Category Archives: News

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

Citizen Science and Bushfire Recovery – CSIRO and ALA

Bushfire affected land and plant species in the town of Bilpin, NSW are beginning to regenerate.
Bushfire affected land and plant species in the town of Bilpin, NSW are beginning to regenerate. Credit: Australian Museum

CSIRO in collaboration with the Australian Citizen Science Association, has launched the Citizen Science Bushfire Project Finder to support Australia’s bushfire recovery.

Read more….

People-powered science will play a role in Australia’s bushfire recovery, with more than 20 projects underway involving citizen scientists of all ages.

Projects on the website include:

  • Australian Museum project Wildlife Spotter enables users to identify animals in photos taken by camera traps around Australia, assisting researchers in monitoring the effects of bushfires on Australian fauna.
  • South Australia’s Department for Environment and Water are using camera traps to monitor the flora and fauna recovery on Kangaroo Island.
  • There are several projects which people can contribute their sightings of plants and wildlife returning to fire affected areas.
  • Some projects also collect information about the intensity of fire impacts, observed fire behaviour, effects on water quality running off of fire grounds, and impacts of the smoke on people’s health.

The Project Finder also features a geographic filter enabling users to identify available projects in their area. It can be accessed at www.csiro.au/bushfireprojects.

Produced by the Australian Museum and the Atlas of Living Australia, DigiVol enables the public to spot animals in wilderness photos taken by automated cameras around Australia.
Produced by the Australian Museum and the Atlas of Living Australia, DigiVol enables the public to spot animals in wilderness photos taken by automated cameras around Australia. Credit: Australian Museum

Bushcare Kids Resource Page – Updating the Bushcare Website

Come venture to our new BUSHCARE KIDS resource page and find a range of activities that will enable you to discover, explore and enjoy nature around your backyard.

Our BUSHCARE KID page is found under the RESOURCES tab https://www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/resources/bushcare-kids/

Here are some exciting activities

1. Birdlife Australia – Bird in Backyards, 26 Mar 2020. Keep your kids chirpy at home with these activities

2. Bushcare Ranger Programs – downloads some great activity sheets to explore around your backyard.

3. NSW Environment, Energy and Science Conservation from Your Couch

Here is a list of ways you can safely maintain your social distance and assist our most vulnerable native animals.

  1. Be an armchair detective
  2. Inspire a new generation of ecologists
  3. Plant a native tree
  4. Birdwatch from your balcony
  5. Listen to a new soundtrack

4. NSW Environment, Energy and Science 28 Threatened Species colouring-in pages and masks.

5. NSW Environmental Education Resources Visit the NSW Government Educational Resources webpage

Also check the Blue Mountains City Council – Connecting with Nature Our goal is to inspire the next generation – by connecting them to our special Blue Mountains environment and fostering their natural love of nature. In a learning experience unique to our City within a World Heritage Area, we offer local students the opportunity to explore their local water catchment, learn why it’s special and take action to protect it.

We hope you enjoy!!

Australia’s Environment in 2019: scorecard for the Greater Sydney region

The Australian National University recently released Australia’s Environment in 2019, which I hope you may find interesting and useful in your activities. The aim of the report is to annually report on the condition and trajectory of our natural resources and ecosystems. It is based on analysis and interpretation a large volume of satellite, station and survey data.

The report comes in different forms: a national summary report, a 30min webinar, a visual data explorer and environmental scorecards for all regions across Australia. All can be accessed via http://www.ausenv.online .

How did Greater Sydney region go?

Greater Sydney is one of 60 NRM Regions in Australia. This report card summarises changes in the region’s national resources and ecosystems in 2019. CLICK here to view

You can also access scorecards for any other region, including any National Parks, catchment, bioregion, Ramsar site or local government area within your region, via this link.

Temporary suspension of all Bushcare monthly groups and events

Council’s priority is always the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and community.

Due to Coronavirus COVID-19, Council has decided to place a temporary suspension on the Bushcare program. This will mean that no Bushcare groups, individual activity or events will take place. This is effective immediately (18 March 2020), until further notice.

Council will continue to take advice from the State and Federal health departments, which will inform our organisational position and response to this unprecedented risk.

Ongoing reviews will take place during this temporary suspension period and further advice will be provided as it comes to hand. Council thanks you for your continuing support of the Bushcare program.

Keeping in touch

How can you stay involved? We will be writing regularly with updates, news and stories. The Bushcare Team acknowledges staying connected during this unprecedented point in time plays an important part of our ‘social’ care for one another.

We will be posting on the Bushcare Website   https://www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/

The Team has put together some of the following ideas…and we would love to hear about your projects or ideas.

  • Post Bushfire Updates – weeds and making bird watering stations recommended by leading ecologists, creating habitat gardens in bushfire prone areas
  • Book reviews
  • Contribution to the Gecko Newsletter – always welcome!
  • Quizzes and Crosswords
  • Producing ‘interest’ and ‘how to’ videos 
  • Virtual Freestyle book club 
  • Photography competition 
  • Before and after photos – around home projects, bushfire recovery
  • What to plant in your veggie garden
  • Bushcare Picnic – Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show ideas
  • what are your ideas??? Send to bushcare@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Can you think of other ‘social distancing’ and safe activities

  • Listening to Frogs with the FrogID app www.frogid.net.au
  • Virtual Bushcare Group catch-up and morning tea (let’s learn about Zoom)
  • Training in citizen science projects
  • Seasonal observations journal recording – take time to observe nature.
  • Volunteering in digital citizen science projects

If you need any help with downloading and installing apps and Zoom (we hope to produce a guide to help) contact bushcare@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Environmental Citizen Award

Congratulations to Margaret Baker for winning the inaugural Environmental Citizen of the Year Award by the Blue Mountains City Council. Margaret has been a tireless, committed and passionate advocate for protecting the Blue Mountains environment for over four decades. Giving her time as both a professional and a volunteer, Margaret has shown outstanding commitment to, and excellence in, education, life-long learning and the promotion of the natural environment.

Margaret has contributed to environmental education and advocacy over many years which has made an invaluable contributuion to the Blue Mountains community.

To read the full award go tohttps://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/blue-mountains-citizens-celebrated-at-australia-day-awards

Margaret considers that her greatest contribution as an environmental citizen has been the education of many students in the TAFE system over a number of generations and courses.

When Margaret began at TAFE in late 1983, she was present at the launch of the Advanced Certificate in Outdoor Guiding and moved on to teach and manage Bush Regeneration, the Diploma in Natural Resource Management and Certificates in Conservation and Land Management. In just ten years employment in environmental areas in the Blue Mountains went from almost none to a new industry sector. Staff involved in training increased from legendary co-ordinator Jim Smith, with Margaret as a part-time staffer working out of a shoebox office, to a whole Environmental Studies Unit, with Margaret as its first Head Teacher.

Margaret said she “would want her Award to be dedicated to the many enthusiastic and visionary students who enriched her days and moved on to become paid and volunteer members of a now burgeoning environmental industry in the region and beyond.”

Bushcare Officer Monica Nugent, previous student and one of many participants in Margaret’s courses and field trips over the years reiterated these sentiments, stating “The legacy of Margaret’s meticulous, high standard of teaching and intellectual rigour is a generation of professional bush regenerators and Bushcare volunteers with the highest level plant identification skills, a deep understanding of the Blue Mountains landscape and appreciation for its value. By capably and willingly sharing her expert knowledge of the geology, botany, natural and human history of the Blue Mountains, Margaret has instilled a great joy for the flora and fauna and an enduring passion to care for it.”

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

Council’s Seniors Festival Program

NSW Seniors Festival (formerly Seniors Week) is the largest festival for seniors in the Southern Hemisphere. To acknowledge the remarkable contributions our local seniors make to our Blue Mountains community, a program of events for the month of February has been put together. The theme for 2020 focuses on ‘Love To Celebrate’.

The Seniors Festival Program for 2020 offers a range of activities from 3 February to 19 March.

Loads of activities are on offer among the vast program including health and exercise activites, bushwalking, art, music, puzzles and games, senior driving workshops, talks on various plants and animals or gatherings where perhaps you encourage a friend to come along.

Where to find the Seniors Festival Program