Category Archives: Events

Boost for Bushcare – Fairy Bower Bushcare

By Sandy Benson

BMCC, Sydney Trains and John Holland engineering contractors have worked with the community on a major restoration project. The project focussed on revegetation and restoration of Fairy Bower Reserve, Mount Victoria, and was funded by Sydney Trains as a Biodiversity Offset during the Mount Victoria Area Remodelling (MVAR) Project.

The primary goal was to increase biodiversity and habitat values at the site through planting of native species, improved access to the reserve and vehicle management, improvements to site drainage and tree and shrub weed control.

Central to this project was the involvement of the Fairy Bower Bushcare Group, who planted over 200 plants in the reserve to protect, restore and enhance the environment.

Fairy Bower Bushcare Group elated after a successful day of planting along side the railway reserve Photos: Sandy Benson
Bushcare volunteer Lyne Wake, planting Blechnum ferns and tea trees
Gemma Williams – every plant counts towards imporving biodiversity and habitat values.

MVAR Project Manager, David Hugo said, “The Biodiversity Offset Scheme is a great initiative and in this case, the MVAR Project is proud that we are able to leave behind a small legacy for the people and visitors to Fairy Bower, Mount Victoria to enjoy after we have gone”.

Sydney Trains’ effort was appreciated by Council’s Bushcare Team Leader, Sandy Benson. “We again would like to extend our thanks for your support and willingness to collaborate with Council and our local community to provide for such a high-quality outcome,” she said.

The Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show – Bushcare Picnic

To download the Reuse, Recycle Fashion Sow guidelines, garment creations and material suggestions CLICK on the link below.

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.

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 

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.

Turtle Island launch at Glenbrook Lagoon

A floating, eco habitat designed to provide a safe nesting place for turtles at Glenbrook Lagoon was launched on 10 March.

Turtle Island – a collaboration between Council, Western Sydney University and Blue Mountains volunteers – was a pilot project funded by the NSW Premiers Office and Council.

“This pilot project has already seen much success, with turtle eggs discovered recently,” Mayor Mark Greenhill said.

“Glenbrook Lagoon is home to a number of turtle species, including Eastern Long-neck and Sydney Basin turtles. Turtles have been facing an uncertain future, as foxes destroy 95 per cent of their nests, but the island is providing a refuge.”

Leading expert in turtles Western Sydney University’s Dr Ricky Spencer, whom inspired Geoffrey Smith (Healthy Waterways Program Leader) and Nathan Summers (Bushcare Officer) to design and construct this project, attended the launch along with Council staff, Bushcare volunteers and school students from St Finbar’s Primary School and Glenbrook Primary School.

Turtle expert Dr Ricky Spencer (UWS) and Geoffrey Smith (Council’s Healthy Waterways Team) sharing interesting turtle facts with students from Glenbrook Primary School and St Finbars Primary. Photo: Council

Local primary students have been involved in environmental studies at Glenbrook Lagoon, including Council Bioblitz events, and Turtle studies.

Emma Kennedy (Council’s Environmental Education Officer) instructing primary school children how to prepare the Carex plants for transplanting onto the island.

Glenbrook Lagoon is a haven for remnant bushland, it’s an active Bushcare site and a valued recreation point for the community.

The well-being of the Lagoon has always been important to the community. The Glenbrook Lagoon Society started in 1978 and Bushcare volunteers began working here around 1993, making it one of the earliest community driven Bushcare groups in the Blue Mountains.

Nathan Summers – Bushcare Officer (second from the right) with the volunteers from Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare Group and Kodala Lane. Photo: Council

Council has an ongoing commitment to restore the ecological condition of Glenbrook Lagoon and the lagoon is now free from major infestations of water weeds such as Salvinia and Cabomba which plagued it for many years.

Turtles play an important role in the ecosystem at the lagoon, acting like vacuum cleaners of the water body.

“The Lagoon is rich with wildlife – native fish, eels, frogs and a remarkable array of birdlife,” Mayor Greenhill said.

Turtle Warriors – Sandy Benson (Bushcare Team Leader), Mayor Cr Mark Greenhill and Nathan Summers (Bushcare Officer) doing their part to provide turtle refuges away from fox predation Photo: Council

Water quality in the lagoon is closely monitored by Council and officers have put incredible effort into addressing all sources of pollution within the catchment.

Turtle habitats, a predesigned structure that includes plastic tubing, aquatic plants, sands and geotextile, are being installed at locations throughout NSW.

Finally, the Council’s Bushcare and Natural Area Operations Teams taking the island habitat to it’s permanent location in Glenbrook Lagoon – providing the turtles a refuge away from fox predation. Photo: Council

VEIW turtle expert Dr Ricky Spencer talking about the Turtle Island Habitat on Blue Mountains City Council Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bluemountainscitycouncil/videos/vb.175066762601689/2734772646614369/?type=2&theater

Recovering Our Backyard: Mini-Expo February 29

An event organised by Blue Mountains Recovery Wellbeing Committee, Blue ARC, and Resilience & Preparedness Group.

Many residents of the Blue Mountains region are concerned about the impacts of the bushfires on our natural environment and National Park and people need to feel that they can be involved in recovery efforts in a meaningful way.

On Saturday 29 February, Blackheath – a mini-expo is being run in the afternoon to help guide residents on how they can assist the regeneration of our natural environment.

The afternoon will include talks from wildlife experts and a Council representative, there will be tables set up with representatives from local groups and organisations providing information, and opportunities to volunteer.

Date and Time: Saturday, February 29, 2020, 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Location: Phillips Hall, Blackheath Community Centre – Gardiner Crescent, Blackheath, NSW

To register click on this link below

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/recovering-our-backyard-tickets-94508644901?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=esfb&utm-source=fb&utm-term=listing&fbclid=IwAR035-kBGPiWw2BNtWXjJOSEP3XuO34GbMOA96yYraI2pDeMaaGunY3buU8

Bushcares Threatened Species Event

On Threatened Species Day (Saturday 7th September) we had a series of talks about fauna in the Blue Mountains. The day started with Anne Carey from the Blue Mountains Fauna Project presenting the findings of the year long study.

From left to right: Michael Hensen (BMCC Environmental Scientist), Anne Carey (Blue Mountains Fauna Project), Erin Hall (Bushcare Project Officer) and Tanya Mein (Community Engagement Coordinator)

Throughout the day there was a stall with weed and threatened species information. The eco cinema was playing a series of short films about threatened species and where they occur.

The community came along to enjoy the numerous stalls – Council’s Bushcare and Community Education, NPWS, Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Wildplant Rescue.

Next was the amazing Akos Lumitzer from amatterofflight.com.au who talked passionately about the powerful owl and how he came to spend so much time capturing the images.

Akos Lumitzer presenting his Powerful Owl talk to an enthralled audience.

Last but not least was Dr Beth Mott from Birdlife Australia. She presented the Powerful Owl project that is a citizen science project.

Award Winning Powerful Owl’s Nest – Waste to Art

Another great reason to come along to the Threatened Species Day at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, in Katoomba (Saturday 7th, September).

View the awarding winning Powerful Owl’s nest made during a series of Waste To Art community workshops held across the Blue Mountains. The sculpture is made from waste fabrics, to highlight that Australians are buying 27kg of new clothes annually and over 20kg ends up in Blue Mountains residents’ garbage bins each year.

At the Regional Waste to Art Community Exhibition held in Oberon recently the Blue Mountains entry was awarded first prize in the Community 3D category. A fantastic result as the exhibition featured about 120 artworks, from 14 NetWaste councils, that were all made from everyday rubbish.

Waste to Art aims to encourage the whole community to rethink their own waste and promote a low waste lifestyle. By taking action to Reduce, Reuse and Repair over buying new, it saves resources like water and energy that go into manufacturing new items.

Our collective efforts do make a difference and also help threatened species like the Powerful-Owl which is found across the Blue Mountains in old growth forests.

Sassafras Gully Remote Bushcare

Article by Steve Fleischmann

Another wonderful remote bushcare day in the lower mountains. Work in Sassafras Gully has been ongoing for several years in a relationship between Blue Mountains City Council and National Parks and Wildlife Services carried out on the border of Council and Parks land near where Wiggins Track meets Victory Track at Sassafras Creek.

A cool temperate rainforest in a gully bounded by drier woodland uphill, the area has Ginger Lily, Small and Large leaf Privet as well as large and mature Japanese Honeysuckle that have climbed up into the canopy. Invading from properties uphill and coming down the creek they threaten the understorey diversity of the mature Sassafras and Coachwood forest. Some of the honeysuckle were so tall they were only identifiable by their distinctive peeling bark and mottled skin because the leaves were too high in the canopy.

On the morning of 25 May three volunteers – Ian, John and Roland and myself braved fine weather (and traffic delaying truck accidents) to tool up and walk the 45 minutes into the work area. On remote days we carry a lot more gear in the form of emergency management communications gear, all the tools we will need, a larger than normal first aid kit, plenty of water, food for the day, warm clothing and, of course, morning tea in a protective container because, let’s face it, no one wants squashed cake.

Once at the work site we dropped our heavy packs, put on our tool belts then had a look around to determine who was going to work where to get maximum effect from our small team. Despite many years of high quality work, there are still patches of Ginger Lily, canopy height Privet and Japanese Honeysuckle as well lots of Privet seedlings that the team decided to focus on.

The larger Ginger Lilies were poisoned and the smaller seedlings removed to be composted while the honeysuckles and privets were also treated with herbicide. Over the course of the day we worked on an area approximately 500m2.

On the walk out we noticed several interesting things. A local spring outlet known as the leaf spring, where a groove had been carved underneath a spring seep point to allow a leaf to be placed into it so a water bottle could be filled.

The remote area bushcare days are fantastic events where we get to enjoy undertaking bushcare activities much deeper in the bush. Future events will be held in Popes Glen and Katoomba Creek in spring.

A Garguree Bushcare Experience !

Garguree Swampcare and Fairmont Resort crew working together.

Council always encourages community and corporate participation in our bushcare days. This June, in recognition of NAIDOC 2019, the Fairmont Resort & Spa’s General Manager, Scott O’Neile, team members and their families joined in the monthly Garguree Swampcare Group.  This group is collaboratively driven by Garguree Traditional owners and BMCC to regenerate The Gully, Katoomba. The Gully is a sacred Aboriginal Place that holds both happy and sad memories for our local indigenous community.

Jane, Bushcare Officer for Garguree, rallied the 40 plus combined volunteer group. With introductory words of encouragement and warm up exercises everyone was in the mood for hand weeding Blue Periwinkle (Vinca major) along the swamp edge and mulching adjacent to Middle Swamp. Many hands certainly made great inroads reducing the Vinca.

The group was moved by the smoking ceremony and listening to Aunty Sharyn’s vision for the future, all whilst sharing wholesome Kingy Chai, refreshing Lemon Myrtle Tea and the scrumptious Lilly Pilly jam with damper. The Fairmont team found it a true honour to be present in the Gully with the Local Gully Traditional Owners, Aunty Sharyn and David King. A member of the team expressed it as “a truly priceless and spiritual cultural exchange”.

Science at the Local – Springwood

Science at the Local returns to Springwood Sports Club with free science talks being delivered by two locals on Sunday, July 28 from 2.30pm.

Professor Belinda Medlyn, who commutes to Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Insitute for the Environment from her Lower Mountains home, will be giving a talk on “Tree mortality, drought and climate change”.

“Australian forests and woodlands are well-adapted to heat and drought,” said Professor Medlyn, “but just how much can they cope with? I’ll talk about the impact of more (and more extreme) extremes as the climate starts to change, and whether rising CO2 is a help or a hindrance.”

Also speaking will be Lower Mountains local Dr Patrick Smith, who now works at the Australian Museum, on the topic “Australia’s ancient giants: fossils from the red centre”.

To get involved, go to www.facebook.com/ScienceAtTheLocal.

Other 2019 events will be on September 15 and November 24 at Springwood Sports Club, and November 3 at Lithgow Workies, all from 2.30pm and all free.

The initiative is supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government.