Thankfully the rain showers overnight cleared and a clear blue sky greeted a group of over 40 very keen volunteers at the Upper Kedumba Bushcare site in Pine St, Katoomba on Sunday November 1st 2015.
The ground was ready – we’d already dug about 120 holes and the rain prepared the ground nicely for planting, so it was all systems go! After a quick briefing and acknowledgement of Country at 9am, Jane whipped us into action and within 2 hours the combined efforts of Upper Kedumba, Friends of Katoomba Falls Ck, Garguree Swampcare and Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare Groups had 400 plants in the ground, staked, guarded and watered.
Just enough time to pack up the work gear and reconvene at The Gully Heritage Centre where David King and Elly Chatfield greeted us with a sumptuous morning tea/lunch laid on courtesy of the Saving Our Species Program and Sandy Holmes, a Garguree volunteer.
Following the glorious food it was on to some inspiring presentations. First, Les Peto spoke about the Fungi and Lichens commonly seen in the Gully and elsewhere in the mountains. Michael Hensen filled us in on the Saving Our Species program to protect the endangered Dwarf Mountain Pine in Katoomba Falls, one of the sources of funding for work in the Gully, and Eric Mahony outlined the current regeneration and restoration works currently underway and planned for the area. David King closed the day with an expression of gratitude to all those who’ve contributed to the success of the Garguree project and other work in the catchment of The Gully and reminded us of the importance of The Gully to the Gundungurra people and especially his late mother, Aunty Mary King.
The Gully Get-together is held once every year and is another great example of the benefits of Bushcare groups taking a catchment approach. It can also help break down the sense of isolation that some groups experience, leaving them feeling like their battle with the weeds is unwinnable. By pooling resources and getting together to work and plan we can learn about the issues common to other groups in the nearby area, develop a clearer picture of what’s going on in the catchment and why.
And we’re combining our power to do something about it!
The Gully Get-together was supported by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Save our Species funding and Environmental Trust Protecting our Places grant funding, and the BM Food Co-op.
Photos by Paul Vale, text by Monica Nugent