Once again, we are celebrating our Bushcare volunteers through the eyes of the digital world. 2021 became the year bookended by COVID shutdowns much to the dismay of all. When lockdown lifted at the start of June last year we saw the impressive resumption of the Bushcare Program – a tribute to our dedicated Bushcare volunteers. And we know that with the same passion and dedication we can come out of this next shutdown with the same gusto!
Our Award Ceremony was held as a Zoom ceremony so everyone could view Mayor Mark Greenhill present the awards and hear the acceptance speeches live on their home computers. Congratulations to Rae Druitt receiving the Bushcare Legend Golden Trowel Trophy and our recipient of the Junior Bushcare Ryan Memorial Shield – Daemon Silk.
We thank David King, Gundungurra man, for the Welcome to Country and talk. We included a couple of talks with John French and Fiona Lumsden showing their recent survey Birds in The Gully, and Megan Halcroft talking about native bees in preparation for pollinators week.
Our ‘Thank you” gift to our volunteers is a cool Cooler lunch bag that will be presented to you by your Bushcare Officer when you all come back together onsite – with the personal touch!!
Photos: Golden Trowel and Junior Shield Award and the Cooler Lunch Bag Thank You gift to our volunteers Credit: BMCC
S4W have an upcoming webinar on 28 May at 11 am -12pm where they will provide an update on their two koala projects, we’re they would love it if you could join them.
Please see all additional information on the webinar below.
‘Tune in online for an overview of all the work we have been doing to map and track surviving koalas after the 2019/20 bushfires, as well as the latest news from our project monitoring koalas after they are released from care. There will be an opportunity for a Q&A at the end of the webinar.’
Last year local volunteers removed 1.6 tonne of rubbish from bushland and parkland sites, most of which included drink containers, plastic food wrapping, packaging materials and plastic bags.
You can get involved by finding a local park or area that needs cleaning or by joining an existing Clean Up site near you. Once registered, you will be sent a free Clean Up kit including bags, gloves, information and promotional materials.
For further information on how to get involved and find a local site near you, please visit the Clean Up Australia Day website www.cleanup.org.au/
Our Award Ceremony , although smaller, the audience was a smaller variety with the Mayor presenting to the Awardees at the Council Chambers on Saturday 21 November.
Our planned virtual element had a slight audio hiccup. We’ve included the great speeches by Sandy Benson (Bushcare Team Leader) and Councillor Mark Greenhill (Mayor) with the all important Awardee nominations.
Acknowledgement of Country
Bushcare Team Leader Speech Welcome
Bushcare Gifts Bags
Bushcare Birthday RecognitionCertificates
Bushcare Awardee Presentation
Congratulations to our Awardees (read their nominations below)
Acknowledgement of Country
Today we are meeting on Ngurra the traditional lands of the Durug and Gundungurra people.
The Blue Mountains City Council acknowledges that this award ceremony is being held on Aboriginal land and recognises the strength, capacity and resilience of past and present Aboriginal people in this region.”
“I would like to pay my respect to the Elders both past and present and to those young ones who will follow and extend my respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are present”
Bushcare Team Leader’s Welcome Speech
Bushcare Volunteers, friends AND family to the 2020 Bushcare Awards.
Bush regeneration can be difficult at the best of times, however, with the addition of the fire recovery and the constant changes required to adjust to the COVID-19 restrictions, volunteering has been particularly challenging.
With this in mind I would personally like to thank every volunteer for continuing to volunteer with Bushcare, often under difficult and personally frustrating circumstances. It has been your commitment and concern for the Blue Mountains bushland that has kept us on track to deliver the Bushcare Program with a little help from contractors.
The picnic awards ceremony this year via zoom was a tribute to the work even carried out in such a strange time that honoured not only the individuals that bring so much to the program but the groups Fairy Dell at Springwood and Popes Glen at Blackheath who are celebrating their 30 years of being a Bushcare group.
From the Bushcare office we hope the bags of goodies have been enjoyed by all and we thank you for another year of vital bush-caring and land-caring.
The Bushcare awards are given in recognition of the valuable time and effort that each and every one of you have made over not just the past year but for all the years commitment you have made to the Bushcare Program and most importantly to the environment.
People who join Bushcare are passionate about protecting this amazing place in which we live. Some people who join Bushcare are natural born leaders who are extremely driven to MAKE sure change is made, others are passionate but contribute in a quieter way, or you may fall somewhere in between.
We all give our time in different ways but no matter how you contribute ALL contributions are of equal value because we ALL share the same goal. Time is the MOST precious resource in our lives and I thank you for all your time to such a worthy cause. It can be back breaking work weeding African love grass, trad and honeysuckle on your hands and knees but the when you look back at the cleared area there is nothing like that feeling, and that feeling of self-satisfaction is immeasurable.
I am personally grateful to be part of an incredibly passionate, creative, intelligent, driven, and positive team of environmental professionals who are dedicated to a better world and a better community.
Even though this year has sent us some challenges we can still celebrate the fact Bushcare has reached different parts of the community including younger age groups with a record number of young students choosing Bushcare as their Duke of Edinburgh cause, a record number of new volunteers, two new Bushcare groups and two Landcare groups have joined us and we made it to the big screen where the Gully featuring on Gardening Austraila last week for Nadoic Week. With Aunty Sharon and David King sharing their deep connection to a place where, those ties will never be broken.
Sadly, we have had to say goodbye to some amazing people they were our founders of Bushcare Thelma Murphy, our family Lachlan Garland, our future with Liz Kabanoff and our never forgotten Morag Ryder. It has been a tough year.
This year we have had may successes and it is credited to each and every one of you. We are extremely grateful that you give so much of yourselves and expect so little in return.
2020: A year like no other!
The Blue Mountains community has experienced a year like no other – firstly with the summer bushfires, flooding in February and then the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council had to temporarily suspend its Bushcare program in mid-March due to COVID-19, following NSW Health guidelines. Bushcare recommenced in June – though with some adjustments to the way participants interact.
We would like to thank all our volunteers for helping the organisation to return to Bushcare, and for understanding the measures and following COVID protocols that were put in place for the safety of all.
About Bushcare and the Community Conservation Program:
The Bushcare program has reached another important milestone this year with another two Bushcare groups reaching the impressive 30-years-of-service mark….…we now have four groups in total that have reached such an impressive milestone.
Community enthusiasm for Bushcare and Landcare continues… and in 2020 another Bushcare – and two Landcare – groups started up in the Blue Mountains.
Our volunteers continue to contribute many thousands of hours of on-ground conservation work.
In the 2019-20 financial year Bushcare, Landcare and Swampcare volunteers contributed almost 6830 hours – an outstanding effort given the circumstances.
Due to the bushfires and COVID-19 our volunteer hours were reduced by one third.
The work by these programs includes: tackling weed infestations, replanting native vegetation, monitoring local water quality, repairing stormwater damage to creeks and waterways, repairing and building tracks, and securing funding for environmental projects.
Through the dedicated efforts of our very special volunteers, many local natural treasures on public lands are being repaired or protected, for the benefit of us all.
Private landholder volunteers also play a vital role, through Council’s Landcare and Bush Backyards programs.
We now have 64 Bush Backyards participants protecting more than 256 hectares (an increase of 10% from 2019) of bushland from Mt Wilson to Glenbrook.
More than half of the bushland in the City is on private property, so protection of these areas is vital to maintaining the bushland quality and conservation values which are so central to the Blue Mountains identity.
Community Engagement and Education
Weed control programs cannot be successful unless the majority of landowners and managers in target areas participate to protect native habitats, reduce urban runoff and prevent re-infestation from uncontrolled weed populations.
Community engagement and education programs inform and train the community to build this capacity. Some examples of activities organised by Council’s Bushcare Program this year include:
The Turtle Habitat Island Launch – that occurred just days before the temporary suspension of Bushcare. This exciting project came about because of a grant, an enthusiastic Bushcare Officer, Council’s Healthy Waterways team, Glenbrook Lagoon volunteers and other community / corporate volunteers.
Launch of the digital Blue Mountain Fauna Inventory – data collected from 7 fauna surveys across the Blue Mountains contributed by many volunteers, Have Your Say and other sources and.
A Seed Collection Workshop that helped improve the skill of our volunteers.
Following the summer bushfires, a community-based “Recovering Our Backyards” mini expo was also hosted by local community groups. The information day included speakers, stalls of representatives from local groups and organisations with opportunities to volunteer. The themes were based on: what you can do in your own backyard?; are you interested in volunteering to help wildlife, and to assist with recovery of our natural environment? and how to join a local wildlife or conservation group including joining a Bushcare group.
2020 is the 20th anniversary of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Through these celebrations we have noted how Bushcare plays a vital role in maintaining the outstanding values of this area.
Finally, I would like to finish this speech by acknowledging three special Bushcare volunteers who have passed away this year:
Lachlan was a passionate and tireless environmental advocate. He was one of the first people to campaign against the raising of the Warragamba Dam Wall.
Among his numerous achievements he was the President of Blue Mountains Conservation Society, a member or co-ordinator of nearly a dozen Bushcare and Swampcare groups and in 2019 he received Council’s Bushcare Legend Award. He was also awarded the Seniors Week Recognition Award in 2020 in honour of his environmental and community work. Lachlan leaves an environmental legacy that will long be remembered and endure.
Thelma Murphy has been described as a Bushcare Icon. Thelma was one of the driving forces to bring together the existing Bushcare Groups of Centenary Reserve, Friends of Katoomba Falls, Minne-ha-ha and Fairy Dell. In 1990, she lobbied Council to support these groups and develop a Bushcare program. This lobby group became the foundation of the Bushcare Network.
Thelma rose to the position of Councillor and was honoured for her work and devotion to her community when she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1978 and she was made a Freeman of the City in 1992.
People who knew Thelma noted that she had an amazing ability to draw the best out of people and to instil confidence in their abilities. This part of her character touched a number of people, and allowed them to make a greater impact with their lives. Her incredible impact on our community will undoubtably live on.
Liz has been described as an easy-going and generous friend, a devoted mother and a passionate Naturalist. Liz was also well regarded as an academic scientist in her career as a Biological Microscopist and friends say that she had a great ability to observe and find beauty in the small, easily overlooked things in the bush or the garden – tiny insects, butterflies, wildflowers, orchids and especially fungi. Liz was a dedicated gardener, photographer and illustrator. She had so much more to contribute and she will be dearly missed by all who knew her.
Now, let’s mark the achievements of 2020 and present the Bushcare Awards….
This year we’re presenting our Bushcare Birthday Awards during the month of November during the groups’ working day.
Many Bushcare volunteers were also pleasantly surprised when their Bushcare Officer presented each volunteer with a SPECIAL GIFT BAG in recognition of the effort they put in for the past year. The gift bag contained all the necessities to hold a congratulatory morning or afternoon tea – with a Bushcare mug, choccies and biscuits.
Well done to those individual groups and congratulations on your perseverance and commitment to your Bushcare Sites.
Jane Anderson (Bushcare Officer) and the “Inkers” from North Katoomba carved the individual images into lino and printed each of these bags in more than twelve different images. These are worthy for framing and adding to your walls.
Bushcare Birthday Recognition
10 year awards went to
Mount Victoria Bushcare Group
Franki Creek Bushcare Group
Jamieson St Landcare
Banksia Park Bushcare Group
15 year awards went to
Zora’s Creek Landcare
Govett Street Bushcare Group
Birdwood Gully Bushcare Group
Medlow Bath Park Bushcare Bushcare Group
20 year awards went to
Central Park Bushcare Group
Water Nymphs Dell Bushcare Group
The 25 year awards was presented to the group by Sandy Benson (Bushcare Team Leader)
South Lawson Park Bushcare Group
30 year awards were presented to the group by Sandy Benson (Bushcare Team Leader). Congratulations!!!! You have now joined a select group of four Bushcare groups achieving the impressive 30-year milestone.
Popes Glen Bushcare Group
Fairy Dell Bushcare Group
Bushcare Awards Winners
Our awards this year will now be presented by the Mayor Cr Mark Greenhill
Bushcare Legend Award
The Bushcare Legend Award is our highest level of recognition we can give individuals within the Bushcare Program. It recognises sustained efforts over many years. Legends are people who have provided leadership in the Bushcare program, as their contributions go beyond any particular group or site and extend to the broader Blue Mountains Bushcare community.
The recipient of this year’s Bushcare Legend Award has been a long-term member of the bushcare programme. Always regarded as hardworking and highly competent, their contribution to Bushcare extends from their very solid on-ground skills in bush regeneration – bringing a high set of skills from once being part of Council’s bush regeneration team. The diplomacy and reliability of this person, together with their good humour and supportive nature, make them a pleasure to work with.
They have played an integral part in numerous Bushcare groups in the Upper Mountains including Franki Creek, Sublime Point, Wentworth Falls Lake, Pitt Park and Valley of the Waters (NPWS) Bushcare Groups. A group coordinator of Franki Creek, they were also a longstanding volunteer of Wentworth Falls Lake Bushcare Group and as part of their commitment to this site regularly monitors the Lake, checking on any issues, as well as collecting rubbish. They were a dedicated member of Pitt Park Bushcare Group whilst it was active, involving working extra hours. This person is a valued member of the Jamison Creek Catchment Group and has been regularly attending since inception and is very supportive of the Convenor, always being available to undertake necessary tasks.
This year we present the Bushcare Legend Award, and the Golden Trowel of Recognition to Ross Day.
The Masters Award recognises outstanding long term participation within the Bushcare Program. These are elders of our Bushcare community who have made a consistent long term contribution to their sites.
This year’s Masters Award has been a respected, highly valued member of Valley View Swampcare, Sutton Park, remote Bushcare and Braeside Bushcare, has participated in Holly Walks and more recently has joined the Woody Weed Wander Bushcare Group. He maintains high standards regarding Bushcare technique, has made valuable contributions to site strategy development and always supportive of the other volunteers, assisting with transport and sharing his ideas and local knowledge. Reliable, hardworking and a pleasure to work with, he has been a great role model for fellow bush carers for at least the past 11 years.
The recipient of this year’s Masters award is Ian Glover.
Unfortunately Ian cannot be with us today and sends his apologies.
Hard Yakka Award
The Hard Yakka Award acknowledges consistent support to a Bushcare Group. Hard Yakka recipients are hard working volunteers who have added immense value to their groups and the natural areas in which they work.
This year’s Hard Yakka Award recipient goes to someone who has been a core member of the Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare Group, since its second inception in 2008. Their interest in the local Glenbrook area, including its community, environment and history, extends to regular work with the Australian Plants Society at Glenbrook, both with the Nursery and the bushland grounds, volunteer for National Parks Bushcare at Glenbrook, and an active member of the Glenbrook Historical Society, including club Secretary. They have been the group co-ordinator for the Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare Group for some years.
They have a conscientious, reliable and accommodating nature which is always good for a Bushcare group, along with a sense of humour. They also do their part in a social network that makes up Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare. Their interest in the local Glenbrook area includes research and documentation of information, both natural and historical, which is another valuable resource for the Glenbrook Lagoon.
The recipient of this year’s Hard Yakka award is Neil McGlashan.
Landcare Legend Award
The Landcare Award is for individuals who have made strong contributions to their Landcare Group. Landcare is the same activity as Bushcare but on land not managed by Council – which can include private property, schools & Crown land. A high proportion of our natural areas in the Blue Mountains are in this category, so the program is vital to our overall conservation goals.
This year’s Landcare Award unjustly describes himself as the reluctant group coordinator of Three Gullies Landcare, Glenbrook, a role bestowed on him as he happened to live across the road. However these last 5 years has shown his commitment, support and encouragement to their Landcare group who volunteer two days per month (one of those days working independently).
He leads the groups’ creekline restoration initiative who have hosted 3 workshops. The skills they have learned has led to the cessation of many historic stormwater issues, ensuing significant re-emergence of native species along our creek – resulting in less weeding! Always willing to try something new, encourage neighbours and promote Bushcare/Landcare practices makes this recipient a very worthy quiet achiever.
The recipient of this year’s Landcare Award is Dan Marshall.
Environmental Warrior Award
The Environmental Warrior Award established in 2019 is a new award to recognise our committed, young adult volunteers showing vibrant spirit, dedication and enthusiasm for their Bushcare group and the Bushcare Program.
The winner of the Environmental Warrior Award is recognised for their enthusiasm and dedication attending 2 groups on a day, once a month, over the last 4 years all the while raising small kids and studying. Over this time they have developed excellent plant knowledge and leadership skills in their groups. They are now fulfilling their goal by gaining valuable experience and skills to work in the natural area environment.
The recipient for this year’s Environmental Warrior Award is Beth Winsor.
Junior Rian Strathdee Award
This award recognises rising young stars of our Bushcare program. It was initiated by the Payget and Strathdee families and the South Lawson Bushcare Group and is presented in memory of Rian Payget Strathdee. It goes to the younger members of our groups who are particularly enthusiastic about caring for the bush.
I’d like to invite Laurie Strathdee to present this year’s Junior Bushcare Memorial Shield, and to say a few words.
The recipients for this year’s Junior Rian Strathdee Award, are dedicated Bushcare kids and along with their family have been coming along to Garguree Swampcare since they were very small.
Every month Garguree Swampcare group have watched these young people (aged 10, 7 and 3) grow and develop to become strong, independent, passionate environmentalists caring for their site. Over time they have also come to respect what it means about connecting and caring for country. They’re always engaged with activities on site and shown enthusiasm from planting, weed identification and removal, particularly pulling out Montbretia and Ivy, becoming involved in construction works by placing logs for erosion control and creating habitats.
They’ve continue to look after their family plants in The Gully’s Bushtucker garden with great gusto and joy. The youngest (3 years old) is quickly learning from his older siblings how to care for Country and is doing so with passion and determination.
The recipients for this year’s Rian Strathdee Award are Farley, Iris and Jim.
Farley, Iris and Jim from Garguree receiving their Jumior Award and Rian Strathdee Shield from Laurie Strathdee and the Mayor.
Special Recognition Certificate
Sandy Benson, Bushcare Team Leader, presented this award
Bushcare sometimes like to dedicate a special award to person or a group that has contributed their time and effort over many years enhancing or supporting the Bushcare experience.
This year we would like to present this special award to a person we may not know in person however her efforts have been greatly appreciated by many Bushcare Groups, particularly around the morning tea gatherings.
This person has spent many hours, over many years, using her excellent baking skills to produce countless fruitcakes for the Bushcare volunteers. These fruit cakes were almost part of the Bushcare tradition for many Bushcare groups.
I’d like to present this Certificate of Appreciation to Granny Joy.
By Sandy Benson
A big thank you to Mayor Greenhill for your support of the Bushcare program and huge congratulations to our individual award winners, it’s always inspiring to hear about your achievements so thankyou again.
As always, a lot of time has gone into creating this amazing day so I’d especially like to thank Alison Steele the Bushland Project Officer for not only putting together today’s ceremony and each individual gift bags, but for being my wingman, your support, organisational skills and friendship make us a really strong team.
The Bushcare Officers – you are an amazing team of individuals who have supported each other over the past year through some very difficult times. I really appreciate your input on every subject and decision we make as a team and commitment to your Bushcare groups. Your care and dedication is essential to the program.
We also appreciate the help of Storm Kavanagh and Tracy Burgess to make this a COVID safe presentation.
And to every one of our volunteers who give up a precious few hours to make a real difference in the bush, a heartfelt thank you.
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.
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.
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.
reuse: to use again, after processing
recycle: to process something so it can be used for another cycle or product
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.
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