Blue Mountains Bushcare Network Bioblitz and Conference

The Blue Mountains Bushcare Network proudly to presented their third Bushcare Network Conference on Saturday July 29. This year theme is Citizen Science so a Bioblitz seemed appropriate! The day focused on our beautiful and unique lower mountains vegetation communities. We were fortunate to be able to spend the day with experts to learn how to be “ears and eyes” on the ground. The data we collected will go into data bases for a wider audience.

Concurrent sessions occupied the morning. They included field-based citizen science activities at various locations around Springwood and two presentations at the Hub:

  • Hollows as Homes – Adrian Davis  University of Sydney
  • Bushcare website update/setup – Hugh Todd
  • Aquatic Wildlife – Jenny Hill & Fitzgeralds Creek Streamwatch Group Rosenthal Lane, Sun Valley
  • Birds of the Deanei – Carol Probets & Graham Turner, Deanei Forest Reserve, Springwood
  • Monitoring the Fauna of Fitzgeralds Creek Catchment – Peter & Judy Smith, Valley Heights Creek, Sun Valley
  • Plants of Fairy Dell Reserve, Springwood Susan Jalaluddin & Helen Yoxall

The birds group, led by Carol Probets and Graham Turner, observing Bell Miners in the Deanei Forest Reserve, Springwood.

We all reconvened at the Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub in Springwood for lunch, informative and inspiring presentations from Margaret Baker and Jenny Hill, and hands on workshops including what to do with the data we collect.

The Hub presentations included:

Birds of Endangered Forests of the Lower Blue Mountains – Margaret Baker 

Margaret’s talk introduced the endangered eucalypt forests (Threatened Ecological Communities) that are found on clay soils of the Lower Blue Mountains from Springwood to Hawkesbury Heights and to Lapstone. She described each of the communities, identified the main trees and talked about some of the rare plants, but the focus was the diversity of birds to be found in each of the forest types, especially birds that are listed under NSW legislation as Threatened.

Citizen Science in Action –  what to do with your data” – Jenny Hill

Citizen science has emerged as a distinct field over the last 20 years and is now enjoying a boom. What are some successes? What are the factors critical to its success and what role does Bushcare, Landcare and Swampcare play in this success? How could citizen science grow to be part of the bigger story about restoration and protection in the Blue Mountains? This is brief overview of citizen science is an introduction to group presentations.

In her community volunteer role Jenny Hill is Coordinator with the Leura Falls Creek catchment working group, Bushcarer and Streamwatcher. Jenny has been involved in environmental education and learning for over 35 years and is currently Environmental Educator for Blue Mountains City Council. In this role she conducts citizen science and connects with nature programs across the mountains with schools and community groups. Jenny’s on-ground experience enriched her presentation and provided the bigger picture of citizen science in many different contexts.

Introduction to Biodiversity Atlases on the Internet – Margaret Baker 

This talk provided an introduction to the biodiversity atlases that are available on the Internet. It focused on the Atlas of Living Australia – where to find it, how to use it to determine biodiversity in a selected area and how to record data as an individual or as a Citizen Science group. It showed how the kind of data collected in the field sessions of today’s conference can be readily entered into the global exchange of biodiversity information. The world-wide and unrestricted access to such information can however be problematic and so some issues related to atlas and database use was also be discussed.

 

Ruths Revenge

Members of the Minnehaha Bushcare group were joined by about twenty of Ruth Ley’s friends on Saturday 1st April to celebrate Ruth’s birthday at the Minnehaha picnic area. Ruth was one of the founding members of the Minnehaha Bushcare group and was an active member for 25 years. She was also a founding member of the Katoomba Creek Group and active for 20 years, as well as being an active member of 3 other groups.

One of Ruth’s missions in Bushcare was to rid Yosemite and Katoomba creeks of Montbretia. Her many friends gathered to help continue her legacy in getting revenge against the Montbretia in Yosemite Creek. They also helped to install a plaque in her honour and planted a memorial garden adjoining the Bushcare site. The group would like to thank all of Ruth’s friends who made contributions towards the memorial plaque.

Following many weeks of miserable weather, we were very grateful to be treated to a glorious sunny day to work together and enjoyed morning tea, including date muffins and other goodies. We then shared some of our favourite memories of Ruth, who was a good friend and inspiration to us all. The group plans to continue this tradition on 1st April each year.

Ruth Ley

A tireless and founding member

of Minnehaha Bushcare Group

(from 1991 to 2016). Friend and

protector of this land.

An inspiration to Bushcarers

who continue Ruth’s legacy.

 

Farewell John Hollis

It is with a very sad heart that we say goodbye to John.  He was dearly loved by his family, cherished by his many friends and his dedication to the community is a loss that will be felt by everyone who had the privilege to know him.  I can only imagine part of the loss that his family is feeling and pass on our sincere condolences and support.

I met John many years ago when we teamed up to walk our dogs.  I say “our dogs” but really, John was walking his neighbour’s dog as the neighbour did not have time and the dog needed exercise. It was a classic example of the help that John gave without fuss or any strings attached. During these daily walks I not only marvelled at his fitness but also his pride in his family and commitment to the community.

He was a long standing and well regarded member of the Warrimoo Bushfire Brigade.  He held many positons in the Brigade and at all times provided non-judgemental support and wise counsel to all members.  Many of the members referred to John as “father” as a mark of their respect.  The Brigade recognised him as a life member, an award that must be earnt by at least 10 years of meritorious service. John was a more than worthy recipient of this award.

John was an inaugural member of the Cross Street Bushcare and the Long Angle Landcare groups. He regularly attended work days for many years while he was physically able. His dedication and concern for us and the protection of the bushland was appreciated by all. He had a sense of humour that lifted our spirits and we enjoyed his contributions to our conversations at the afternoon tea. We have missed him at the volunteer BBQs held in recent years but still remember his joyous company of past times. I am sure we will continue to contemplate the “good old days” of John’s company of past times for many more years.

There were many other groups that John generously gave his time to. These included the Warrimoo Citizens Association and Warrimoo Tennis Court and Hall Committees. John was also a proud volunteer for the Sydney Olympics. It gave him great satisfaction to reflect on the time that he was the driver for the Israeli athletes and officials. This was a demonstration of John’s character as he enjoyed helping others in need without any expectation of personal reward; the opportunity to help was reward enough.

John and one of his many friends

Many probably do not know that John was also a skilful negotiator. On two occasions, as a result of John’s manoeuvring, I ended up owning dogs that I had not bargained for. On the first occasion after waiting for his chance (it was a well-timed manoeuvre) , John suggested that I take a rescue dog home to see if it would fit into the household.  Of course the rest of the story was predictable.  On the second, we were at a BBQ and were trying to convince John and Doreen to take on a dog that a family reluctantly had to give up.  John was too wily a negotiator for us and when my wife Joan, in frustration said that if no one else wanted the dog we would take it on, he made his move.  Before we could change our minds John arranged for the dog to be delivered to us.  Of course he knew we were dog lovers and that they would be well looked after.  He also knew we were in need of the dogs and so, while he was quick to strike, he also knew that both the dogs and us would benefit from his match making.  These ordinary examples of John’s insightful and compassionate nature are a tribute to his character and my fond memories of him.

I have treasured memories of the afternoons that Joan, Doreen, John and I spent relaxing on his porch in pleasant conversation while watching the happenings in the street.  John would occasionally greet passers-by and some would call in to catch up.  John loved Warrimoo and was surrounded by many dear friends who have had the good fortune to have a shared the life of a modest, genuine, caring man.

To respect John’s legacy, we should strive to continue with his high standards of commitment, compassion, practical help and loyalty that was at all times willingly volunteered. This is the very least that we can do to honour a very dear mate.

Vale John Hollis.

 

Bushcare Awards 2016

The view of the Megalong Escarpment provided a fabulous backdrop for the annual Bushcare Picnic

As always, the Bushcare Team had a very difficult time deciding which of our very many fabulous volunteers should be recognised with a Mayoral Award this year but after much deliberation (and next year’s short list already drawn up !) the following dedicated, hard working, committed and all round wonderful people were chosen:

HARD YAKKA 

Helen Rose and David Churches Leura Park 

John Hill accepted the Hard Yakka Award on behalf of Helen Rose David Churches

Members of both Leura Park Bushcare and Prince Henry Cliff Walk (attending twice month). Since discovering Bushcare by attending a bird walk and talk organised by Gordon Falls Bushcare several years ago, David and Helen have regularly attended and actively participated in bushcare in the Leura Falls Creek catchment. David and Helen are also strong advocates for Bushcare involvement at Springwood Bushwalking Club and frequently contribute to submission writing and often plan their holidays around Bushcare commitments !

MASTERS AWARD

Alan Dean (left) with Mayor Mark Greenhill and Chris Watson (right)

Chris Watson & Alan Dean, Jackson Park Faulconbridge   

Chris Watson Chris is a long-term member of Jackson Park Bushcare Group, but he undertakes a lot of additional work and monitoring in his own time.  His tenacity, stoic approach and excellent strategies keep this site looking fantastic!

Alan Dean – Alan is a founding and long-term member of Jackson Park Bushcare Group (almost 20 years).  He is extremely dedicated, hard-working and has been pivotal in transforming this site over time.

Both Alan and Chris undertake any work required on site, despite most weather conditions and difficulties of the terrain or weed infestation challenge.  They don’t even bother with an afternoon tea break!

JUNIOR BUSHCARE LEGEND

Liam Booyens 12 years old –  Garguree Swampcare

Liam Booyens with Jasmine Payget and Mayor Mark Greenhill

Liam is a young and enthusiastic Bushcare member who has been involved with Garguree Swamp care for 7 years. He has spent these years connecting to country in many ways by watching and listening, playing and working to restore country.

He has a great sense of place at Garguree and his confidence is growing as he does.Liam has also spent 3 weekends wrangling sycamores at Jenolan

He has been involved in making Bee Homes and has attended a habitat workshop in Bilpin and the night before the Bushcare Picnic he spent the night camped out enjoying the bio blitz and spotting arboreal mammals.

All of these experiences enhance his natural ability and love of the natural world around him and we hope he is involved with Bush care for many years to come.

LANDCARE LEGEND: Karleen Waldron

Growing up in the lower Blue Mountains helped develop a love which has inspired this person to both advocate , volunteer and work for protection of our bushland and all the creatures that live in it. This passion has led to volunteering over many years with Bushcare, Landcare & WIRES.

Karleen started Long Angle Landcare group & is a core member of the Fitzgeralds Creek Catchment group. She has strongly advocated for the protection of the Sun Valley / Fitzgeralds Creek catchment over the past two decades.

Karleen’s tireless advocacy has paid off over the years, with her work together with the Long Angle Group being instrumental in convincing Sydney Water not to proceed with plans to discharge sewage outfalls into Fitzgeralds Creek, and leveraging multiple grants to target weeds from their source points in Sun Valley all the way down the catchment to the confluence with the Nepean River.

Working in the bush regeneration industry for over 15 years, she has also extended herself to transfer her considerable skills to volunteer groups and to many Blue Mountains TAFE students, teaching Cert 3 Conservation & Land Management. She is well beloved and respected by many students & volunteers she has worked with over the past 10 years and through them has made a significant contribution to the local bush regeneration industry.

           

BUSHCARE LEGEND OF THE YEAR: Shirley Brown

Shirley Brown, Bushcare legend of the Year

Shirley first started Bushcare  over 30 years ago with the National Trust at Middle Harbour (Roseville), in the early 1980s when living in Sydney.  She then worked occasional days in the Blue Mountains with ACTV (Australian Conservation Trust Volunteers).

Shirley Brown is a true Bushcare legend … she is currently a consistent member of 5 Bushcare Groups as well as many swampcare events.  Her commitment extends well beyond those individual sites through her contribution to catchment coordination and a myriad of other small but important tasks.  Most importantly Shirley has introduced many people to bushcare, bringing them along to one of her many groups – she has been involved with 10 groups over the years (at one time it was 8 concurrently).

After moving to the mountains, Shirley joined up with the Friends of the Blue Mountains which began in 1989, to weed around Echo Point, Jamison Creek, Darks Common and the lantana in the Lapstone Tunnel area.

She became a regular member of 2 local groups from their beginnings in the mid 90s – Lindemann Rd in 1995 and Valley of the Waters in 1996.

After her family commitments reduced she became more involved from 2004, joining another 5 groups, (2 of which she was a founding member):

  • MINNE HA HA BUSHCARE
  • GOVETTS ST BUSHCARE
  • KATOOMBA CREEK BUSHCARE
  • BRAHMA KUMARIS, and
  • UPPER KATOOMBA CREEK BUSHCARE
  • LEURA PARK

Shirley is always keen to get stuck into the bush, and is always the first to head off and start work while the rest of us faff about getting ready and chatting in the morning. She keeps us Bushcare Officers in check, making sure we are aware of any significant weed or native species present in the work area, and letting us know if anyone in the group needs to get a lesson or reminder about plant id.

Whilst not keen on meetings, Shirley does recognise the importance of planning and coordinating and has contributed to the Govetts & Katoomba Creek Catchment Coordination Group since  Sept 2006. Shirley has been untiring in promoting Bushcare and sustainable living. For many years she assisted with editing our newsletter and she has been an instrumental advocate for disseminating the Safe & SustaInable Gardening booklet she helped to develop.

Bushcare Legends Steve Barratt and Shirley Brown hand on the Golden Trowel

GROUP AWARDS:

10 Years

  • Everglades Landcare Group
  • Coates Park Bushcare Group
  • Woodford Glen Bushcare Group
  • Mount Irvine Landcare Group

15 Years

  • Explorers Reserve Bushcare Group
  • Cross St and Rickard Rd Sports Common Bushcare  Group
  • Bellata Court Bushcare Group

21 Years

  • Katoomba Creek Bushcare Group
  • Sublime Point Bushcare Group

30 Years

  • Centenary Reserve Bushcare Group

    David Coleby and Rae Druitt with Councillor Chris van der Kley

The Pollinators

Following up on the great success of the Native bee hotel making workshop at the annual Bushcare picnic in April, Bushcare is launching “The Pollinators” group web page … an online tool for everyone to get involved and post what pollinators are in the hotels, any information you have or would like and gain access to recources and events about pollinators – bees, flies, butterflies, birds …

The coordinator for this page is Phil Nelson, I think you will all remember him from the day – very busy with a drill in hand.

So send your information to him via email and he will upload it to the page.

Phillip Nelson phillipnelson100@gmail.com

And get ready for Pollinator count in November … and some butterfly hilltopping activities …

 

Garguree Swampcare Wins Local Land Services Landcare Award!

Garguree Swampcare Group celebrating their recent Regional Landcare Award win

Garguree swampcare  in the Gully is this year’s recipient of the regional “indigenous land management” landcare award, recognising Garguree’s core essential indigenous ecological practise and philosophy of “Connecting to Country”.

Everyone is involved in the essence of Place, healing, connection, understanding the past and looking towards the living cultural future at Garguree whether through weeding, chatting, listening to stories, playing, wheelbarrowing, photographing, eating, singing, sculpting, brush matting, planting, planning, weaving, learning new regen skills, flora and fauna identification, Bush tucker, standing by the fire, rubbish collection, stream watch, fungi identifying – Garguree is a large, active group with many children involved.

Not only is Garguree the recipient of the Indigenous Land management award, but for the past 3 years children from Garguree have been the recipients of BMCC’s Junior Bushcare award with for their ongoing commitment and connection to restoring Garguree.

Many children have grown up with Garguree and are growing up with a true respect for the Aboriginal community, knowledge of the natural world, regeneration and revegetation techniques and understanding the importance of protecting country and community.

The group coordinators David King and Elly Chatfield also won the Bushcare Legend of the Year and Hard Yakka awards 3 years ago. At the time BMCC Mayor Clr Mark Greenhill, said, “The Bushcare Legend award is the highest level of recognition we can give anyone within the Bushcare Program. It recognises sustained efforts over many years.”

All are welcome to J oin and connect to Country with this award winning bushcare group which meets the first Sunday of the month 9-12.

Contact http://www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/join-bushcare/

How healthy are our waterways?

Beautiful creeks and waterways are a wonderful part of our City – but how healthy are they?

Since 1998, Council has regularly tested waterway health at up to 50 waterways across the City. As a result, we now have one of the richest water quality data sets in Australia, and Council uses this data to inform its catchment improvement programs.

Council has published detailed water quality reports on its website since 2006. From July 2016, Council has also produced a summary ‘snapshot’ report, with the aim of making waterway health information more available to the community. The snapshot reports are mailed to all ratepayers in July.

The full waterway health reports, as well as the summary “snapshot” reports, are also available on Council’s website at www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/waterways.

The ‘snapshot’ report shows each sample waterway in the Blue Mountains, the catchment within which it flows, and its state of ecological health (rated Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor). In the 2017 report, 52% of tested waterways are in good condition or better, while 48% of waterways are in fair to poor condition.

Our city is lucky to have some of Australia’s best waterways, but as these results show, they are also vulnerable to pollution – especially due to stormwater runoff from urban areas.

Urban runoff is consistently identified as the number one environmental threat to our World Heritage listing and presents challenges for local drinking water catchments, Endangered Ecological Communities, threatened species and the City’s tourism reputation.

Everything that goes into our gutters and streets ends up in our creeks.

Try these few simple actions to help protect our waterways from urban runoff:

  • Keep these pollutants out of drains: litter, soil and sand, fertilisers and pesticides, detergents, oil, animal droppings and garden waste.
  • Install a rainwater tank to capture rainwater from your roof and use it regularly.
  • Design your garden to allow stormwater to soak into the ground.
  • Control invasive weeds on your property.
  • Don’t dump fish or plants in waterways.

To find out more about local waterways, visit www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/waterways

The 10 year anniversary of Blue Mountains City Council’s Swampcare and Save our Swamps Program was celebrated at a Swamp Symposium recently that highlighted the significant and award-winning achievements of swamp restoration in the Blue Mountains.
The one-day conference, which attracted 65 attendees, highlighted dedicated Swampcare volunteers who have contributed over 10,000 hours towards protecting Blue Mountains swamps.
Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said the award-winning approach to swamp restoration is part of Council’s whole of catchment approach to environmental management.

“Swampcare is a vital part of Council’s highly effective volunteer program aimed at biodiversity conservation,” Cr Greenhill said. “We’re able to better protect and restore swamps across the city thanks to 75 dedicated Swampcare volunteers.

Blue Mountains Swamps are a biologically diverse plant community that occurs nowhere else in the world. The vegetation in these swamps range from low button grass clumps to large shrubs such as the Hakea and Grevillea species. The swamps provide essential habitat to several Threatened Species such as the Blue Mountains Water Skink (Eulamprus leuraensis) and the Giant Dragonfly (Petalura gigantea).

Council’s Upland Swamp Rehabilitation Program started in 2006 after Blue Mountains swamps were listed as part of the Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone endangered ecological community.

In 2008 Blue Mountains and Lithgow City Councils formed a partnership to deliver the ‘Save our Swamps’ (S.O.S) project to restore the endangered ecological community across both local government areas. The project was supported by grant funding of $250,000 over 3 years from the Urban Sustainability program of the NSW Environmental Trust.

In 2009 the S.O.S. project received a $400,000 Federal Government ‘Caring for Country’ grant to expand the program to incorporate Wingecarribee Shire Council and Gosford City Council. The partnership resulted in the swamp remediation model being rolled out to over 95% of the endangered ecological community in the four local government areas.

The innovative integrated approach led to the project receiving four awards, including a special commendation in the United Nations World Environment Day Award for Excellence in Overall Environmental Management in 2011.

Speakers at the conference included Palaeoecologist, Dr Lennard Martin, who spoke on the ancient origins of swamps and Principal Scientist at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Martin Krogh, who discussed the health of Newnes and Woronora Plateau Swamps.

Eric Mahony and Amy St Lawrence from Council’s Environment and Culture Branch also gave presentations. The day finished up with a field trip to the new soft engineering stormwater structures installed at the Leura catchment.

 

The Swamp Symposium was made possible by funding from the Office of Environment and Heritage ‘Save Our Species’ program, the new NSW Environmental Trust funded ‘Swamped by Threats’ project and Council.

 

Interested in Swampcare? Get involved by emailing schew@bmcc.nsw.gov.au or call the Bushcare office on 4780 5623.

2 minutes with … Beth Winsor

Beth Winsor at home with her Gymea lily

Active volunteer with Links view Landcare and Bush Place Bushcare, Beth has been involved in Bushcare for 2 years starting initially with Links view Landcare then joining Bush place Bushcare group at its inception. Beth spends the second Saturday of the month out in the field with these 2 groups and whilst studying Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management online Beth has found these Bushcare days a valuable source of knowledge, inspiration and bush comradery.

Garnering different perspectives visions and practical experience enables a broad base for Beth’s studies. She has also been involved with the Bushcare Boosters program and grass seed collecting and sorting workshops. She has a passion for botany and seems to find an interesting plant every work day which she will enthusiastically share with the groups.

Once her children are all in school Beth will find work in the conservation and land management field, so she can feel fulfilled in her work and give back to the community she calls home.