Category Archives: Groups

Bushcare Picnic COVID Style Awards

Bushcare Awards Presentation 2020

This year, the Bushcare Picnic will be a little bit different! Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will be hosting 60 small picnics at your Bushcare and Landcare groups in the month of November.

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
  • Thankyou

Congratulations to our Awardees (read their nominations below)

Congratulations to our Bushcare Legend and Golden Trowel recipient for 2020 – Ross Day pictured with Cr Mark Greenhill, Mayor.

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.

Mayor’s Speech

Councillor Mark Greenhill (Mayor) speech was appreciated by all the attendees.

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 hoursan 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 Garland:

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.

Lachlan Garland
Photo: Lachlan Garland Credit: Emma Garland

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 and Nathan Summers – a long-term Bushcare Officer.

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.

Vale Liz Kabanoff
Liz with David on a fungi foray at Birdwood Gully Credit: Gemma Williams
  • Now, let’s mark the achievements of 2020 and present the Bushcare Awards….

Bushcare Gifts

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
10 Year Birthday – 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   
25 Year Anniversary – South Lawson 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.

Councillor Mark GreenHill, Mayor, presented the winner of this year’s Golden Trowel and Bushcare Legend Award to Ross Day. Congratulations Ross!!

Masters Award

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.

Ian Glover was the recipient of ths year’s Masters Award – Ian was unfortunatley travelling down from the north coast so Steve Fleishmann – Bushcare Officer accepted on his behalf.

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.

Neil McGlashan from Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare accepting the Hard Yakka Award from The Mayor.

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.

Beth Winsor accepting the Environmental Warrior Award from the Mayor

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.

Granny Joy was recognised for her support over many years to Bushcare baking countless fruit cakes for Bushcare groups – pictured with Sandy Benson (Bushcare Team Leader), Mayor (Cr Mark Greenhill) and Jane Anderson (Bushcare Officer and proud daughter).

Thankyou

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.

September 2020 Gecko Newsletter – Spring issue

In this Spring Issue….

  • Recovering our Backyards Expo and Videos
  • Boost for Bushcare
  • Chiloglottis – Wasp Orchid
  • Revised Priority Weeds Information Booklet – 2020
  • Wet Weather Inspires Planting
  • Celebrating the 20th Anniversary World Heritage Blue Mountains WHA
  • The Sticky Facts On Eucalyptus
  • Opportunity knocks – A Joint Cross Team Effort!
  • Saving The Bush: Historic Weed Management In Australia
  • What’s On
  • Seasonal Calendar

Download the Gecko here;

https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/documents/gecko-newsletter-spring-2020

COVID-19 snapshot – Popes Glen Bushcare

How are you and your Bushcare groups going over the COVID-19 period? Send any interesting articles or photos to bushcare@bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

Popes Glen Bushcare volunteer, Alan Lane acknowledges how all Bushcare Officers and Bushcare groups are working hard to stay safe and complying with the COVID-19 restrictions. However, Alan noted their Popes Glen Bushcare group “are finding the most difficult time to comply is morning tea, as I’m sure all groups are finding – it’s normally such a social and sociable time!”

Here’s a photo of the Popes Glen Bushcare Group complying with social distancing at morning tea at our July work day. (Liz and Gary in the background are allowed to stand that close together – they are married!).

Pope Glen Bushcare group enjoying morning tea COVID style. Credit: Alan Lane

Boost for Bushcare – Fairy Bower Bushcare

By Sandy Benson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating 20th Anniversary World Heritage Blue Mountains

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Greater Blue Mountains region being granted World Heritage status by the United Nations. 

Blue Mountains City Council will mark this important milestone by celebrating the unique privilege of managing a City within a World Heritage Area.

From July to December 2020, Council will showcase how we help preserve an area of such special significance, including recognition of Traditional Ownership, protection of the environment and threatened species, water resource management and strategic planning.

Read more…..https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/WHA

AUGUST focuses on “Our Water Sensitive City”

Blue Mountains waterways are some of the most beautiful, iconic and highly valued in Australia. They sustain a unique diversity of animals and plants, hold great cultural significance to Traditional Owners, and provide huge opportunities for recreation and eco-tourism.

Our waterways also supply drinking water to over five million people, including residents of the Blue Mountains local government area.

Read more..https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/WHA/Water

SEPTEMBER will promote “Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity”

View information on Bushcare, Threatened Species and Weed Management. More information to come…..

Bushcare volunteers weeding at Carrington Park, Katoomba above the Great Blue Mountains World Heritage area Photo: Council

Videos Resource Page – Updating the Bushcare Website

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.

Our Video page is found under the RESOURCES tab https://www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/resources/videos/

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.

We hope you enjoy!!

Planting day Harold Hodgson Park

Article by Fiona Lumsden (Upper Katoomba Bushcare Group)

Our local Bushcare Group for Upper Katoomba Creek and our neighbours, the Community Gardeners, joined forces in mid-January for a Planting Event along our shared creek.

We were using leftover plants from our Spring plantings along our previously very weedy roadside remnant bushland and a cleared easement above the creek in Twynam unformed road reserve.

We had been worried that January would be tough for new plants – with all the extremely hot and dry weather we’ve had for months. Amazingly, the rain came in bucket-loads, just in time for the planting, and we celebrated. Our little band of bushcarers, mums and kids donned gumboots and sloshed around in the wet, putting in baby ferns and Tea Trees next to the roaring creek. No one complained. We were all so happy to have rain.

Eureka….rain!!!! Upper Katoomba Creek Bushcare Group and the Community Gardens
working together planting natives along the newly-constructed stornwater project in
Harold Hodgson Park. Photos: Steve Fleischmann

The plantings will help stabilize the creekbanks and keep moisture in the creek system.

Blue Mountains City Council is doing a big creek restoration project here in the park. The creek, which has been degraded by urban development and landscape modification, has become deeply incised into its little floodplain. It now bypasses the original Carex gaudichaudiana swamp on the flats beside it. The creek bed is being “bouldered” to slow erosion and a diversion has been cut at the side to revert some flows back into the swamp.

Stormwater and creek restoration Photo: Steve Fleischmann

Swamps and creekside vegetation are really important. They absorb excess water in storm events and slowly release water back into the creek systems over time to maintain creek flows through the year. We have lost a lot of these natural sponges. Revitalizing them will help water security. We need water. We need plants. Lots of them!

Turtle Island launch at Glenbrook Lagoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sassafras Gully Remote Bushcare

Article by Steve Fleischmann

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

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

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

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

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

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

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