- Acknowledgement of Country
- Saving Koalas – Science for Wildlife Project Updates (see links below)
- Join Bushcare
- Giant Dragonfly sighted by Council’s Natural Area Operations Team
- Giant Dragonfly – an ancient peat-swamp survivor in the Blue Mountains
- Should we plant or not?
- Regenerating a native ground layer from Trad at Bellata Park Bushcare
- Congratulations Lis Bastian – Environmental Citizen of the Year Award
- Native Plant Propagation Workshop
- How did your environment fare last year? Australia’s Environmental 2020
- Connecting Kids to Nature program update
- Congratulations to our new Environmental Manager
- Seniors Week Recognition Awards
- Clean Up Australia Day in The Gully
- What’s On
- Save the date – Bushcare Picnic 30 October
Welcome to the 2020 Summer issue of the Gecko Newsletter. In this issue read about:
• 2020: Bushcare Team Leader • Bushcare / Landcare Picnic COVID style • Bushcare Awards – Group and Individuals • Vale Lachlan Garland • Remote Bushcare • Cicadas • RSCPA Landcare • Vale Liz Kabanoff • Popes Glen Bushcare Group – Local Heros • Vale Thelma Murphy – Bushcare Icon • Swamped by Threats Project reaches halfway mark • Redgum Park – Timing is everything • What’s On!
Click here to open the latest Gecko
Bushcare Awards Presentation 2020
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
- Mayor’s Speech
- Bushcare Gifts Bags
- Bushcare Birthday Recognition Certificates
- 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
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 Kabanoff:
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.
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.
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
As always, the Bushcare Team had a very difficult time deciding which of our very many fabulous volunteers should be recognised with a Mayoral Award this year but after much deliberation (and next year’s short list already drawn up !) the following dedicated, hard working, committed and all round wonderful people were chosen:
Helen Rose and David Churches Leura Park
Members of both Leura Park Bushcare and Prince Henry Cliff Walk (attending twice month). Since discovering Bushcare by attending a bird walk and talk organised by Gordon Falls Bushcare several years ago, David and Helen have regularly attended and actively participated in bushcare in the Leura Falls Creek catchment. David and Helen are also strong advocates for Bushcare involvement at Springwood Bushwalking Club and frequently contribute to submission writing and often plan their holidays around Bushcare commitments !
Chris Watson & Alan Dean, Jackson Park Faulconbridge
Chris Watson – Chris is a long-term member of Jackson Park Bushcare Group, but he undertakes a lot of additional work and monitoring in his own time. His tenacity, stoic approach and excellent strategies keep this site looking fantastic!
Alan Dean – Alan is a founding and long-term member of Jackson Park Bushcare Group (almost 20 years). He is extremely dedicated, hard-working and has been pivotal in transforming this site over time.
Both Alan and Chris undertake any work required on site, despite most weather conditions and difficulties of the terrain or weed infestation challenge. They don’t even bother with an afternoon tea break!
JUNIOR BUSHCARE LEGEND
Liam Booyens 12 years old – Garguree Swampcare
Liam is a young and enthusiastic Bushcare member who has been involved with Garguree Swamp care for 7 years. He has spent these years connecting to country in many ways by watching and listening, playing and working to restore country.
He has a great sense of place at Garguree and his confidence is growing as he does.Liam has also spent 3 weekends wrangling sycamores at Jenolan
He has been involved in making Bee Homes and has attended a habitat workshop in Bilpin and the night before the Bushcare Picnic he spent the night camped out enjoying the bio blitz and spotting arboreal mammals.
All of these experiences enhance his natural ability and love of the natural world around him and we hope he is involved with Bush care for many years to come.
LANDCARE LEGEND: Karleen Waldron
Growing up in the lower Blue Mountains helped develop a love which has inspired this person to both advocate , volunteer and work for protection of our bushland and all the creatures that live in it. This passion has led to volunteering over many years with Bushcare, Landcare & WIRES.
Karleen started Long Angle Landcare group & is a core member of the Fitzgeralds Creek Catchment group. She has strongly advocated for the protection of the Sun Valley / Fitzgeralds Creek catchment over the past two decades.
Karleen’s tireless advocacy has paid off over the years, with her work together with the Long Angle Group being instrumental in convincing Sydney Water not to proceed with plans to discharge sewage outfalls into Fitzgeralds Creek, and leveraging multiple grants to target weeds from their source points in Sun Valley all the way down the catchment to the confluence with the Nepean River.
Working in the bush regeneration industry for over 15 years, she has also extended herself to transfer her considerable skills to volunteer groups and to many Blue Mountains TAFE students, teaching Cert 3 Conservation & Land Management. She is well beloved and respected by many students & volunteers she has worked with over the past 10 years and through them has made a significant contribution to the local bush regeneration industry.
BUSHCARE LEGEND OF THE YEAR: Shirley Brown
Shirley first started Bushcare over 30 years ago with the National Trust at Middle Harbour (Roseville), in the early 1980s when living in Sydney. She then worked occasional days in the Blue Mountains with ACTV (Australian Conservation Trust Volunteers).
Shirley Brown is a true Bushcare legend … she is currently a consistent member of 5 Bushcare Groups as well as many swampcare events. Her commitment extends well beyond those individual sites through her contribution to catchment coordination and a myriad of other small but important tasks. Most importantly Shirley has introduced many people to bushcare, bringing them along to one of her many groups – she has been involved with 10 groups over the years (at one time it was 8 concurrently).
After moving to the mountains, Shirley joined up with the Friends of the Blue Mountains which began in 1989, to weed around Echo Point, Jamison Creek, Darks Common and the lantana in the Lapstone Tunnel area.
She became a regular member of 2 local groups from their beginnings in the mid 90s – Lindemann Rd in 1995 and Valley of the Waters in 1996.
After her family commitments reduced she became more involved from 2004, joining another 5 groups, (2 of which she was a founding member):
- MINNE HA HA BUSHCARE
- GOVETTS ST BUSHCARE
- KATOOMBA CREEK BUSHCARE
- BRAHMA KUMARIS, and
- UPPER KATOOMBA CREEK BUSHCARE
- LEURA PARK
Shirley is always keen to get stuck into the bush, and is always the first to head off and start work while the rest of us faff about getting ready and chatting in the morning. She keeps us Bushcare Officers in check, making sure we are aware of any significant weed or native species present in the work area, and letting us know if anyone in the group needs to get a lesson or reminder about plant id.
Whilst not keen on meetings, Shirley does recognise the importance of planning and coordinating and has contributed to the Govetts & Katoomba Creek Catchment Coordination Group since Sept 2006. Shirley has been untiring in promoting Bushcare and sustainable living. For many years she assisted with editing our newsletter and she has been an instrumental advocate for disseminating the Safe & SustaInable Gardening booklet she helped to develop.
- Everglades Landcare Group
- Coates Park Bushcare Group
- Woodford Glen Bushcare Group
- Mount Irvine Landcare Group
- Explorers Reserve Bushcare Group
- Cross St and Rickard Rd Sports Common Bushcare Group
- Bellata Court Bushcare Group
- Katoomba Creek Bushcare Group
- Sublime Point Bushcare Group
- Centenary Reserve Bushcare Group
Our annual Thank You Bushcare picnic is on Saturday 29 April 2017 at
Megalong Valley Community Hall – Save the Date!
This year we are combining the usual lunch-time bar-b-q picnic with a camp-out on Friday 28th April, a night-time fauna survey and early morning birdwatching so – stay posted for more information coming soon!
Lunch will be at noon with our annual awards presentations at 2:00pm.
More details coming soon!
To an ordinary person, the idea of founding five Bushcare groups, and keeping them sustained, year after year, with chocolate cakes and chai, through rain, hail and shine, while also juggling the demands of full time work and family, would seem like a crazy task.
But David King, son of Aunty Mary King, Gundungurra Aboriginal elder, and member of The Gully Traditional Owners, is no ordinary person.
David is this year’s Bushcare Legend of the Year, an award presented by Council each year for outstanding achievements in the field of Bushcare.
The award is the highest level of recognition we can give anyone within the Bushcare Program. It recognises sustained efforts over many years.
David was nominated by the Bushcare staff because he is an inspirational leader and working companion. He has the sort of enthusiasm that makes everyone around him feel great. We truly don’t know where he gets his energy from.
Over the past 15 years, Mr King has enthused many local volunteers in the task of restoring and caring for the Country he holds dear.
He has established and nurtured several Bushcare and Landcare groups, including Gulunga Bushcare at Horseshoe Falls, Gibbergunyah Bushcare Group at Gloria Park, Hazelbrook, and Garang Landcare Group at Faulconbridge Lily Pond.
David is also the driving force behind the creation and success of Garguree Swampcare. With support from Council’s Environment Levy and multiple grants from the NSW Environmental Trust, Garguree Swampcare volunteers – under David King’s leadership – are restoring the degraded swamp systems within ‘The Gully’, an Aboriginal Place (adjacent to the Katoomba Sports & Aquatic Centre), managed in partnership between The Gully Traditional Owners and Council.
Thanks to years of hard work controlling weeds, planting and restoring creeklines and swamp areas, the Gully swamp systems are starting to come back to life. As the swamp recovers, the group is sharing the significance of The Gully and the cultural importance of swamps through cultural awareness workshops, walks and talks.
And as the country heals, personal connections are also thriving. Through Garguree Swampcare, people from across the Aboriginal, local and broader community have formed personal, enduring relationships as they work together Caring for Country.
Now, Mr King is looking to inspire the custodians of the future. Most recently, he has started the Birriban Landcare group at Katoomba High School, where a whole new generation of young people are being captivated with this enthusiasm for caring for Country.
It has been a deeply personal journey for both David and his family, who are reconnecting to Country through restoring the lands that have been a part of their family for thousands of years.
Mayor Mark Greenhill said “Many people don’t realise it, but it’s often dedicated locals like these, working quietly and tirelessly in the background, that we can thank for healthy local creeks and bushland, including the birds and animals that depend on them.”
“Because year in, year out, they are helping to tackle weeds, replant native habitats, reduce stormwater pollution and restore creek lines across the City.”
“People like David King are true local legends – they’re helping to look after our local bushland, waterways and wildlife, so we can all enjoy them into the future,” said Mr Greenhill.
Council supports more than 500 community conservation volunteers across the City each year, through Council’s Environment Levy.
Jenny Hill, last year’s Bushcare Legend, presented Mr King with the Golden Trowel of Recognition at the Bushcare Picnic, held annually by Council to thank local community conservation volunteers. View the Garguree Swampcare story on youtube at
Welcome to the autumn edition of the Gecko — or, as we call the online version, Gecko Live.
Thanks to those who came along to the annual Bushcare picnic. We had perfect weather for our fun day of games and activities, BBQ lunch and awards ‘ceremony’. See the article below for photos of the day. Now the office is back to the ebb and flow of the usual bushcare activities.
I would like to thank everyone for their involvement in the Bushcare survey/questionnaire. You can see the results here. The standout result was from the first question we asked: ‘How would you like to receive information about Bushcare activities?’ The most popular answer was ‘the Gecko’ with the second being ‘email from Community Co-ordinator’. For those who send out an email to their members monthly, this is very well received. So keep up the good work!
And finally, Lyndal Sullivan has been awarded the part-time Bushcare Officer position. I am delighted that she will be staying with the team.
Bushcare Team Leader
For those who came along to the Bushcare Picnic on the 13 April, it was a lovely day in the Megalong. We tossed a gumboot and found out about the waterbugs from the creek around the corner. We also honoured the groups that have been with us for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years, with our first ever 25-year service award being presented to Centenary Glen. Thanks to the Bushcare officers for cooking up a storm and to Amy from the Environmental Sustainability Team for running the water bug activities. Here are a few photos from the day. Continue reading