Category Archives: General

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.

 

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/

Jamison Creek Catchment: Caring for Dwarf Mountain Pine

Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii Katoomba Falls photo courtesy Ian Brown

Protecting the Wentworth Falls population of the endangered Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii  from the very invasive Montbretia was the name of the game for our Jamison Creek Catchment Care Day this year. It was well received by some keen Bushcare volunteers, BMCC Bushland Operations Team (Bushcare Officers and Bush Regeneration Officers) and the NPWS Ranger for the Jamison Valley.

Having 2 extra Bush Regeneration team members involved for the first time meant we could divide into smaller groups and cover more of the creekline as well as share information about the management of the whole area while we worked.

One group met at Wentworth Falls Car Park, walked to the top of Wentworth Falls and then worked upstream (wading where necessary) to follow up woody weeds in the area worked last year.

The other groups met at the corner of Jamison and Fletcher streets, kitted up and after a short walk down to the creek, with some walking further down the Charles Darwin Track, started target ting Montbretia around the pools and cascades and all woody weeds and the along the track and creek banks. All three groups re-united for lunch and informative talks on the creek bank.

Montbretia is slow going so although the distance covered wasn’t huge, we removed lots of corms and enjoyed the beautiful weather and surroundings while we worked. There was lots of opportunity to discuss the creek condition, learn about the endangered Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pherosphaera fistzgeraldii).

Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) corms

Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) flowers

Another target weed in this catchment is Erica lusitanica (Spanish or Portugese heath, often referred to simply as “Erica”, a woody shrub which has a similar appearance to native tea trees so is often mistaken for a native. Both Montbretia and Erica have the potential to establish in the rocky crevices on the cliffline adjacent to the waterfalls – taking up the space where Dwarf Mountain Pine grows. Annual Catchment Care Days are a valuable contribution to the ongoing work of Council’s Bushland Operations Team, contractors and the volunteer Bushcare Groups. Charles Darwin, Jamieson St Landcare, Wentworth Falls Lake, Water Nymphs Dell and Valley of the Waters groups were all represented this year and together we not only dealt with Montbretia and Erica but as Tutsan, Japanese honeysuckle and Small-leaf Privet as well.

Jenny Hill from Council’s Healthy Waterways Team delivered a very informative talk about the issues affecting the water quality of the catchment and the work underway to improve stormwater management.

Good food, good company and good work resulted in a very enjoyable and productive morning – made possible through funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage “Saving Our Species” program. A huge thank you to SoS and the dedicated volunteers of Wentworth Falls!

 

Bushcare Office News

The past couple of months has been full of change in the Bushcare Team. We have welcomed Stephanie Chew and Jane Anderson as permanent part-time Bushcare Officers – some people would know Jane and Stephanie due to their work as casual Bushcare Officers over the past few years. We have also welcomed back Nathan Summers to the team. Nathan worked for 12 years within the Bushcare Team before joining the Recreation Team so he brings with him a wealth of experience. Nathan will be responsible for looking after the groups when your Bushcare Officer takes holidays and will work on projects and events to support your Bushcare Officer.

There has been changes afoot with legislation as the Biosecurity Act replaces the Noxious Weeds Act. This brings to us new suite of language as listed weeds are now classified as Biosecurity Risks and the control measures now called outcomes. More information can be found here http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm?s=C576E07E-3048-1075-63533E928C097BE8 

Council has been reviewing asbestos management procedures on all its sites which brings me to remind all volunteers that if you see asbestos on your site leave the area and mention it to your Bushcare Officer. The process is the officer will lodge an incident report and it will be assessed by a relevant council officer.

In conclusion the changes for the team leader role. I have resigned from the position to take on a Project Officer role within the Bushcare Team. I am delighted for the new challenges that lay ahead and will share this position while my kids are little with Tanya Mein. She brings a wealth of knowledge working with community gardens and Bushcare with Hornsby Council. I am looking forward to learning from her and delivering projects and events.  I would also like to thank Monica for the fantastic job she has done filling in working with parts of the Bushcare Team Leader position.

Invitation to participate in the recording the recent ecological change

This research may be of interest to Bushcare Groups that have worked their patch for over 10 years.

See details below on how to participate: The Department of the Environment and Energy, together with the CSIRO are undertaking an investigation to understand how Australia’s biodiversity has been changing in recent years. As a part of this investigation we are seeking to understand how the 1°C increase in surface temperature experienced over the past century may have contributed to recent changes in biodiversity across the Australian landscape.

To this end we are very interested in hearing about the experiences and observations of people who are familiar with different parts of Australia. We hope that their insights and stories will provide us with a unique view of how things are changing. To participate, you would need to be able to select a natural area (e.g. your local region or farm, a Nature Reserve, urban bushland) that you have been familiar with for at least the last 10 years. Note that we are interested both in areas where change has been observed and where change has not been observed. The survey can be found here<https://csirolandandwater.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dcjRc0gqVUMKeiN> and is made up of a series of observational questions and an open section for people to tell us their stories. It would take about 30 minutes. Additional information about the project can be found here<https://research.csiro.au/biodiversity-knowledge/projects/recent-history-climate-driven-ecological-change-australia/>”.

For more information contact: Natasha Porter Social Scientist | Adaptive Urban & Social Systems Land & Water CSIRO E natasha.porter@csiro.au<mailto:natasha.porter@csiro.au

Nature Based Recreation Tourism Licenses

Notice of intention to issue Licences for the use of BMCC managed lands for Organised Nature Based Recreation and Tourism activities for the 2017-2018 Licensing Year

This process will legitimise the ongoing use of these lands. The term of any such licence will not exceed one year and renewal is only available through reapplication.

Submissions need to be made by 5pm Wednesday 2 August 2017.

blue mountains have your say here https://www.bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au/NBRT with an online submission form.

With a link from our council website as well here http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/yourcouncil/publicnoticesexhibitions/nbrtlicencerenewal20172018