Category Archives: People

Crosswords and Puzzles…

Hello Crossword Fans, and we know you’re out there!!  Our ‘wordsmith’ Bushcare Officer, Karen Hising, has produced some great crosswords featuring the Blue Mountains weeds, native plants, animals and birds (for a start) to entice the interest of both the young and young-at-heart. 

Besides the known benefits of solving crossword puzzles such as being good for mental health by keeping the mind active, building social bonds, helping fight disease, strengthening the mind and improving vocabulary…we get to learn more about the Blue Mountains natural (and weedy) environment around our Bushcare sites.

Our aim is to post a new crossword each week on the Bushcare Website with answers listed the following week on www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au.

If you have some great ideas for our themed crosswords…or wanting to test your own crossword (and possibly cryptic) skills then contact Karen Hising on khising@bmcc.nsw.gov.au 

New weekly crossword puzzles highlighting Blue Mountains weeds, native plants, native animals and native birds

Instructions

CLICK on the link below and follow the instructions to either fill in online or print a hard copy.

WEEK 1 – Blue Mountains Weeds Crossword Puzzle

To FILL IN ONLINE

  1. CLICK on the clue listed under Across or Down – and this will highlight the boxes (purple) to fill in on the crossword.
  2. To TYPE in the answer CLICK on the purple highlighted box in the crossword and start typing your answer (a correct answer turns the boxes green). If your answer was incorrect then use the backspace to delete then try again for this answer only!!
  3. To RESET ANSWERS (all answers) scroll down the screen  below the crossword and CLICK Reset Answer (red button)

To PRINT a Hardcopy scroll down the screen below the crossword and CLICK Print My Puzzle (purple button)

The Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show – Bushcare Picnic

Sadly, the Bushcare Picnic has been postponed to later in the year, but that doesn’t mean we need to sit at home doing nothing. Now is the perfect time to get those creative juices going and start designing an outfit for the Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show to be held at the Bushcare Picnic. Bushcare volunteers are the most creative people in Mountains and now is your chance to really let those ideas run wild.

The aim of the event is to celebrate the reuse and recycling of items in the Blue Mountains and provide volunteers with an opportunity to really showcase what you have been up to and the creative ways you recycle.

The Bushcare Picnic will host our first Reuse, Recycle Fashion Show. Volunteer designers will be walking their creations down the runway (or have someone walk them for you).

There are 5 categories:

Children (15 years and under): Children and young people, go crazy with creativity! Whether your outfit is modelled on a favourite character or something bizarre and made up.

Trash Fash: Have you got any unwanted “stuff” lying around? Anything you have big collections of that you don’t have a use for any longer and can turn into intriguing design? Perhaps even hunt through your recycling rubbish before it goes out or look around to see what is hanging about in the house, garage or garden. The possibilities are endless. Get carried away with your trash!  

Chic Boutique: This category is for the more serious designers. If you have a flair for costume design, then this category is for you! Parade your own stylish creation or find a model to adorn your masterpiece. Materials used must be transformed from a previous life form.

Best overall: This category is for the best overall outfit.

Peoples Favourite: This category is your chance to vote for your favourite fashions on the field outfit.

Awards 

Judged by a selected panel: including a Bushcare Volunteer, Bushcare Officer and Bushcare Team Leader.

Winners will be announced at the Bushcare Picnic and given their award and prize.

Criteria

reuse: to use again, after processing

recycle: to process something so it can be used for another cycle or product

Reuse, Recycle Fashion Parade Guidelines

Materials used in the construction of garments MUST be recyclable. Designers may use materials for construction such as glue, tape, dyes, marker, staples, thread, zippers, elastic, wire, string, velcro, grommets, laces, paint, etc.

  • Originality and creativity are encouraged.
  • Recycled fabric may only be used as a lining that doesn’t show. The usage of new material should not overpower your total garment. Footwear made from recyclable material is preferred; however, street shoes are acceptable.
  • Garments must be constructed well enough to fit the model and hold together for the stage show. (Models are strongly encouraged to wear comfortable clothes underneath recycled garment).
  • Designers may wear the garment or may choose a model to wear the garment and walk the runway.
  • Recycled fashions must be made of at least 75% recycled or reused materials that otherwise would be thrown away or recycled.

Garment Creation/Material Suggestions:

  • Both common and unusual items that are discarded for trash such as curtains, vinyl billboards, old electronics, garbage bags, aluminium cans, cardboard, landscape netting, old tents, sleeping bags etc.
  • Consider how items can be cut, folded, moulded, knotted, shredded, stitched, woven or reconstructed to make an outfit or specific sections within the design.
  • Old Bushcare gloves
  • Recycled tree guards, plastic or cardboard
  • Scraps of textiles
  • Recyclables: paper, plastics, aluminium, steel, cardboard, magazines, books or phone books
  • Beverage bottle caps or six-pack rings
  • Plastic bags
  • Pet/animal food bags
  • Old toys or games pieces
  • Packaging materials
  • Found outdoor objects – pine cones, sticks, rocks, flowers, etc.
  • Food containers (cleaned out/sanitized)

How to attach materials:

We encourage the use of environmentally-friendly glues, dyes, paints, resins, etc. and advise contestants to be mindful of the weight of materials being used in the finished product. Suggested items include:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Machine or hand sewing
  • Packing or duct tape
  • Safety pins or stapes
  • Weaving, braiding, lacing, crocheting or knitting materials
  • Paper clips or rubber bands
  • Natural adhesives – rice, flour with water mixture or milk/vinegar/baking soda mixture 

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!

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

Recovering Our Backyard: Mini-Expo February 29

An event organised by Blue Mountains Recovery Wellbeing Committee, Blue ARC, and Resilience & Preparedness Group.

Many residents of the Blue Mountains region are concerned about the impacts of the bushfires on our natural environment and National Park and people need to feel that they can be involved in recovery efforts in a meaningful way.

On Saturday 29 February, Blackheath – a mini-expo is being run in the afternoon to help guide residents on how they can assist the regeneration of our natural environment.

The afternoon will include talks from wildlife experts and a Council representative, there will be tables set up with representatives from local groups and organisations providing information, and opportunities to volunteer.

Date and Time: Saturday, February 29, 2020, 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Location: Phillips Hall, Blackheath Community Centre – Gardiner Crescent, Blackheath, NSW

To register click on this link below

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/recovering-our-backyard-tickets-94508644901?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=esfb&utm-source=fb&utm-term=listing&fbclid=IwAR035-kBGPiWw2BNtWXjJOSEP3XuO34GbMOA96yYraI2pDeMaaGunY3buU8

Else-Mitchell Park tree planting morning

Article by Karen Hising

More than a year ago, a friendly neighbour to the Else-Mitchell Park Bushcare site kindly offered the Bushcare Group some Eucayptus deanei seedlings to raise and plant into the Reserve.  The seedlings had appeared in a large pot from a very large and beautiful Eucalyptus deanei tree in the neighbour’s front garden – a remnant tree from the original forest of the area.  Mike Purtell, co-ordinator and founding member of the Else-Mitchell Park Bushcare Group, agreed to raise the seedlings to a larger size for future planting. 

Meeting the neighbour some time later, I suggested he join us in planting the juvenile trees back into the Reserve, which he thought was a great idea!  But then I thought, having a number of plants available, why not invite all the surrounding neighbours. 

So, the Bushcare Group and six neighbouring families had a very enjoyable morning planting trees in various parts of the site – each family planting a tree each.  We then had a special morning tea and chat. 

So the Reserve now has more trees and the local neighbours and the Bushcare Group members had a chance to catch up!  With another neighbour, Mike is now trying to organise an interview with the neighbour who provided the seedlings to record the memories of living in the local area for historic reference, with particular regard to ongoing changes at Else-Mitchell Park.

Else-Mitchell Park tree planting morning Photo credit: John Papanidis

Bushcare Update – Making a Difference!!

By Sandy Benson (Bushcare Team Leader)

Sometimes it seems as though the world’s environmental problems are so large it’s overwhelming, we feel like “am I doing enough?” or “what is the point?” It seems that no matter how many reusable shopping bags we use it pales by comparison to the impact of global issues like climate change.

However, the world has come together before to solve global environmental problems, like the hole in the ozone layer. We tackled that issue globally, by coming together to develop a set of rules that eliminated the source of the problem.

You may not feel like it, but the choices you make day in and day out do add up and make a difference. You live in the Blue Mountains because you want to live near nature, go for bushwalks, be with likeminded people and enjoy a sense of community. You probably already go to the op shop instead of buying new, buy only what you need and reduce reliance on packaging. Use resuable bags or boomerang bags, you compost and you join in environmental causes and volunteer your time.

Volunteering with Bushcare brings all of those elements together. We make huge changes on the ground, over time eliminating weeds that would one day overtake our native bush reducing biodiversity and resilience. We discuss world problems (sometimes solving them), get our hands dirty and go home with a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

We are not alone in our individual efforts, thinking we are only making a small indent – we are a community of over 400 people turning up each month, equating to 1,200 hours of environmental benefit to our future. We are also part of a much larger community with over 6000 Bushcare/Landcare groups Australia wide. All of us turning up to make a difference!

What to do in case of snake bite

SNAKEBITES by Rob Timmings – RN BHSc MEmNsg Cert IV – TAE

Managing Director/Principle Educator (Clinical) of ECT4Health Pty Ltd (Education, consultancy and training for healthcare professionals). Full medical qualifications, experience and biography via https://www.ect4health.com.au/about-us/

Photo credit: Karen Hising
  • 3,000 snakebites are reported annually
  • 300-500 hospitalisations
  • 2-3 deaths annually

Average time to death is 12 hours. The urban myth that you are bitten in the yard and die before you can walk from your chook pen back to the house is a load of rubbish.

While not new, the management of snakebite (like a flood/fire evacuation plan or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) should be refreshed each season.

Let’s start with a basic overview:

There are five genus of snakes that will harm us (seriously) – Browns, Blacks, Adders, Tigers and Taipans.

  • All snake venom is made up of huge proteins (like egg white). When bitten, a snake injects some venom into the meat of your limb (NOT into your blood).
  • This venom cannot be absorbed into the blood stream from the bite site.
  • It travels in a fluid transport system in your body called the lymphatic system (not the blood stream).
  • Now this fluid (lymph) is moved differently to blood.
  • Your heart pumps blood around, so even when you are lying dead still, your blood still circulates around the body. Lymph fluid is different. It moves around with physical muscle movement like bending your arm, bending knees, wriggling fingers and toes, walking/exercise, etc.
  • Now here is the thing, lymph fluid becomes blood after these lymph vessels converge to form one of two large vessels (lymphatic trunks), which are connected to veins at the base of the neck.
  • Back to the snakebite site.  When bitten, the venom has been injected into this lymph fluid (which makes up the bulk of the water in your tissues).
  • The only way that the venom can get into your blood stream is to be moved from the bite site in the lymphatic vessels. The only way to do this is to physically move the limbs that were bitten.

Stay still!! Venom can’t move if the victim doesn’t move. Stay still!!

Remember, people are not bitten into their blood stream. In the 1980’S, a technique called pressure immobilisation bandaging was developed to further retard venom movement. It completely stops venom/lymph transport toward the blood stream.

A firm roll bandage is applied directly over the bite site (don’t wash the area).

Technique:

Three steps – keep them still.

Step 1 – Apply a bandage over the bite site, to an area about 10cm above and below the bite.

Step 2 – Then using another elastic roller bandage, apply a firm wrap from fingers/toes all the way to the armpit/groin. The bandage needs to be firm, but not so tight that it causes fingers or toes to turn purple or white. About the tension of a sprain bandage.

Step 3 – Splint the limb so the patient can’t walk or bend the limb.

Then go directly to the hospital. Do not remove the bandage, medical staff will take the bandage off.

DO NOT’S:

  • DO NOT cut, incise or suck the venom.
  • DON’T EVER use a tourniquet.
  • DO NOT remove the shirt or pants – just bandage over the top of clothing.
  • Remember movement (like wriggling out of a shirt or pants) causes venom movement.
  • DO NOT try to catch, kill or identify the snake!!! This is important.

In hospital, we NO LONGER NEED to know the type of snake – it doesn’t change treatment.

Five years ago, we would do a test on the bite, blood or urine to identify the snake so the correct antivenom could be used.

BUT NOW…

We don’t do this. Our new antivenom neutralises the venoms of all the five listed snake genus, so it doesn’t matter what snake bit the patient.

Read that again- one injection for all snakes!

Polyvalent is our one-shot wonder, stocked in all hospitals, so most hospitals no longer stock specific antivenins.

Australian snakes tend to have three main effects in differing degrees.

  1. Bleeding – internally and bruising.
  2. Muscles paralysed, causing difficulty talking, moving and breathing.
  3. Pain – in some snakes, severe muscle pain in the limb and days later, the bite site can break down, forming a nasty wound.

Allergy to snakes is rarer than winning lotto twice.

Final Tips:

Not all bitten people are envenomated and only those starting to show symptoms above are given antivenom.

Did I mention to stay still!

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.