Tag Archives: Volunteer

Wildlife Monitoring Workshop – spotlighting & other non-invasive survey techniques

Sugar Glider in Blue Gum Swamp by Peter Smith

Lower Blue Mountains Bushcare, Landcare, Swampcare and Bush Backyards Volunteers:

How healthy is the biodiversity of your Bushcare site? Do you want to know more about the fauna that lives in the lower mountains bushland?

To learn ways to find out, you’re invited to t attend this free survey workshop with renowned ecologists, Judy Smith and Peter Smith. 

We will meet early on Friday afternoon for a briefing on the ethical protocols of monitoring and learn about methods and equipment you can use to monitor wildlife living on your bushcare site, then do some fieldwork surveying in Sun Valley. You’ll contribute to a survey using techniques such as hair tubes and sand traps, owl call recordings, and spotlight for other fauna. 

Light refreshments provided. Please advise of any special dietary requirements.

Registration before Tuesday 20 June is essential – use the ticketing option below or contact Monica Nugent on 4780 5623 or mnugent@bmcc.nsw.gov.au for more information. You will receive more information about the location and what to bring after you register.

The Biodiversity Near Me Survey is funded by the NSW Office of the Environment and Heritage and brought to you by Blue Mountains City Council Bushcare.

Bushcare Boosters Training

If you are a current or prospective Blue Mountains Community Conservation Volunteer -Bushcare, Landcare, Bush Backyards members – you are invited to the 3rd and last of our essential training modules for the year:  Weed Control Techniques  and Working Safely.

This is a free half day interactive Bushcare Boosters training workshop presented by the very experienced, qualified Bushcare Boosters Trainer, Geoff Bakewell and hosted by BMCC Bushcare.

You will learn why we use different methods on different weeds, how to be most efficient,  what the safety issues at Bushcare are and how help look after your fellow Bushcarers.

The workshop will cover:
• weed characteristics
• basic weed control techniques
• safe work practices and methodology

The content is of an introductory level and is most suitable for volunteers who have some practical experience in the field and who wish to participate in a short refresher course to develop a better understanding of environmental restoration techniques and safe work practices.

This training will better equip volunteer Bushcare Group Co-ordinators who do not already have formal qualifications in environmental restoration.

Morning tea is provided. Please RSVP and advise of any special dietary requirements to Monica by Friday 12 May.

What should you bring: notebook and camera, raincoat. Wear work clothes – long sleeves and pants, and dress for the weather. We will proceed regardless of weather as this workshop is largely classroom based.

Film Celebrates South Lawson Bushcare’s Values and Achievements

South Lawson Park Bushcare photo by Vera Hong

Last year marked 20 years for this stalwart group of volunteers and they have successfully confronted just about every issue a Bushcare group can face – not just weeds but serious erosion and the ongoing impacts of urban development. To celebrate this achievement the film Blue Mountains Bushcare: South Lawson Park has been produced by Peter Ardill and Vera Hong. Directed by Vera Hong (Seconds Minutes Hours Productions) the film examines bushland values, the ongoing threats that urban bushland faces and how the bushcare group has managed these challenges. The film contains some beautifully filmed scenes of the Lawson Creek catchment and is available for viewing at https://vimeo.com/verahong/south-lawson-bushcare Thanks to Greater Sydney Local Land Services, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and Blue Mountains City Council for project support and funding.

The South Lawson Group first started in mid-1995 with the then only Blue Mountains City Council Bushcare officer, Virginia Bear. Our aim was to regenerate and maintain the health of the upper catchment of Lawson Creek, which flows into Bedford Creek and the Nepean River.

The early years were spent mostly at the top of the Waratah St/Honour Ave section of the reserve (see map below) where Japanese honeysuckle, Privet, Montbretia, Blackberry and Broom were major invasive weeds. Some seed collecting, planting and track work were done, the latter with help from TAFE students under the guidance of a Bushcare Officer/TAFE teacher.

We expanded our weeding to the creekline and over the years to the surrounds of the BMX track and soccer field. In more recent times we have been extending the riparian buffer zone along the creek and swamp of the former golf course area by planting and allowing the bush to regenerate naturally. Some of us are also actively involved in Streamwatch and this process has been both informative and complementary for our Bushcare work.

Extending the buffer to the riparian corridor by planting with local natives.

The main vegetation communities along the creek are Eucalyptus woodland, Blue Mountains Swamp and a riparian strip of assorted native plant species, including rainforest species. The threatened species Persoonia acerosa and the endemic species Acacia ptychoclada are also present.

Our group is very committed and we are fortunate to have a few bush regeneration practitioners amongst us. Our website is also worth a look at: http://southlawsonpark.bushcarebluemountains.org.au It has some interesting photos and excellent educational material.

WE’RE CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF BLUE MOUNTAINS SWAMPCARE!

North Hazelbrook Swamp July 2009 photo Lyndal Sullivan

Swampcare is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year!  From the first on ground workday at Kittyhawke Swamp in North Wentworth Falls in March 2007 Swampcare has grown into an annual program of events in the Blue Mountains run by Council’s Bushcare. Swampcare provides opportunities for volunteers to learn about swamps and the special requirements of undertaking bush regeneration in these sensitive places as well as making hands on contributions to protecting them.

Many workshops have been held over the years to add to the knowledge of volunteers covering swamp ecology, vegetation, threatened species and  techniques to rehydrate swamps. A Swamp Symposium will be held on Wednesday 21st June  to celebrate and continue developing community knowledge, thanks to people such as Dr  Ian Baird, who has very generously given his time and shared his knowledge by regularly presenting workshops.

Over the 10 years more than 2000 volunteer hours have been contributed in on site works.  Many thanks must also go to Hominy Bakery in Katoomba who have been donating delicious lunches and morning teas for volunteers at every event since 2007. A much appreciated incentive to keep coming back!

March 2007 Kittyhawke volunteers at the first Swampcare event learning the ropes. Photo by Michael Hensen

Sites currently worked by volunteers in the Swampcare events program are:

  • Rocklea St Swamp, North Hazelbrook;
  • West Kitty Hawke Swamp, Wentworth Falls;
  • Clydebank Swamp North Leura;
  • Valley View Swamp, Blackheath.

In addition to the Swampcare events program, there are 15 other Bushcare or Landcare groups which also work in swamps and/or their buffers at some stage during each year.

There are 2253 hectares of swamp mapped in the Blue Mountains with 929 of those outside the National Park.  Swamps within the urban area are recognised as being the most vulnerable to degradation,  a concern which is being addressed by this program.

According to recent recorded history, scientific and management interest began in swamps in 1974 with the PhD by WN Holland entitled ‘Origin and Development of Hanging Valleys in the Blue Mountains, NSW’; which showed the significance of the geomorphology on formation and maintenance of hanging swamps.

In 1988, ecologists DA Keith & D H Benson described and mapped ‘Blue Mountains Sedge Swamps’ and other upland swamps, as part of a larger study. In 1991 the Blue Mountains City Council recognised swamps as an ‘environmentally sensitive vegetation community’ in  Local Environment Plan 1991 (LEP 91).

After witnessing a number of destructive developments occurring within and around swamps, in 1999 community members, under the banner of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, began working to gain legal protection for swamps.

In September 2007, after 8 years of hard work, Blue Mountains Swamps were listed as a Vulnerable Ecological Community under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (TSC Act). In order to achieve this, 3 other significant achievements were made:

  • The listing of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone as an Endangered Ecological Community under the Commonwealth EPBC Act in 2005 (which included Blue Mountains Swamps), and
  • An amendment to the NSW TSC Act to make provision for Vulnerable Ecological Communities (2002),
  • An increase in community awareness and support for swamps.

For a more detailed history and swamp images see http://bluemountains.org.au/swamps.shtml

Since the listing in 2005, Blue Mountains City Council has obtained over a million dollars in grants from state and federal agencies to protect the swamps. BMCC’s ongoing Save our Swamps program is currently partnered with Central Tablelands Local Land Services to deliver a 10 year $750,000 “Swamped by Threats” grant. This aims to continue protecting the swamps of the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau with a focus on swamps that are known habitat for the endangered Blue Mountains Water Skink and the Giant Dragonfly.

Swampcare is a vital component of the concerted effort by BMCC and the Blue Mountains community to protect its valuable swamp systems. Our swamps continue to need all this community support  – hands on swamp restoration work, watching  and reporting illegal activity, writing submissions on potentially damaging developments, and campaigning to strengthen legal protections and ‘buy back’ swamps.

New members are always welcome to join the Swampcare program, just contact the Bushcare office on 4780 5623!

April 2007: Hard at it in Kittyhawke Swamp, Wentworth Falls. Photo by Michael Hensen

Jamison Creek Catchment Care Day

Queens Cascades, Jamison Creek viewed from the top of Wentworth Falls

Join with all the Bushcare Groups, Council staff and interested residents who are working to look after the Jamison Creek catchment, improve the water quality the creek which flows over Wentworth Falls and is the habitat the Threatened plant species, Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii.

¨ Work together in this beautiful creek removing Montbretia and a range of other woody weeds

¨ Help protect the catchment from invasive weeds while enjoying good company

¨ Morning tea and lunch all provided

¨ Tools and Training provided

¨ Talks on our Healthy Waterways project and the Jamison Creek catchment health by Geoffrey Smith and Eric Mahony

Registration is essential. Please RSVP to Monica Nugent mnugent@bmcc.nsw.gov.au or phone 4780 5528 before Monday 6 March 2017 for more information about where to meet and what to expect.

 

Pherosphaera Katoomba Falls photo courtesy Ian Brown

 

Bushcare Boosters Training for Bushcare & Landcare volunteers

Geoff presents the birds and the bees

This year BMCC sponsored 2 one-day workshops for Bushcare. Bushcare Boosters is a three-part course which was designed by the Sydney Metro CMA, Volunteers Co-ordinators Network in conjunction with the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators and several local councils.

We’re aiming to ensure that our community conservation program volunteers are up to date with the current best practices in Bushcare and the opportunity to develop the highest standards possible—the ones we are used to!

To that end, we decided to hire an expert trainer, Geoff Bakewell, who is very experienced in Bushcare and is certified to teach the Bushcare Boosters program, a combination of classroom and field based learning. Geoff has worked as a Bushcare Officer and has delivered Bushcare Boosters to Bushcare volunteers for both local and state government.

So far, we have covered two of the three modules. Module 1, “Bushcare and the Big Picture” looked at the history of Bushcare, the values, problems, plants and animals present on Bushcare sites and the development of site strategies. It was held at South Lawson Park, a good example of a site with many values and complex issues to keep its Bushcare volunteers busy.

Module 2, “The Birds and the Bees of Bushcare” was at another long-term Bushcare site: Jackson Park, Faulconbridge. We spent half a day discussing habitat— how to assess it, find evidence of fauna occupying it, how to look after it.

The third module will cover weed control technique and safe work practices. It is yet to be scheduled, but we will run it as soon as we can—so stay tuned for more information or contact Monica at the Bushcare Office on 4780 5528 or mnugent@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Bushcare Boosters in Jackson Park

Researching the Ecology of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

a-yellow-tailed-black-cockatoo-in-sydneys-centennial-park-photo-by-peter-rae

A yellow-tailed black cockatoo in Sydney’s Centennial Park. Photo: Peter Rae

Is there anyone who doesn’t appreciate the sight of a flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (YTBC) flying overhead ? It seems that very little is really known about them and you can help to change that and potentially influence planning for their conservation.

Jessica Rooke is an Advanced Science (Biological Sciences) student at the University of New South Wales. She is currently undertaking Honours in Ecology with the Centre for Ecosystem Science, supervised by Professor Richard Kingsford, Dr John Martin and Dr Kate Brandis.

Jessica’s project focuses on the well known Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. However, not many people know that this iconic species has been largely understudied, and is in significant decline. The project’s objectives are to investigate the species habitat, foraging and breeding ecology, with an overall aim of creating a management plan to help conserve the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo.

In particular, it would be helpful for you to report any sightings of YTBC (regardless of location) using the online survey which can be found on the Centre for Ecosystem Science website: (https://www.ecosystem.unsw.edu.au/content/conservation-practice/threatened-species/foraging-and-habitat-ecology-of-the-yellow-tailed-black-cockatoo). Further, if you know of any YTBC nesting sites in the Blue Mountains and wider areas that would be extremely useful to researchers investigating the breeding ecology.

If you have any further information, questions or queries, particularly regarding locations of breeding/nesting sites, please contact Jessica: j.rooke@student.unsw.edu.au

Banksia Park Bushcare volunteers recently observed some Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos boring into Tea trees, apparently to extract wood-boring invertebrates. The group had intentionally planted Hakeas and Banksias to provide a food source for them so we were pleasantly surprised that the Tea trees planted alongside were also providing food for the iconic species! Jessica advises that literature suggests that Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos increase this behaviour during breeding time, and when juveniles are fledging (around June-July, although this is based on limited studies, and is said to change across their range). If your groups has any similar observation, please take the time to record them and upload the data to the easy to use survey. The more we can contribute to these Citizen Science type projects, the more chances we’ll have to help protect the habitat of the species being studied.

You can read some more about Jessica’s research at: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/rare-birds-project-tracks-wild-yellowtailed-black-cockatoos-for-the-first-time-20160708-gq1axx.html

 

Threatened Species Day at Garguree Swampcare

Female Petalura gigantea

A female Petalura gigantea – Giant Dragonfly. Photo by Ian Baird.

Threatened Species Day is a national day held each year on 7 September to commemorate the death of the last remaining Tasmanian tiger at Hobart Zoo in 1936. On this date every year we reflect on what has happened in the past and how we can protect our threatened species in the future. It is also a day to celebrate our success stories and ongoing threatened species recovery work.

With all this in mind Garguree Swampcare Group hosted a threatened species event on Sunday September 4.

30 fantastic volunteers joined in on the day which started with a restoration planting along the riparian corridor which connects the Blue Mountains Water Skink populations of the “McCrae’s Paddock” swamp and the “middle” swamp in The Gully Aboriginal Place, Katoomba.

Male Petalura gigantea Giant Dragonfly. Photo by Ian Baird

Male Petalura gigantea Giant Dragonfly. Photo by Ian Baird.

Threatened species biscuits

Threatened species biscuits cooked by Sandy Holmes.

At 11am Sandy Holmes greeted us with a most amazing brunch, including giant dragonfly cookies and water skink eclairs (they were definitely threatened species …)

This was followed by Welcome to Country and a smoking ceremony by David King. He also spoke about Garguree Swampcare’s work and the ongoing support from the Environmental Trust  and “Protecting our Places” grants.

Council’s Environmental Scientist Michael Hensen spoke about a new 10 year Environmental Trust – Saving our Species grant of $750,000  “Swamped by Threats” which will  help protect the Blue Mountains Water Skink and the Giant Dragonfly at a number of priority sites across the Blue Mountains and the Newnes Plateau.

We finished the morning’s formal proceedings with Ian Baird presenting an exciting insight into the biology and identification of two iconic threatened species found in Blue Mountains Swamps: the Giant Dragonfly and the Blue Mountains Water Skink.

After that it was back to more connecting to our place through our stomachs!

Eulamprus leurensis photo by Ian Baird

Eulamprus leurensis (Blue Mountains Water Skink). Photo by Ian Baird.

Hensen Glen, Leura

A full day walking off track along Govetts Creek ensuring this creekline remains free of weeds to protect the rare and endangered Epacris hamiltoni. Be prepared for wet feet. Morning tea and Lunch provided. Book with Vanessa on (02) 47873112 or vanessa.richardson @environment.nsw.gov.au by Wednesday 28th September.

The Gully get together 2016

Garguree Swampcare, Upper Kedumba Bushcare, Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Bushcare,Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare invite you to the 2016 Gully Get-together.

  • Learn and practice the best ways to treat Privet
  • Support all the Bushcare groups catchment area
  • Enjoy lunch and a cuppa while connecting with each other and hearing what other groups and organizations are up too
  • Get updates on work planned to care for the catchment & hear about the site’s  history
  • Support The Gully Tradition Owners in Caring for Country

And learn about the Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii)

Wear long sleeves, long pants, closed in shoes or boots. Bring drinking water and your energy! Lunch, tools and training provided.