For those effected by fire in the lower Mountains this is the type of weeds that will come up.
The Sublime Point Bushcare Group (SPBG) in Leura celebrated its 20th Birthday on 11 January 2016. Since 1996 the Group has transformed, with the aid of a number of small grants, a six hectare Reserve in south Leura that had previously been seriously degraded over a substantial fraction of the total area. That part of today’s Reserve is now a flourishing native landscape. The whole Reserve is crisscrossed with walking tracks that have been engineered to reduce erosion.
Over the 20 years the Group has eradicated an impressive list of 33 weeds, including Buddleia, Tree Lucerne, Portuguese Heath, Holly, Privet, Monterey Pine, White Poplar, Lombardy Poplar, Pussy Willow, Chinese Elm, Watsonia and Yucca. But we still have difficulty with St John’s Wort, Catsear, Blackberry and a host of imported grasses.
The Group has a vibrant core of half a dozen dedicated bushcarers, augmented from time to time with other local residents. Most of them appear in the accompanying photograph.
By David Coleby, Convener SPBG
THE BLUE MOUNTAINS BOTANIC GARDEN PRESENTS
BIRDS FROM LIFE
Bird artist Fiona Lumsden has spent decades tracking down and studying Australian birds within the context of their natural environment. Her paintings bring many elements together to create small insights into the world of the bird. She has built this series of lively sketches and paintings of birds from direct experience in the field.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah
T: 4567 3000
The Bushcare office, Ray Richardson and Hugh Todd have been working quietly away on updating the new platform for the weeds website, and it is now live!
The finished website will have 64 weed profiles, and resources to help with weed control. We have changed the system so the website can intelligently resize to look good on all screens used for web browsing – from phones to desktops.
It can be found at www.weedsbluemountains.org.au, for those who would like to have a look around.
We have retained some of the fantastic features that Barbara Harley and John Penlington worked on, like the weeds brochure and some of the original articles.
Due to the advancements of user friendly web design we (at the office) can add articles and information quickly and easily. If anyone within the bushcare community would like to donate some time to work on the website with me, or photographs that are better than what we have, we would be very grateful.
On Saturday 7 November, Katoomba Christian Convention launched a Landcare Group for looking after its 26 acre site. Fourteen hearty volunteers worked hard over a full day of guided bush regeneration.
‘It was a tremendous day’s effort and we’re looking forward to continued momentum into the future,’ said Operations Manager Shelley Taylor.
Gundungurra Traditional Custodian David King provided a Welcome to Country, sharing stories of the area where his mother, the late Mary King, grew up. David also gave the volunteer group an introduction to identifying Aboriginal artefacts. The late Mary King had been looking forward to attending the day, that David King and Elly Chatfield attended in her honour.
Bushcarer Jenny Schabel, a professional in natural resource management who works with Greater Sydney Local Land Services, volunteered her time to lead the day. Jenny has been a long term supporter of Katoomba Christian Convention and having chats with Operations Manager Shelley Taylor led to the launch of the new group.
On the day, during the morning tea and lunch provided, a devotion was shared that involved discussing how Christians need to care for and look after the natural environment as God intended. The day was supported by Blue Mountains City Council with Community Weeds Officer Linda Thomas providing much needed tools on loan for the volunteers to use.
Since it started way back in 1903, Katoomba Christian Convention has benefited greatly from volunteer support. Positioned just across the road from Scenic World, right on the doorstep of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Katoomba Christian Convention has beautiful ridgetop bushland. A big chunk of the bush regeneration day involved removing the weeds tutsan, honeysuckle, broom and blackberry along a creek line that feeds a federally significant hanging swamp on the property.
Operations Manager Shelley Taylor explained that ‘our vision is to further develop the site to be an eco-tourist destination for attracting groups and conferences to the area’. With four self contained conference centres nestled in bushland, Katoomba Christian Convention accommodates groups ranging from 5 to 540 people, and can seat over 2000 people in its large auditorium.
Last evening Dr Paul Rymer presented the project that a the Western Sydney University is working on to monitor the flowering times of plants from the pea family across sandstone soils in the Blue Mountains. He discussed the findings of The Waratah Project that Botanical Gardens managed. They found there was three distinctive genetic groups amongst other findings. This lead to this research on the flowering times of Acacia and Pea plants and the interactions with insects and if the flowering times and life cycles of related insects correlate.
This Pea project has a citizen science component that a few Bushcare volunteers are currently involved with. If you are interested in your group participating in this monitoring which involves monitoring once or twice a month on site with a 50 m x 50 m plot recording the life cycle of these plants.
Here is the website that has the site sheets and more information.
Contact Paul to register a site.
The collection of a fox scats is an important aspect of assessing fox prey preferences across the urban to natural gradient of the Greater Sydney Region. Below is a straightforward protocol to collect fox scats. Fox Scat Collection Protocol & Kit I encourage volunteers to participate. This is a common sense activity, much like members of the community picking-up their dogs scats.
If you require kits please let me know and I’ll post them to you. Of course, you can improvise if you encounter a scat and don’t have a kit.
I have spoken with Australia Post and they have advised that as long as the package doesn’t smell or leak then it will be delivered. This is where drying and double-bagging is important. If storing collected scats, prior to sending them to me, it is important to store them in a refrigerator after they have been dried and when they are double-bagged (once in the bags they will go moldy if they aren’t refrigerated/frozen).
Please contact John directly if you have any questions (details below)
Dr John Martin
Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands
T +61 2 9231 8058
E [email protected]
Mrs Macquaries Road, NSW 2000, Australia
On Saturday 31 October the rain held off long enough for 19 residents of Springwood and Warrimoo to get stuck into removing the weed African Love Grass. We met at the banner at Warrimoo Oval to tool up and introduce everyone, then we went down to site.
I am very impressed so many people care for this bushland. A new volunteer
The day was very productive, removing African Love Grass, reporting a dumper, and being visited by some Yellow Tailed Cockatoos.
Lily, a volunteer from WIRES, came and presented information about what we should do if we find injured wildlife on our sites and what to consider when removing weeds.
Well, another season has passed and the Waratahs have worked their magic all over the mountains yet again! Most Bushcare Groups are full steam ahead with the burst of weeds that Spring usually brings along with the warmer temperatures or busy with revegetation works.
The big news from the Bushcare Office is that from November 2nd, as part of an internal restructure, Council’s Bushland Operations Team will sit within the ‘Environment and Culture’ Branch in the City and Community Outcomes Directorate, headed by Luke Nicholls. A Bushland Operations Co-ordinator will be appointed shortly. ‘Bushland Ops’ comprises the Bushcare, Bush Regeneration, Walking Tracks and Urban Weeds Teams. We are expecting the change to lead to a more streamlined integration between environmental strategy, planning and service delivery.
Otherwise, its business as usual and that means Bushcare! Do you know someone who hasn’t yet tried it out? Get them along to the Bushcare Major Day Out in Warrimoo on Saturday 31st October, then!
Happy reading, happy bushcaring,
— Monica, for the Bushcare Team.
Aunty Sharyn Hall welcomed us on behalf of the Gundungurra nation, with great warmth and positive messages. Our Mayor, Councillor Mark Greenhill opened the conference, taking the opportunity to remind us of the importance of maintaining the environmental protections offered by the draft 2015 Blue Mountains Local Environment Plan (LEP), and bringing us up to date with the efforts being made by the current Council to fight any watering down of the LEP.
Paul Vale, Blue Mountains Bushcare Network Convenor did a wonderful job as MC (pictured right). In typical style, Margaret Baker awed the 95 people in attendance with her keynote address titled ‘The Role of Fire in Blue Mountains Plant Communities’. Updates from the catchment groups currently operating and from Bill Dixon from Greater Sydney Local Land Services followed a sumptuous morning tea laid on by the Network volunteers.
A highlight was undoubtedly a fabulous Smoking Ceremony which Den Barber of Blue Mountains Firesticks very generously conducted at very short notice. Due to the built nature of the surrounding environs, Den conducted the ceremony from a kettle barbecue!
After lunch, during which the newly formed “Trad” band performed several weed-related numbers, delegates had a difficult choice to make: Den Barber’s presentation on Blue Mountains Firesticks, about Indigenous Cultural Burning, or Mark Graham’s about the Nature Conservation Council’s Hotspots project. Both delivered important and interesting information which was well received by participants and inspired much discussion.
The final session brought everyone back together in the Mavis Woods Hall for a panel discussion. Peter Belshaw (BMCC); Hugh Patterson (Bush regenerator; Blue Mountains Conservation Society Bushfire Representative; RFS volunteer) and Cameron Chaffey (NPWS) spoke briefly about their respective roles and fielded questions from the audience.
And to cap off, the raffle was drawn, with several lucky participants winning some fabulous donated prizes, including a two night stay in a Katoomba B&B, a carton of wine, books and tools!
Presentations will be available on the Bushcare Network webpage http://bushcarenetwork.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/ and we will alert you when they are posted.