners Lagoon  Photo by Lynden Smith

Limeburners Lagoon

Photo by Lynden Smith

MC2 at Geelong After Dark 2015

MC2 at Geelong After Dark 2015

MC3 Grass Shrine, builds upon a concept and art piece that was featured at Geelong After Dark 2015. The original work, MC2 was created in the form of a cube that you could enter to meditate on the importance of the native grass lands. MC3 takes the concept further by creating as many different ratios of the original cube to create a multi-sensory experience through projection, smoke, music and spoken word. A galaxy of cubes are ultimately created in a spiral formation reflecting the night sky and celestial motion around a still point. To assist with the production of the different cubes, Macaulay has enlisted the assistance of students at Geelong Grammar School as well as other community centres and residents. The project ultimately serves as a manifestation of a vital aspect of Mountain to Mouth; the bond between arts, community and the environment.

The station at Limeburners Lagoon will be open for two hours from 4:30pm and is a 6.3km walk from Lara RSL. Check out the timetable for more details.

Mountain to Mouth is Geelong's multi-award winning journey of discovery, an 80km walk over two days and 11 stages. Register now.