Once again, we are celebrating our Bushcare volunteers through the eyes of the digital world. 2021 became the year bookended by COVID shutdowns much to the dismay of all. When lockdown lifted at the start of June last year we saw the impressive resumption of the Bushcare Program – a tribute to our dedicated Bushcare volunteers. And we know that with the same passion and dedication we can come out of this next shutdown with the same gusto!
Our Award Ceremony was held as a Zoom ceremony so everyone could view Mayor Mark Greenhill present the awards and hear the acceptance speeches live on their home computers. Congratulations to Rae Druitt receiving the Bushcare Legend Golden Trowel Trophy and our recipient of the Junior Bushcare Ryan Memorial Shield – Daemon Silk.
We thank David King, Gundungurra man, for the Welcome to Country and talk. We included a couple of talks with John French and Fiona Lumsden showing their recent survey Birds in The Gully, and Megan Halcroft talking about native bees in preparation for pollinators week.
Our ‘Thank you” gift to our volunteers is a cool Cooler lunch bag that will be presented to you by your Bushcare Officer when you all come back together onsite – with the personal touch!!
Photos: Golden Trowel and Junior Shield Award and the Cooler Lunch Bag Thank You gift to our volunteers Credit: BMCC
Celebrating years of service to Bushcare
|Charles Darwin /Jamison Creek Bushcare||Wentworth Falls|
|Sublime Point Bushcare||Wentworth Falls|
|Mt Riverview Bushcare||Mt Riverview|
|Glenbrook Lagoon Bushcare||Glenbrook Lagoon|
|Valley Heights (Benoit Park) Bushcare||Valley Heights|
|Long Angle Gully Landcare||Warrimoo|
|North Lawson Homeschoolers||Lawson|
|Bush Place Bushcare||Glenbrook|
|Raymond Street Bushcare||Blaxland|
|Seed Collection Group||Various|
Welcome to the 2021 Spring issue of the Gecko Newsletter.
In this issue read about:
- Bushcare and COVID-19 update
- The ‘Rights of Nature’ – an Australian first
- Creating Habitat around The Gully Lake
- Blue Mountains Aboriginal Advisory Council’s ‘Statement of Recognition and Commitment’ endorsed by Blue Mountains City Council
- ABC Post-fire ongoing healing of country video for NAIDOC Week.
- The Butterfly Effect
- Farewell Malcolm
- Project Plant It – 80 trees planted for koalas at deanei forest
- Popes Glen Big Day Out – post-fire Gorse treatment
- Repairing the Australian bush in the 1890s
- Book review: “Twenty-Five Years of Bushcare’ Sublime Point Bushcare
- Spring has Sprung – Photo competition
- Vale Jeanell Buckley
- Vale Fred Lyford
- Bushcare Gecko is now online
- Events Webinars: Eucalypts of the Blue Mountains, Launch of “Twenty-Five Years of Bushcare’ Sublime Point Bushcare
- 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
S4W have an upcoming webinar on 28 May at 11 am -12pm where they will provide an update on their two koala projects, we’re they would love it if you could join them.
Please see all additional information on the webinar below.
‘Tune in online for an overview of all the work we have been doing to map and track surviving koalas after the 2019/20 bushfires, as well as the latest news from our project monitoring koalas after they are released from care. There will be an opportunity for a Q&A at the end of the webinar.’
- You can register here.
- Once you register, you will automatically be sent a Zoom link.
- Please note there is a limit of 100 tickets for this webinar
By Jessie Malpass (Communications Officer, Science for Wildlife)
Rescued Koalas returned to the Bush (plus 1)
As the massive bushfires were consuming the Greater Blue Mountains area, Science for Wildlife leapt into action and saved 12 koalas. With the help of volunteers and wildlife experts, Executive Director Dr Kellie Leigh and her team did everything they could to save as many koalas as possible from the approaching fires. These koalas were taken to Taronga Zoo for three months and were returned once it was safe to do so.
In March 2020, Science for Wildlife returned not 12 but 13 koalas to the wild! One of the koalas gave birth to a tiny joey after she was rescued.
Post-fire scat surveys tracking the koalas
Now, it has been just over 12 months since the last of the 2019/2020 bushfires, Science for Wildlife has been working hard to track surviving koalas. They have been monitoring the koalas that were saved ahead of the fires to learn how they use the landscape after fire, as well as heading out to five study sites across the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury to conduct scat surveys and find out how many koalas survived, and where.
Since September 2020 they have completed over 200 scat surveys with the help of volunteers, and have another 250 to go this time, using their koala detection dog team, including Smudge the Coolie. Conserving koalas in unburnt areas including around private properties is now more important than ever, and so Science for Wildlife conducted a recent ‘Community Attitude Survey’ to identify barriers to conservation. The results from the surveys will guide the information that S4W shares with communities, to improve outcomes for koalas and other species.
Camera Trap Project – calling for volunteers!!!
Help us work out which species used water and food stations during the bushfires
In March 2020, the last of the devastating 2019/20 bushfires were put out but Science for Wildlife was still on emergency response for wildlife, putting out water stations and food for any remaining wildlife in burnt areas. After the huge effort to place the food and water stations in the bush, Science for Wildlife wanted to evaluate if their efforts were worthwhile, so a team of staff and volunteers put out camera traps to monitor the water and food stations – hoping to capture images showing a range of wildlife benefiting from these stations.
Then COVID-19 hit, and the team were unable to bring the cameras back in to analyse the images and had to leave them out for a few months. For the remainder of 2020, Science for Wildlife focused on broadscale surveys to map surviving koalas to inform population recovery.
The team at Science for Wildlife would love your help to look through the camera trap images to see what we can discover! Fortunately, this summer has been kinder, but more hot summers and droughts will come, and the findings will help to guide welfare efforts for koalas and other species during the next extreme weather event. Water stations were placed up in trees and on the ground, so you will be looking for a range of arboreal and ground animals as well as birds. We cannot wait to see what animals you find! All you will need is a computer and internet connection.
Here are the questions Science for Wildlife are looking to answer:
- Which water stations designs were used, were some used more than others?
- Were the water stations still used after the heavy rains arrived?
- Which species used the water and the food drops?
- Which sites had more wildlife using the resources we put out, and how does that relate to fire intensity in that area?
- Where were feral animals present, and how many were there compared to native wildlife?
Link to register: S4W Bushfires – Water and Food stations — Zooniverse
NSW Seniors Festival
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 April, 2021 has been put together. The theme for 2021 is ‘In our nature’.
All events will strictly follow COVID safe procedures, as outlined by NSW Health.
A copy of the Seniors Festival Program for the month’s events can be downloaded here and hardcopies will also be available at Council’s Library branches and Customer Service Centres in Katoomba and Springwood.
Welcome to the 2021 Autumn issue of the Gecko Newsletter. In this issue read about:
- Actinotus forsythii Pink Flannel Flower
- A brief Bushcare internship
- Saving the Trees – one Gecko at a time
- Wentworth Falls Lake
- Crayfish Count Regenerate Project
- New Narrow Neck Bushcare Group
- Allendale Landcare Group
- Report a Koala Sighting
- Butterfly Hill-topping site at Lawson
- New Blackheath Community Farm Landcare
- Poison Hemlock
- Snowy Mountains Humpback Slug
- Feral Scan – Fox Scan
- What’s On
Click here to open the latest Gecko
By Alice Blackwood
Bushcare volunteers and Blue Mountains community members can now contribute to building knowledge about our local freshwater crayfish species, as part of an exciting new citizen science project, the Blue Mountains Crayfish Count.
Council’s Healthy Waterways Team runs annual crayfish surveys in three areas and waterbug surveys at more than sixty sites, but we are unable to conduct formal surveys in every stream- that’s where you come in!
By collectively gathering more data on crayfish, this helps us to get a better picture of the health of our crayfish populations, and in turn, the health of our waterways. It may also allow earlier detection of possible pollution incidents that are impacting on crayfish and waterway health.
As part of the launch of the project, we’ve made some short videos about crayfish. These summarise the differences between our native spiny crayfish and yabbies, their importance, and some things you can do to help protect them. There’s also some great underwater shots of some beautiful Giant Spiny Crayfish (Euastacus spinifer). Check out the videos at Council’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BlueMtnsCityCouncil/videos
The Blue Mountains Crayfish Count is a project within iNaturalist. You can join the project and submit observations either through the iNaturalist website or app. For more information go to https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/projects/blue-mountains-crayfish-count .
By collectively gathering more data on crayfish, this helps to get a better picture of the health of our crayfish populations, and in turn, the health of our waterways. It may also allow earlier detection of possible pollution incidents that are impacting on crayfish and waterway health.
Follow these simple steps to contribute to the crayfish count:
- Register for iNaturalist through the app or website
- Search for and join the Blue Mountains Crayfish Count project
- When you next see a crayfish, take a photo of it
- Upload the photo to iNaturalist (through the app or website), and add it to the Blue Mountains Crayfish Project.
Last year local volunteers removed 1.6 tonne of rubbish from bushland and parkland sites, most of which included drink containers, plastic food wrapping, packaging materials and plastic bags.
You can get involved by finding a local park or area that needs cleaning or by joining an existing Clean Up site near you. Once registered, you will be sent a free Clean Up kit including bags, gloves, information and promotional materials.
For further information on how to get involved and find a local site near you, please visit the Clean Up Australia Day website www.cleanup.org.au/