Aunty Sharyn Hall welcomed us on behalf of the Gundungurra nation, with great warmth and positive messages. Our Mayor, Councillor Mark Greenhill opened the conference, taking the opportunity to remind us of the importance of maintaining the environmental protections offered by the draft 2015 Blue Mountains Local Environment Plan (LEP), and bringing us up to date with the efforts being made by the current Council to fight any watering down of the LEP.
Paul Vale, Blue Mountains Bushcare Network Convenor did a wonderful job as MC (pictured right). In typical style, Margaret Baker awed the 95 people in attendance with her keynote address titled ‘The Role of Fire in Blue Mountains Plant Communities’. Updates from the catchment groups currently operating and from Bill Dixon from Greater Sydney Local Land Services followed a sumptuous morning tea laid on by the Network volunteers.
A highlight was undoubtedly a fabulous Smoking Ceremony which Den Barber of Blue Mountains Firesticks very generously conducted at very short notice. Due to the built nature of the surrounding environs, Den conducted the ceremony from a kettle barbecue!
After lunch, during which the newly formed “Trad” band performed several weed-related numbers, delegates had a difficult choice to make: Den Barber’s presentation on Blue Mountains Firesticks, about Indigenous Cultural Burning, or Mark Graham’s about the Nature Conservation Council’s Hotspots project. Both delivered important and interesting information which was well received by participants and inspired much discussion.
The final session brought everyone back together in the Mavis Woods Hall for a panel discussion. Peter Belshaw (BMCC); Hugh Patterson (Bush regenerator; Blue Mountains Conservation Society Bushfire Representative; RFS volunteer) and Cameron Chaffey (NPWS) spoke briefly about their respective roles and fielded questions from the audience.
And to cap off, the raffle was drawn, with several lucky participants winning some fabulous donated prizes, including a two night stay in a Katoomba B&B, a carton of wine, books and tools!
Presentations will be available on the Bushcare Network webpage http://bushcarenetwork.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/ and we will alert you when they are posted.