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Temporary suspension of all Bushcare monthly groups and events

Council’s priority is always the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and community.

Due to Coronavirus COVID-19, Council has decided to place a temporary suspension on the Bushcare program. This will mean that no Bushcare groups, individual activity or events will take place. This is effective immediately (18 March 2020), until further notice.

Council will continue to take advice from the State and Federal health departments, which will inform our organisational position and response to this unprecedented risk.

Ongoing reviews will take place during this temporary suspension period and further advice will be provided as it comes to hand. Council thanks you for your continuing support of the Bushcare program.

Keeping in touch

How can you stay involved? We will be writing regularly with updates, news and stories. The Bushcare Team acknowledges staying connected during this unprecedented point in time plays an important part of our ‘social’ care for one another.

We will be posting on the Bushcare Website   https://www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/

The Team has put together some of the following ideas…and we would love to hear about your projects or ideas.

  • Post Bushfire Updates – weeds and making bird watering stations recommended by leading ecologists, creating habitat gardens in bushfire prone areas
  • Book reviews
  • Contribution to the Gecko Newsletter – always welcome!
  • Quizzes and Crosswords
  • Producing ‘interest’ and ‘how to’ videos 
  • Virtual Freestyle book club 
  • Photography competition 
  • Before and after photos – around home projects, bushfire recovery
  • What to plant in your veggie garden
  • Bushcare Picnic – Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show ideas
  • what are your ideas??? Send to bushcare@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Can you think of other ‘social distancing’ and safe activities

  • Listening to Frogs with the FrogID app www.frogid.net.au
  • Virtual Bushcare Group catch-up and morning tea (let’s learn about Zoom)
  • Training in citizen science projects

If you need any help with downloading and installing apps and Zoom (we hope to produce a guide to help) contact bushcare@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Keeping in touch with the Blue Mountains City Council

The Blue Mountains City Council will regularly update their website https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/

Community Newsletter  https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/publications/community-newsletter

Community Snapshot https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/publications/community-news-snapshot

See the latest newsletter (March 27) in which Community News Snapshot features some of the ways Council is providing services online for you.

https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/blue-mountains-elibrary-always-open

http://bluemountainsculturalcentre.com.au/virtualinsight/

https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/coronavirus

Crosswords and Puzzles…

Hello Crossword Fans, and we know you’re out there!!  Our ‘wordsmith’ Bushcare Officer, Karen Hising, has produced some great crosswords featuring the Blue Mountains weeds, native plants, animals and birds (for a start) to entice the interest of both the young and young-at-heart. 

Besides the known benefits of solving crossword puzzles such as being good for mental health by keeping the mind active, building social bonds, helping fight disease, strengthening the mind and improving vocabulary…we get to learn more about the Blue Mountains natural (and weedy) environment around our Bushcare sites.

Our aim is to post a new crossword each week on the Bushcare Website with answers listed the following week on www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au.

If you have some great ideas for our themed crosswords…or wanting to test your own crossword (and possibly cryptic) skills then contact Karen Hising on khising@bmcc.nsw.gov.au 

New weekly crossword puzzles highlighting Blue Mountains weeds, native plants, native animals and native birds

Instructions

CLICK on the link below and follow the instructions to either fill in online or print a hard copy.

WEEK 1 – Blue Mountains Weeds Crossword Puzzle

To FILL IN ONLINE

  1. CLICK on the clue listed under Across or Down – and this will highlight the boxes (purple) to fill in on the crossword.
  2. To TYPE in the answer CLICK on the purple highlighted box in the crossword and start typing your answer (a correct answer turns the boxes green). If your answer was incorrect then use the backspace to delete then try again for this answer only!!
  3. To RESET ANSWERS (all answers) scroll down the screen  below the crossword and CLICK Reset Answer (red button)

To PRINT a Hardcopy scroll down the screen below the crossword and CLICK Print My Puzzle (purple button)

The Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show – Bushcare Picnic

Sadly, the Bushcare Picnic has been postponed to later in the year, but that doesn’t mean we need to sit at home doing nothing. Now is the perfect time to get those creative juices going and start designing an outfit for the Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show to be held at the Bushcare Picnic. Bushcare volunteers are the most creative people in Mountains and now is your chance to really let those ideas run wild.

The aim of the event is to celebrate the reuse and recycling of items in the Blue Mountains and provide volunteers with an opportunity to really showcase what you have been up to and the creative ways you recycle.

The Bushcare Picnic will host our first Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show. Volunteer designers will be walking their creations down the runway (or have someone walk them for you).

There are 5 categories:

Children (15 years and under): Children and young people, go crazy with creativity! Whether your outfit is modelled on a favourite character or something bizarre and made up.

Trash Fash: Have you got any unwanted “stuff” lying around? Anything you have big collections of that you don’t have a use for any longer and can turn into intriguing design? Perhaps even hunt through your recycling rubbish before it goes out or look around to see what is hanging about in the house, garage or garden. The possibilities are endless. Get carried away with your trash!  

Chic Boutique: This category is for the more serious designers. If you have a flair for costume design, then this category is for you! Parade your own stylish creation or find a model to adorn your masterpiece. Materials used must be transformed from a previous life form.

Best overall: This category is for the best overall outfit.

Peoples Favourite: This category is your chance to vote for your favourite fashions on the field outfit.

Awards 

Judged by a selected panel: including a Bushcare Volunteer, Bushcare Officer and Bushcare Team Leader.

Winners will be announced at the Bushcare Picnic and given their award and prize.

Criteria

reuse: to use again, after processing

recycle: to process something so it can be used for another cycle or product

Reuse, Recycle Fashion Parade Guidelines

Materials used in the construction of garments MUST be recyclable. Designers may use materials for construction such as glue, tape, dyes, marker, staples, thread, zippers, elastic, wire, string, velcro, grommets, laces, paint, etc.

  • Originality and creativity are encouraged.
  • Recycled fabric may only be used as a lining that doesn’t show. The usage of new material should not overpower your total garment. Footwear made from recyclable material is preferred; however, street shoes are acceptable.
  • Garments must be constructed well enough to fit the model and hold together for the stage show. (Models are strongly encouraged to wear comfortable clothes underneath recycled garment).
  • Designers may wear the garment or may choose a model to wear the garment and walk the runway.
  • Recycled fashions must be made of at least 75% recycled or reused materials that otherwise would be thrown away or recycled.

Garment Creation/Material Suggestions:

  • Both common and unusual items that are discarded for trash such as curtains, vinyl billboards, old electronics, garbage bags, aluminium cans, cardboard, landscape netting, old tents, sleeping bags etc.
  • Consider how items can be cut, folded, moulded, knotted, shredded, stitched, woven or reconstructed to make an outfit or specific sections within the design.
  • Old Bushcare gloves
  • Recycled tree guards, plastic or cardboard
  • Scraps of textiles
  • Recyclables: paper, plastics, aluminium, steel, cardboard, magazines, books or phone books
  • Beverage bottle caps or six-pack rings
  • Plastic bags
  • Pet/animal food bags
  • Old toys or games pieces
  • Packaging materials
  • Found outdoor objects – pine cones, sticks, rocks, flowers, etc.
  • Food containers (cleaned out/sanitized)

How to attach materials:

We encourage the use of environmentally-friendly glues, dyes, paints, resins, etc. and advise contestants to be mindful of the weight of materials being used in the finished product. Suggested items include:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Machine or hand sewing
  • Packing or duct tape
  • Safety pins or stapes
  • Weaving, braiding, lacing, crocheting or knitting materials
  • Paper clips or rubber bands
  • Natural adhesives – rice, flour with water mixture or milk/vinegar/baking soda mixture 

Freestyle Book club…what’s this??

More activites to consider when social distancing yourself but still connecting with others…

Bushcare Officer, Steve Fleischmann, has suggested to his Bushcare Groups a freestyle Bushcare Bookclub. Pick a book off the bookshelf that you have avoided reading for ages, read it and be ready to discuss when we have our check in.  The aim is to also try and organise some teleconference catch ups for bushcare days and having a subject to discuss would be a good starting or finishing point. If successful I would like to make it more like a proper book club where a book is chosen that is loosely related to Bushcare (Dark Emu, any of the Tim Low books, the Cry of the Reed Warbler etc),  we read it and discuss it.

Please feel free, if you feel anyone would be interested, and giving your volunteers my details if they would like to participate.  The details are still being finalised so watch this space. Contact Steve on sfleischmann@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Videos – coming soon

Want an alternative to the ‘other’ live streaming viewing currently on offer.

We’ll provide a platform on the Bushcare Websites showing previous videos featuring bushcare sites, volunteers, Bioblitz, community days, fauna and much more.

However, the exciting news is the Bushcare Team (and others in Council’s environmental team) are also preparing to front the camera themselves to produce a host of videos highlighting a range of ‘interesting’ and ‘how to’ segments – such as showing different weeding techniques, treating a variety of common or tricky weeds and a range of videos showcasing flora, fauna, bees, seed collection, biofilters, composting, biosecurity, bush backyards and so much more.

These will be placed on the Bushcare Website when final cuts are ready (www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au).

Watch Now….

Find out all about the recent launch of “Turtle Island” in early March – a floating eco habitat designed to provide a safe nesting place for turtles, from leading turtle expert Dr Ricky Spencer (Western Sydney University).

https://www.facebook.com/bluemountainscitycouncil/videos/2734772646614369/?v=2734772646614369

Photographic Competition

Although we might be more confined than usual, we would love to see any photos of the natural world that you may have or can safely take. That might be birds, insects, animals, geology/rocks, plants, fungi, landscapes, people working in natural areas, or anything interesting about nature in general.

Another great idea is to take before and after photos – whether this is showing bushfire recovery, food from the garden to the plate or just projects around your home. Write a short description to go along with it.

Orchid found at Blackheath Photo: Keith Brister

We would like to create a gallery of photos from our volunteers to showcase each week on the Bushcare Blue Mountains website (www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au).

Some criteria to follow:

  • The photos need to be of high resolution
  • We need to be careful about publishing photos of people’s identity online for privacy reasons, so any people featured need to provide their written permission or their faces are not identifiable
  • The photos will be filed for possible future use in publications, on Council/Bushcare websites, newsletters, bulletins, flyers, etc (credited to the photographer)
  • The photos need to be sent via email to bushcare@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

We hope to see your photographic talents soon! For any queries, please contact Alison Steele on asteele@bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

Planting day Harold Hodgson Park

Article by Fiona Lumsden (Upper Katoomba Bushcare Group)

Our local Bushcare Group for Upper Katoomba Creek and our neighbours, the Community Gardeners, joined forces in mid-January for a Planting Event along our shared creek.

We were using leftover plants from our Spring plantings along our previously very weedy roadside remnant bushland and a cleared easement above the creek in Twynam unformed road reserve.

We had been worried that January would be tough for new plants – with all the extremely hot and dry weather we’ve had for months. Amazingly, the rain came in bucket-loads, just in time for the planting, and we celebrated. Our little band of bushcarers, mums and kids donned gumboots and sloshed around in the wet, putting in baby ferns and Tea Trees next to the roaring creek. No one complained. We were all so happy to have rain.

Eureka….rain!!!! Upper Katoomba Creek Bushcare Group and the Community Gardens
working together planting natives along the newly-constructed stornwater project in
Harold Hodgson Park. Photos: Steve Fleischmann

The plantings will help stabilize the creekbanks and keep moisture in the creek system.

Blue Mountains City Council is doing a big creek restoration project here in the park. The creek, which has been degraded by urban development and landscape modification, has become deeply incised into its little floodplain. It now bypasses the original Carex gaudichaudiana swamp on the flats beside it. The creek bed is being “bouldered” to slow erosion and a diversion has been cut at the side to revert some flows back into the swamp.

Stormwater and creek restoration Photo: Steve Fleischmann

Swamps and creekside vegetation are really important. They absorb excess water in storm events and slowly release water back into the creek systems over time to maintain creek flows through the year. We have lost a lot of these natural sponges. Revitalizing them will help water security. We need water. We need plants. Lots of them!

Seed collection workshop

By Tracy Abbas

In early December 2019, Blue Mountains Bushcare delivered the second and eagerly-anticipated Seed Collection Workshop held in Blaxland Library and Community Centre. Tracy Abbas, Council’s Bushcare Officer, organised this exciting event with seed expert Richard Johnstone. Richard was a former seed collector at Mount Annan Botanic Gardens but now plays another important role; as a volunteer with Wildplant Rescue Nursery.

Richard generously shared his immense experience and knowledge, providing attendees with a solid foundation in the principles, procedures and protocols for collection and storage of local native seed.

This Workshop was set at intermediate level, designed to strengthen the knowledge and existing skills base. It was attended by volunteers from Bush Backyards and Bushcare Groups, as well as volunteers from the Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Wildplant Rescue Nurseries.

The Workshop format was designed around both theoretical and practical sessions. The day began in the classroom viewing a powerpoint presentation showing the overview of the day’s events, and covered regulations and legislation when collecting seeds on Council Land. For the second session, the group wandered around the field looking for examples of seeds, flowers and fruits. Richard then showed everyone how to assess seed ripening stages and when was the most appropriate time to collect seeds.

Finally, it was back to the classroom for a discussion, participating in some cleaning of previously collected seeds and reviewing various methods of propagation of a number of different species.

The Workshop was a great success and we plan to conduct another session early in 2020 with the theme of propagation.

Environmental Citizen Award

Congratulations to Margaret Baker for winning the inaugural Environmental Citizen of the Year Award by the Blue Mountains City Council. Margaret has been a tireless, committed and passionate advocate for protecting the Blue Mountains environment for over four decades. Giving her time as both a professional and a volunteer, Margaret has shown outstanding commitment to, and excellence in, education, life-long learning and the promotion of the natural environment.

Margaret has contributed to environmental education and advocacy over many years which has made an invaluable contributuion to the Blue Mountains community.

To read the full award go tohttps://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/blue-mountains-citizens-celebrated-at-australia-day-awards

Margaret considers that her greatest contribution as an environmental citizen has been the education of many students in the TAFE system over a number of generations and courses.

When Margaret began at TAFE in late 1983, she was present at the launch of the Advanced Certificate in Outdoor Guiding and moved on to teach and manage Bush Regeneration, the Diploma in Natural Resource Management and Certificates in Conservation and Land Management. In just ten years employment in environmental areas in the Blue Mountains went from almost none to a new industry sector. Staff involved in training increased from legendary co-ordinator Jim Smith, with Margaret as a part-time staffer working out of a shoebox office, to a whole Environmental Studies Unit, with Margaret as its first Head Teacher.

Margaret said she “would want her Award to be dedicated to the many enthusiastic and visionary students who enriched her days and moved on to become paid and volunteer members of a now burgeoning environmental industry in the region and beyond.”

Bushcare Officer Monica Nugent, previous student and one of many participants in Margaret’s courses and field trips over the years reiterated these sentiments, stating “The legacy of Margaret’s meticulous, high standard of teaching and intellectual rigour is a generation of professional bush regenerators and Bushcare volunteers with the highest level plant identification skills, a deep understanding of the Blue Mountains landscape and appreciation for its value. By capably and willingly sharing her expert knowledge of the geology, botany, natural and human history of the Blue Mountains, Margaret has instilled a great joy for the flora and fauna and an enduring passion to care for it.”