Category Archives: General

Bushcare picnic was a big hit!

The picnic this year was such a fun day. We were all well fed with pizza and soup then we moved on to the awards ceremony. Below are some highlights from the awards.

The Deanei accepting their certificate to celebrate 25 years of the group.
From left to right: Clr Hollywood, Rob, Mike & Glen.
Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Group accepting their 30 years award.
From left to right: Susan, Monica, Clr Hollywood & Lesley

The Masters Award

Elizabeth Mitchell accepting the Masters Award presented by the Mayor Clr Greenhill

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 two people will be awarded for this role as they are very much a dynamic duo.

Our first recipient took one of the earlier courses in Bush Regeneration at TAFE in the early 1980s under the tutelage of Jill Dark, acknowledged by many, as holding legendary status in the Blue Mountains.

In 1992 when Council initially employed an officer to manage Bushcare this person was very much a driving force behind the newly formed Birdwood Gully bushcare group. She was also involved in the early development of many other bushcare groups around Springwood including Deanei Reserve, Else Mitchell and Fairy Dell as well as the Bushcare Network.  She is a keen local history buff, very active in the conservation movement, has encouraged many volunteers over the years and has been a vocal advocate for weed control and the environment in Springwood. Our first recipient for the Masters award is Elizabeth Mitchell

Our second recipient has also been actively involved in the Bushcare program and the Blue Mountains conservation network. A keen bird observer and bushwalker, they moved from Hobart up to Springwood in the mid 2000’s. Becoming very good friends with Elizabeth Mitchell, they have since become a very active member of Birdwood Gully Bushcare. Our second recipient for the Masters award is Liz Field

Both Liz Field and Elizabeth Mitchell have spent many, many hours on top of their regular Bushcare days working behind their property and doing a great job encouraging the neighbours to control weeds in their places along the back of Boland Avenue.


The Landcare Awards

Marianne Bate accepting the Landcare Award presented by the Mayor Clr Greenhill

The Landcare Award is for individuals who have made strong contribution 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 Legend is the epitome of a good neighbour – hosting afternoon tea for new residents and assisting many local residents with weed identification and control, always ready to help with hands on work and bringing the community together to help anyone suffering ill-health or frailty.

She co-ordinates the monthly Bushcare group but her Bushcare commitment extends to assisting fellow residents to manage weeds on their own properties. She was central to establishing and ensuring the Bushcare / Landcare group since it started almost 10 years ago. She also bakes awesome cakes and attends remote Bushcare whenever she can!

Her generosity sharing her time and expertise was demonstrated particularly following the 2013 bushfires when there was a serious outbreak of Broom in St Georges Parade. She spent time with residents showing them how to deal with the Broom and working with them to control it. Her advice was well received and not only yielded good environmental results but strengthened community relationships at the same time.

Her capacity to do so much to support the local community continues to inspire and amaze the residents and community volunteers of Mount Victoria. Our recipient for the Landcare Award is Marianne Bates.

Hard Yakka Award

Michael Alexander accepting his Hard yakka Award from Mayor Clr Greenhill

The Hard Yakka Award acknowledges consistent support to a Bushcare Group. These people are hardworking volunteers who have added immense value to their groups and the natural areas in which they work.

This year’s Hard Yakka Award goes to a foundation member of Banksia Park Bushcare Group since it started in 2010 and Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare group since 2010. He’s also very active in the Leura Park Bushcare Group and in the Gordon and Leura Falls Catchment Group. Always good-humoured, supportive, gentle, respectful and co-operative as well as hardworking and thorough – he’s an absolute bonus to all these groups. A lively advocate of Bushcare in the local area, he has hosted a stormwater workshop on his property, encouraging and supporting neighbours to implement weed management on their property.  We are proud to recognise Michael Alexander with this year’s Hard Yakka award.

The Bushcare Legend

The Bushcare Legend of the Year Award is the 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.
 

Our Bushcare Legend Award for 2019 is Lachlan Garland






He is known as being stubborn, passionate, and ever-present, with a keen eye for detail and prepared to stand strong for Bushcare and the environment in many different capacities whether it be on the ground, at the lectern, street stall or the computer.
 
This person has been a member of many Bushcare Groups throughout the Mountains, starting with co-ordination of Summerhayes Park Bushcare Group and extending to Valley Of The Waters, Braeside, Charles Darwin Walk, Central Park, Coates Park, Everglades and most recently Marmion Swamp.  They have also been involved in a range of Swampcare and Bushcare Events for a number of years, and been an active and committed member of the Bushcare Network for quite some time.  In recent years, he founded and is the Co-Ordinator of the Jamison Creek Catchment Group.  For the last few years, they have also been the volunteer photographer of the Bushcare Picnic! 

‘Bushcare the Musical’

There was a new addition of the musical this year where the Bushcare Officers put on a historically ‘accurate’ depiction of the history of Bushcare. We had all a giggle and sang along to the songs. We had great feedback from the volunteers and had requests for next year

Snakes Display

Neville Burns snake presentation on the snakes of the Blue Mountains

Neville shared his knowledge on the snakes of the Blue Mountains when the afternoon tea was served. Bringing out one snake at a time to show us the features and explaining their habitat.

Jewel Making

Two Garguree voluteers with their jewels they made on the day

Spotlighting

Spotlighting in the evening in Megalong Valley

Streamwatch Feedback Workshop

Greater Sydney Landcare Network is holding a Streamwatch Feedback Workshop on Sunday 7 July 2.00 – 4.30pm at Sydney Olympic Park for Streamwatch volunteers and the broader community including Landcare and Bushcare volunteers. The registration process is online – see link below.

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/streamwatch-volunteers-feedback-workshop-2-tickets-63100674817

Bee-tastic Workshop

Native BEEtastic workshop with Megan Halcroft
By Jane Anderson

Members of Upper Kedumba Bushcare group had a lovely
morning attending a workshop with the fantastic Megan Halcroft, of Bees Business, hosted by the Blackheath Rhododendron Garden for their 50th Anniversary.
The Upper Kedumba group site is the centre for the Upper Mountains bee metropolis, where we have built mud homes for ground dwelling bees and hotels of hardwood and reed for our cavity dwellers. We have planted a good selection of pollinator plants with plans for expansion. So with a keen interest in native bees it was a great opportunity to expand our bee
knowledge.
Super interesting things we learnt:
* Bees see on the ultra violet light spectrum
* Bee’s have short or long tongues and pollinate flowers relevant to their tongue design
* Petals have cone cells on them specifically for bees to hang on to
* The best time to see bees is early morning or late afternoon
* Bees build up a positive charge as they fly where flowers have a negative charge, the bees and flowers are attracted to each other. But when the bee pollinates the flower (takes nectar and pollen) the charges are neutralised so the next bee knows not to go to that flower and waste its energy
* The charge, nectar and pollen build up again throughout the day hence the afternoon sessions
*Habitat should be increased every year for your native bee population, so if you have 1 bee hotel now you need 2 the following year and so on
*Lots of little homes in full sun are better than one big home

For more information on bee’s www.beesbusiness.com.au

Pollinator Week
Australian Pollinator Week
acknowledges our important and unique insect pollinators during spring (November) where group activities and community members can learn and laugh together as they help to support our pollinators.
As part of this year’s Australian Pollinator Week, Bushcare will be holding a combined event with Wildplant Rescue for Pollinator Week in early November so come along make a bee hotel, learn about bees and buy some plants specifically for your new bee friends.

Scoop a Poop

Tackling antimicrobial resistance in wildlife
By Michelle Power

Many of us feel lucky that we share our cities and homes with wildlife. But did you know we also share our bacteria? Antibiotic resistant bacteria are those that have overcome the effect of antibiotics (medicines used to treat or prevent infections) are spreading to wildlife. And although we mainly think of antibiotic resistance as a human health issue, increasing reports of resistant bacteria in our wildlife raises questions about whether these bacteria affect their health too.
Through the Scoop a Poop project, citizen scientists can now contribute to a study of antibiotic resistance in Australian wildlife, specifically possums. How? By collecting possum poop from backyards and submitting it for testing for antimicrobial resistance.
Bushcare Blue Mountains hosted a Scoop a Poop workshop on April 13, which was also Citizen Science Day. The Scoop a Poop team discussed brushtail possum ecology and their different personalities (Clare McArthur, University of Sydney) and explained how connectivity between people, wildlife and the environment we share, facilitates the spread of antibiotic
resistant bacteria (Michelle Power, Macquarie University).
Ann Tierney from WIRES talked about the important role of WIRES in
rehabilitating wildlife and the growing need for the use of antibiotics to treat the increasing number of injuries presenting in our wildlife. The workshop highlights how the local community, WIRES, Blue Mountains Council and universities are working together, and the necessity for
partnerships to address environmental issues through scientific research.

From the right Associate professor Clare McArthur, Associate professor Michelle Power and Scoop a Poop Project leader Dr Koa Webster

Koa Webster (Macquarie University) and the team then gave participants hands-on experience in identifying wildlife scats (using playdough models!), and in using the Scoop a Poop kit and its
smartphone app. Poop-collectors can use the app to record where they collected each poss-poop sample. Using the Scatlas app feature, they can also follow the testing process of samples, and even track their own submission. The group also discussed antibiotic stewardship – actions we can all take to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics and reduce antibiotic resistance. Workshop participants then took Scoop a Poop kits to collect possum poop from their yards for testing.
Scoop a Poop’s pilot study detected antibiotic resistance genes, where we discovered bacteria resistant to some antibiotics in 27% of Possum poop samples. The team is still working out which bacteria are resistant and to what antibiotics. The Possum poop samples from the Blue Mountains will contribute to samples from other parts of NSW, Victoria and South Australia and help answer questions about geographic of resistance in wildlife.

WIRES has recently joined the Scoop a Poop project, and the Blue Mountains wildlife carers will begin to contribute possum poop samples from the many possums they care for. Michelle Power, the Scoop a Poop project leader, explains why working with WIRES is super important for working out how these resistant bacteria in possums may impact their health. “WIRES has information from the possums coming into care, which allows us to examine relationships between possum health and carriage of resistant bacteria,” says Michelle. Michelle also explains that antibiotics are important for treating injuries in wildlife, and if they have resistant bacteria already in their bacterial communities then treatments may not work. “There is really a lot we do not know about antibiotic resistant bacteria in wildlife, and understanding this is not only important for our wildlife but it is also connected to human health,” says Michelle.
You can read more about the project at the Scoop a Poop website. The Scoop a Poop team also run lessons in schools for Years 6-12 and students can also get involved in collecting possum poop samples. Continued p10. For more information: www.scoopapoop.net

The Hidden World

By Sandy Benson
No one thinks twice about the tiny world we walk on everyday but a hidden world exists right below your feet.
‘What, that is amazing!!!’ were the words I heard all morning as we
discovered what was living on and underneath the tiny fungi. Sean Moore was the hit of the day bringing his hand held microscope that attached to his phone. The detail was so clear that he was able to identify several species including Hexapoda and Harvestman living on fungi the size of a matchstick head. One of the fungi inspected looked as though it was absorbing a tiny insect. I was so suprised by the amazing fungi we found in Coachwood Glen, but I was equally suprised by what we couldn’t see with the naked eye. Sean also recorded their movements on his phone.

Additional Information
We have found some interesting fungal specimens in the Blue Mountains, some of which are only known from Tasmania, New Zealand, and some from Queensland. We have only been able to identify some other specimens down to genus level, as they don’t appear in any of the fungi field guides. The family Boletaceae is particularly under-represented in field guides, though we have many different genera in the Blue Mountains.
We will be collecting some of these fungi to send to the Plant Pathology Herbarium at Orange for confirmation of the species. This herbarium holds a large collection of fungi from NSW, more than 113,000 specimens, https://www.anbg.gov.au/chah/resources/herbaria/dar.html
Bushcare website – Fungi of the Blue mountains. This webpage was set up for Liz to add her information. https://www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/groups/fungi-of-the-blue-mountains/?highlight=fungiFollowing

If you missed out on attending the last Fungi Foray, we will be holding another Fungi Foray in Fairy Dell, Springwood later in the year, so please keep an eye out for dates.

Fungi Foray

Fungi Foray, Coachwood Glen 6th April 2019
By Liz Kabanoff
Coachwood Glen Nature Trail, on the road down to the Megalong Valley, is a beautiful walk around rainforest vegetation. In autumn the forest erupts with a multitude of colourful fungi, in a spectacular variety of forms. Earth stars, Earth tongues, Corals, Cups, Brackets, Jellies, Clubs and Polypores adorn the forest floor and fallen trees, each one playing its part in the cycle that helps to keep an ecosystem stable.
In April volunteers Liz Kabanoff and Gemma Williams led a group of fifteen enthusiastic volunteers and community members on a fungi walk around the rainforest. Recent rain and cooler autumn weather meant that we were rewarded with more than 40 species of fungi in every colour of the rainbow. The two hour activity flew by, and was an eye-opener into the ‘forgotten kingdom’.
Fungi perform a variety of roles in nature. They may be nutrient recyclers, decomposing fallen trees, leaves and animal scats, and releasing nutrients to the environment. Many fungi form mycorrhizal relationships with the roots of plants, passing on inorganic nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates that the plant produces via photosynthesis. Substances secreted by
mycorrhizal fungi aid in building better soil structure.

Fungi provide food for invertebrates such as our native slugs and snails. Lyrebirds, Potoroos, Bandicoots and some Wallabies also eat certain types of fungi. The fungal spores pass through their digestive systems and are distributed to other areas in their faeces. Certain species of fungi also have a role in producing hollows in trees, providing homes for birds and mammals. After bushfire, fungal mycelial mats form on burnt ground, helping to stabilise soil and prevent erosion.
iNaturalist is a citizen science project and online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe.
The Fungi in the Blue Mountains project aims to document the biodiversity of fungi found in the Blue Mountains NSW, and focuses primarily on bushcare sites. It is an umbrella project for a number of other projects (Fungi in Fairy Dell, Fungi in Birdwood Gully, Fungi in Else Mitchell Park, Fungi in the Deanei reserve and Fungi in Coachwood Glen).
If your Bushcare Group is interested in being part of Fungi of the Blue Mountains project, Liz can assist you in starting your own iNaturalist group.
For more info on how to start please contact
asteele@bmcc.nsw.gov.au or 4780 5320

Popes Glen Remote Bushcare

Popes Glen Remote

By Steve Fleischmann
The Blue Mountains City Council remote Bushcare
Program began 16 years ago, working in partnership with National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) across several adjoining land tenures.
These remote events are planned with Bushcare/Landcare Groups to extend their work further into parts of the catchment that are difficult to access. It provides an opportunity for group members to gain a better understanding of their sub catchments and the issues they face such as seed dispersal.
Broom and Gorse have the ability to shoot their seeds some metres away which allows infestations to thicken quickly and to spread, particularly along water courses. Their pods burst open in hot weather during spring and summer, scattering seeds up to several metres from the plant. Seeds of these species have a hard coat that can delay germination for months or years, allowing large seed banks to develop. Seeds can remain viable in the soil for many years (https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/Weeds/ScotchBroom).
These weed seeds are carried along streams and rivers by water and sediment resulting in long distance dispersal downstream and germinatation at new sites, especially in gullies. This is particularly true of Broom and Gorse.
A coordinated approach has been undertaken with the NPWS as part of the Great Grose Weed Walk program, in order to reduce the volume of weed propagules entering the Grose Valley and other wilderness areas.
Bushcare, BMCC staff and contractors have been working in the upper parts of Popes Glen for many years treating Gorse, Montbretia, Holly, Broom, Rhododendrons, Tutsan and whatever else they find hiding in the ferns.
Recently, Bushcare volunteers, Steve Fleischmann (Bushcare Officer) and Grant Purcell (Ranger) from NPWS worked as a team in the lower parts of Popes Glen. The team met at the NPWS Heritage Centre, tooled up and made their way downstream with half the volunteers working upstream near the Cliff tops while the other half worked downstream along and in the creek treating Montbretia.
Due to recent rains many weeds had been flattened by water flowing down the creekline which in turn made it difficult to spot them. Many slow sweeps of the riparian zones were required to locate and treat weeds such as Gorse, Broom and Montbretia. This Remote Program made up of volunteers has made a significant impact on the weed density in the lower parts of Pope’s
Glen Creek. If you are looking for a challenging but interesting day out where you can make a difference join our Remote Program.

What do you know about wildlife in your local area? Share your sightings and knowledge of NSW wildlife!

NSW communities are being called on to share their sightings from the past two years through a new wildlife survey released by the Office of Environment and Heritage. The survey asks if you have information about a selection of NSW wildlife: brushtail possums, foxes, platypus, wombats, koalas, spotted-tailed quolls, echidnas, kangaroo, deer and dingos.

Whether you saw a possum on your way to school, a wombat while out working, or a koala while on holiday, every sighting contributes to research to help understand where in NSW these animals are living and how their populations are faring.

The survey is being funded as part of the $44.7 million NSW Koala Strategy, that is helping to secure the future of koalas in the wild.

Data from this years survey can help identify sites for action under the NSW Koala Strategy as well as forming part of koala monitoring across the State. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete and its a great opportunity to help build knowledge about wildlife in your local area.

Access the new wildlife survey here: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wildlife-survey

Volunteer Ventures

Glenbrook Lagoon Floating Turtle Habitat
By Sandy Benson
An amazing pilot program constructing and installing a floating turtle habitat in Glenbrook Lagoon is the first of its kind for the Blue Mountains.
The Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare group along with community members came together to construct the floating turtle island. The aim of the project which was funded by the NSW Premier’s Office is to provide a safe nesting environment away from predation for the several species of turtle found at Glenbrook Lagoon.

Volunteers from Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare and corporate volunteers from Salesforce working together to build the base structure


The turtle population Australia-wide is ageing and declining, with few young recruits, thanks to predation on eggs and hatchlings. This is no different to the challenges faced by the Glenbrook Lagoon turtles.
The joint project team involving Bushcare, Councils Healthy Waterways team and the University of Western Sydney are keen to work on this pilot project to provide a sanctuary for the turtles to breed on. This floating island will have easy access from the water for the turtles to climb onto rest, bask and lay their eggs on.

Volunteers sewing up the jute mesh and planting sedges into the coir


The base structure is built from a combination of PVC piping, foam and mesh. The whole island is covered with jute matting, with wetland species tubestock planted into a coconut coir substrate. Worm farms filled with sand sit on top of the structure to ensure that the sand is dry, perfect for egg laying. The submerged and free floating wetland plants create a marsh environment which captures and stores organic material in the peat leading to high quality water treatment as well as providing an ideal habitat.
The project will be assessed and if successful additional turtle islands may be considered.

Turtle Island being moved into place off the Glenbrook lagoon sand bank

Scoop a Poop
We have already had a great response to the collection of possum poo with participant Max saying “I was happy to attend the scoop-a-poop event yesterday which turned out to be a great
success with the hall filled with enthusiastic people!
The issues were well presented and discussed & I managed to collect fresh samples this morning from my own backyard.


I have already notified the group via the app & scanning my code plus photo of the poo from a
breeding adult female Brushtail Possum which frequents the area & has surely checked out my compost area in backyard! I saw a baby last year initially in her pouch then wandering near her a couple weeks later. I have noticed smaller males & ringtail possums in the past who are just occasional visitors. They all come out at night and a backyard light and/or torch is required to see them clearly. On rare occasions I hear the female possum become quite vocal as part of a suspected territorial display and screech at and possibly chase off other possums.
The two lots of possum poo I found were under a peach tree and on a pavement in my backyard”.

Download the Poop a Scoop App to upload your collection results then deliver your poop a Scoop collection kit to the Blue Mountains City Council front desk