The Club organises a program of monthly General Meetings and Excursions as well as other events during the year as described below. You can see what we have planned in our calendar.
On the second Friday of each month, from February to December, our Monthly Meeting is held from 7.30 pm. Meetings usually start with members’ Observations – reports on interesting flora or fauna recorded during the previous month. We then hear a talk from a Guest Speaker on a wide variety of Natural History and Environmental topics. Members and visitors are all welcome to attend.
Normally Monthly Meetings are held in the Uniting Church Hall Lyttleton St., but during the COVID pandemic, meetings have been held online via Zoom. Online meetings have the advantage of convenience for members during winter months and enable speakers from outside Castlemaine, but Church Hall meetings allow members to get to know each other better and enjoy supper afterwards.
The Club’s Annual General Meeting is held in March, before the March Monthly Meeting.
Excursions (Field Trips) are usually held on the afternoon of the Saturday after the monthly meeting. We visit a wide variety of sites through the year, with excursions to illustrate the guest speaker’s topic the previous evening when suitable. We meet at the Octopus (opposite the motel in Duke St) for prompt departure at 1.30 pm unless otherwise advised. When possible we share transport to reduce the number of cars. From time-to-time all-day excursions to more distant areas are organised.
The Club runs a series of Wednesday afternoon wildflower walks during September, from 4 pm to 5.30 pm. These are a great opportunity for a leisurely stroll through some different areas of nearby local bushland to both see and learn about daisies, lilies, orchids and many other seasonal wildflowers indigenous to the greater Castlemaine area. Everyone is welcome to attend, and each walk is led by a club member.
Four times a year the Club does a Roadside Clean-up along a section of the Pyrenees Highway west of Castlemaine from the top of McKenzie’s Hill, past the Castlemaine Golf Club and the Steiner School, to Woodman’s Road. The usual dates are the first Monday after the Club’s February, May, August and November General Meetings.
The Great Southern Bioblitz on the iNaturalist platform is held over a period of four days in October where groups across the Southern Hemisphere record as many observations of life forms as they can within their region. While there is a friendly element of competition between groups and regions, the main purpose is to create a snapshot of biodiversity and contribute observations that will be available to researchers and conservationists to facilitate their work. Watch these pages and eNews from August on to learn how you can take part.
Challenge Bird Count
For more than 20 years, the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club has participated in this annual event held on the first weekend in December. It is organised by BirdLife Australia and involves teams from across Australia recording as many birds as possible across a 25km radius area in their local patch within a day. The various groups that make up the Castlemaine team typically detect a combined total of more than 1000 birds comprising 90-110 different species. It is a light-hearted competition with no prizes, other than the challenge of finding lots of birds within your home area. People of all ages and birdwatching abilities can participate. For more information, or to get involved, contact the coordinator of the CFNC’s team, Chris Timewell (email@example.com). Results are published in the Castlemaine Naturalist.
The South East Australian Naturalists Association (SEANA) organises two camps each year, one in autumn and one in spring. These are hosted by one of the affiliated clubs and members enjoy a range of excursions and talks from local and other experts. Accommodation/camping and meals are provided at reasonable costs. A wonderful chance to mix with fellow naturalists and explore new areas.