Category Archives: People

Science for Wildlife – Postfire Projects and call out for volunteers!!

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.

Laksmi & joey Ra – Koala Release Science for Wildlife Photo: Ian Brown

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.

Laksmi & joey Ra – Koala Release Science for Wildlife Photo: Ian Brown

Camera Trap Project – calling for volunteers!!!

Help us work out which species used water and food stations during the bushfires

Lyre Bird captured as part of the Camera Trap Project. Credit: Sourced from Science for Wildlife

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

Seniors Festival 1 April – 30 April 2021

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.

https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/documents/2021-seniors-festival-program

March 2021 Gecko Newsletter – Autumn issue

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

https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/documents/gecko-newsletter-autumn-2021

Get Involved in Blue Mountains Crayfish Count

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.

Giant Spiny Crayfish Euastacus spinifer CREDIT BMCC Healthy Waterways Team

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:

  1. Register for iNaturalist through the app or website
  2. Search for and join the Blue Mountains Crayfish Count project
  3. When you next see a crayfish, take a photo of it
  4. Upload the photo to iNaturalist (through the app or website), and add it to the Blue Mountains Crayfish Project.

Clean up Australia Day Sunday 7th March

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/

Garguree Swampcare, Maple Grove Clean Up Australia Day 2020

Environmental Citizen of the Year – Lis Bastian

Outstanding citizens were celebrated at Blue Mountains City Council’s annual Australia Day Awards on 26 January, 2021.

Environmental Citizen of the Year – Lis Bastian

Congratulations to Lis Bastian – a founding member of one our new bushcare groups – Blackheath Community Farm Landcare.

For years, Lis Bastian has devoted herself to helping others live more sustainably. She does this by leading by example and by teaching people of all ages about permaculture and environmental responsibility.

Lis created The Big Fix (www.thebigfixblackheath.org) which is a social enterprise that focuses on ‘changing the story.’ The initiative has enabled a collaborative, solutions-based culture to grow and thrive in the Blue Mountains and beyond.

Other projects that have been spearheaded by Lis, include a Community Farm in Blackheath which she regularly reports on through Facebook to inspire others. Lis also set up and now runs ‘Pluriversity’, which provides a range of learning opportunities for young people who have left school engage with one another and the wider community.

Lis reaches out to others and builds partnerships with unlimited generosity and devotion to protecting the environment.

The full list Awards recipients included:

  • Young Citizens of the Year –  Annelise Schroder and Harry Elbourne
  • Citizen of the Year – John Turner
  • Senior Citizens of the Year – Peter A. Kidd and Rosemary Hart
  • Environmental Citizen of the Year – Lis Bastian
  • Community Achievement of the Year – Blue Fringe Arts and Literature Exhibition.

Swamped By Threats Project reaches halfway mark

By Michael Hensen

The Swamped by Threats Project, a partnership between BMCC, CTLLS, NPWS and Forest NSW, has reached the halfway mark. The project aims to conserve the ecological integrity and habitat quality of priority swamps for the endangered and swamp dependant Blue Mountains Water Skink and the Giant Dragonfly of the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau. The innovative ten year project is funded through a $750,000 Save Our Species (SOS) Partnership Environmental Trust grant.

A key focus of the project in the Blue Mountains has been the restoration of the natural hydrology of swamp systems which have been disrupted by stormwater flows from urbanised catchments, resulting in erosion, channelisation, de-watering, sedimentation, and weed invasion. Works have included stormwater outlet stabilisation, gross pollutant traps, raingardens, stormwater infiltration and integration structures and soft engineering swamp rehydration structures, as well as weed control.  The sixteen priority swamp systems being targeted include Connaught, Yosemite, Marmion Road, North Street, the Gully, McCrae’s Paddock, Leura Falls, East Leura, Jamison Creek, Central Park, Wentworth Falls Lake, Franks Creek, Kittyhawke, Duperry/Clarendon Swamp, Red Gum Park, Lawson Pool and North Lawson Swamps.

IMAGE: Eric Mahony and Geoffrey Smith at Central Park swamp raingardens in high flow CREDIT: BMCC

A big thank you goes out to all the Bushcare and Swampcare volunteers whose ongoing on-ground efforts are making such a valuable contribution of in-kind hours in support of the grant funded work.

IMAGE: Banksia Street raingarden above Wentworth Falls Lake  CREDIT: BMCC

This project has been supported by the Hominy Bakery in Katoomba who provide the catering for these events “You know the food is good when everyone’s silent” said Katy O’Neill at the Valley View Swampcare Event.

More information is available via this link: https://youtu.be/DmGZbkgjrQM

Summer Gecko 2020

Welcome to the 2020 Summer issue of the Gecko Newsletter. In this issue read about:

• 2020: Bushcare Team Leader • Bushcare / Landcare Picnic COVID style • Bushcare Awards – Group and Individuals • Vale Lachlan Garland • Remote Bushcare • Cicadas • RSCPA Landcare • Vale Liz Kabanoff • Popes Glen Bushcare Group – Local Heros • Vale Thelma Murphy – Bushcare Icon • Swamped by Threats Project reaches halfway mark • Redgum Park – Timing is everything • What’s On!

Click here to open the latest Gecko

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

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.

Native Fauna of the Greater Blue Mountains – Zoom talk

Sunday 29 November, 2020 4:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday 29 November – Native Fauna of the Greater Blue Mountains – 4pm via zoom

Peter & Judy Smith  (Blue Mountains Gazette)

Blue Mountains Conservation Society are pleased to host local ecologists, Judy and Peter Smith, talking about the native fauna of the Greater Blue Mountains on the very day the World Heritage listing for the area was decided back in 2000.

The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is home to a remarkably diverse native terrestrial vertebrate fauna (currently 434 species) of international significance.

The World Heritage listing recognises the region’s globally significant natural values including its biodiversity.

Judy and Peter will talk about the fauna of the GBMWHA as it stood at the time of publication of their book (October 2019) and then look briefly at what has happened to the fauna since.

Join us as we mark this important anniversary!

When:  4pm Sunday 29 November (one hour)

Register here:  gos@bluemountains.org.au – You will receive a ZOOM Link before the day.

In this time of COVID the Society will hold a number of online talks.