Great news! We have added a new page – VIDEOS to our Bushcare website where we can showcase Blue Mountains Bushcare and volunteers, the environment, threatened species, how to and other interesting segments.
Keep an eye out as we expand the video library. For the time being have a look at videos showing Bushcare South Lawson Park, Popes Glen Wasteland to Wetland, Saving the Callistemon megalongensis, Threatened species in the Blue Mountains and the Turtle Island Habitat launch.
CLICK on the clue listed under Across or Down – and this will highlight the corresponding boxes (purple) to fill in on the crossword.
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!!
To RESET ANSWERS (all answers) scroll down the screenÂ 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)
Our Bushcare Team members are already taking photos around their homes and we came across these small bright red fungi showing Cruentamycena viscidocruenta (left and centre photos) growing on the wood pile and this strange red tentacle fungi – Aseroe rubra (right photo).
These fungi have important roles in the landscape including erosion prevention, forming mycorrhizal relationships with plants, food for animals and invertebrates, and the breakdown and recycling of nutrients from wood and other dead plant material.
What do you need? Armed with just a camera / mobile phone with the flashlight and a keen eye – these small, yet inconspicuous fungi can show a veritable range of brilliant colours and shapes.
So how can we identify these fungi? Our Bushcare volunteer ‘fungi expert’ Liz Kabanoff says by using inaturalist you can upload your own photo and it will try and work out what it is. If the picture is good, it works very well. Also take note of the substrate the mushroom is growing on (soil, woodchip, rotting wood, living wood, moss, insect etc) which will help rule things out. Other people may comment on your specimen and offer an ID.
Check Liz’s inaturalist project – Fungi in the Blue Mountains to see the incredible range of fungi that you may find. CLICK the link below.
Want an alternative to the ‘other’ live streaming viewing currently on
We aim to provide a platform on the Bushcare Website 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.
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).
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.
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)
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.
Anevent 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
Bush fires create conditions that favour the establishment of weeds, which can prevent native plants and desirable garden plants from re-establishing and thriving.
After a bush fire, it’s important to manage weed growth in bushland on your property. Council can provide technical advice and support to help you manage weeds on your property, during the clean-up and rebuilding process. Contact our Community Conservation Officer, Linda Thomas on 4780 5612 or at email@example.com for more information.
Weeds spread easily and have a negative impact on native plants and wildlife. It’s important to control them as soon as possible, to prevent them from spreading to neighbouring properties and native bushland.
While many native plant species and desirable garden plants survive bush fires, their ability to re-establish, thrive, and reseed is reduced by the presence of weeds that aggressively compete for water, light, and soil nutrients.
The cleared post-bush fire landscape is also an opportunity to control weeds while they are visible and before they start to spread.
It is very important to remember to leave burnt areas alone for the first 3-6 months to allow the soil to recover and seedlings to establish. At the early stages any vegetation cover, including weeds , is protecting soil from erosion and protecting native seedlings. After that we need to assess areas for weed control and timing to target ecosystem transformers before seed set, but limiting trampling as much as possible while bushland is still fragile. Over enthusiastic weed control can also cause damage post fire.
Native vegetation may take several years to recover after bush fire and will change in composition over time.
Australian native plants are adapted to recover after bush fire but it can take some time before your local bushland looks like the healthy vegetation community it was before the fire.
Within weeks of a fire some trees and grasses will start to resprout. Over the next few years most of the original shrubs and trees will regrow from existing rootstock or from seeds stored in the soil.
For at least the first few months post-fire it is best to just observe the recovery process and allow the bushland to regenerate itself.
In some situations, where natural regeneration is not progressing well, the planting of native vegetation or direct seeding may be required to stabilise soils and assist with the natural process of regeneration. If you are planting in recovering bushland, you should only use native plants grown locally, and use locally collected seeds to maintain the integrity of the bushland.
Is this a Weed – Elderberry Panax (Polyscias sambucifolia)? By Karen Hising
One of the most common questions I am asked as a Bushcare Officer: “Is this a weed?” And quite often the person asking the question is referring to the native Elderberry Panax (Polyscias sambucifolia).
Polyscias sambucifolia is a variable small to large shrub or sometimes even a compact tree. The leaves are compound, with clusters of succulent bluish-grey fruit in Summer.
An important colonising species in regenerating areas, it can appear as a single plant or in small dense forests before other species have the opportunity to regenerate. At Blackheath Centenary Reserve, where all large shrubs and trees have been removed for powerline safety, swathes of Polyscias have appeared over time and have shaded out groundlayer and grassy weeds. Fortunately, it has not grown too tall to warrant removal under the powerlines – yet!
This plant also provides feeding opportunities for local wildlife. Birds enjoy feasting on the fruit, which is how it is widely propagated. The Elderberry Panax Leaf Roller (Cryptoptila australiana) can infest the whole plant in swathes of webbing. The larvae live in a communal shelter made of leaves joined with silk and feed on the foliage. They are dark-brownish green, with orange spots and white hairs. Pupation occurs within the larval shelter. The plant can look quite bedraggled from the impacts of these insects, but they generally bounce back once the caterpillars finalise their lifecycle to moths and move on. Birds may also enjoy feeding on these larvae.
Whilst it may not be considered a particularly attractive plant (particularly when covered in webbing), it can be an important part of some ecosystems.
Polyscias – from the Greek word, poly, meaning many, and skias, meaning shade, possibly referring to the shade from many leaves; and sambucifolia – referring to leaves which resemble Sambucus, the Elderberry.
There is some debate pronouncing the genus name – poly-sy-as or pol-is-kias
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.
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.