Trees for Climate Change

Trees for Climate Change – Youth Council By Jenny Hill

The Blue Mountains Youth Council launched ‘Project Plant It’ (a project all about impacting our planet) in conjunction with National Tree Planting Day in July.

‘Project Plant It’ aims to plant trees to stop climate change and to learn about why it is good to maintain trees and our environment.

The Youth Councillors worked in partnership with Winmalee Primary, Blue Mountains City Council’s Healthy Waterways team, BMCC Youth Council officer, Bushcare and Bush Regeneration teams and community volunteers from the Deanei Reserve, Springwood.

121 plants local to the area were planted. Congratulations to Ellie, Eva, Ian, Izac, Jules and Adisen (youth councillors) for a great launch and a big thanks to Nathan Summers, Gillian Fitzgerald, Monica Nugent, the bush regeneration team and the Deanei bushcare volunteers

Youth Council engaging with Winmalee Primary School launching ‘Project Plant It’
Winmalee school kids help planting some native species
Nathan Summers, Bushcare Officer, talking about the importance of our native euclapyt trees.

Gecko Newsletter – Spring Issue

  • Bushcare Update – Making a Difference!!
  • Annual Bushcare Awards and Picnic
  • Heartfelt Help….Garguree Swampcare and Fairmont Resort crew working together
  • New Bushcare Group – Valley View Swamp Bushcare Group or Gorillas in the Swamp (G.I.T.S)
  • Woody Weed Wanders…another new Bushcare Group!!
  • Creek Restoration the natural way, with a little help from Bushcare. 
  • Grant News
  • Trees for Climate Change – Youth Council
  • Remote Bushcare in Sassafras Gully
  • Native Truffles in the Mountains?
  • Pollinator Week – Pollinator Workshop at Wildplant Rescue
  • Vale Street Biofilter Planting
  • Is this a weed?
  • What’s on! ….Events for September, October, November and December
  • Seasonal Calendar…Blue Mountains Conservation Society

Download the Spring edition

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!

Bushcares Threatened Species Event

On Threatened Species Day (Saturday 7th September) we had a series of talks about fauna in the Blue Mountains. The day started with Anne Carey from the Blue Mountains Fauna Project presenting the findings of the year long study.

From left to right: Michael Hensen (BMCC Environmental Scientist), Anne Carey (Blue Mountains Fauna Project), Erin Hall (Bushcare Project Officer) and Tanya Mein (Community Engagement Coordinator)

Throughout the day there was a stall with weed and threatened species information. The eco cinema was playing a series of short films about threatened species and where they occur.

The community came along to enjoy the numerous stalls – Council’s Bushcare and Community Education, NPWS, Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Wildplant Rescue.

Next was the amazing Akos Lumitzer from amatterofflight.com.au who talked passionately about the powerful owl and how he came to spend so much time capturing the images.

Akos Lumitzer presenting his Powerful Owl talk to an enthralled audience.

Last but not least was Dr Beth Mott from Birdlife Australia. She presented the Powerful Owl project that is a citizen science project.

Award Winning Powerful Owl’s Nest – Waste to Art

Another great reason to come along to the Threatened Species Day at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, in Katoomba (Saturday 7th, September).

View the awarding winning Powerful Owl’s nest made during a series of Waste To Art community workshops held across the Blue Mountains. The sculpture is made from waste fabrics, to highlight that Australians are buying 27kg of new clothes annually and over 20kg ends up in Blue Mountains residents’ garbage bins each year.

At the Regional Waste to Art Community Exhibition held in Oberon recently the Blue Mountains entry was awarded first prize in the Community 3D category. A fantastic result as the exhibition featured about 120 artworks, from 14 NetWaste councils, that were all made from everyday rubbish.

Waste to Art aims to encourage the whole community to rethink their own waste and promote a low waste lifestyle. By taking action to Reduce, Reuse and Repair over buying new, it saves resources like water and energy that go into manufacturing new items.

Our collective efforts do make a difference and also help threatened species like the Powerful-Owl which is found across the Blue Mountains in old growth forests.

Blue Mountains Fauna Project

Come along and hear about the Blue Mountains Fauna Project at the Threatened Species Day (7th September) at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.

Anne is one of the speakers and will reveal the fantastic fauna results collected during the Blue Mountains fauna surveys and other data sent in by the public over the past year.

It’s all about the data! Over a year ago the Blue Mountains Fauna Project kicked off collecting fauna records from the community and other databases including ebird and the NSW Wildlife Atlas. The process of collecting records is ongoing so keep your records coming!  For a first “look” at the data we needed to pick a month and draw a line in the sand which we did in July. If you are interested in what the data shows and what we are doing with all the records there is a presentation at the Cultural Centre in Katoomba as part of Threatened Species Day activities at 10am on the 7th of September. Come along and have a look at the “first cut” report. We are happy to answer your questions.  Anne Carey, Applied Ecology

THREATENED SPECIES DAY – FREE EVENT
BLUE MOUNTAINS CULTURAL CENTRE
10AM – 2PM SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 7, 2019

The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre will host Threatened Species Day, a free community environment market and series of talks on Saturday 7 September. This will be an opportunity to learn from local environment and bush care groups about conservation efforts in the region. The day will also showcase this year’s Waste to Art Sculpture, a Powerful-Owl’s Nest, created by the community from discarded fabrics and plastics.

TALK PROGRAM 10am – 2pm
10am Anne Carey – Blue Mountains Fauna Project
11am Akos Lumnitzer – The Powerful Owl
12pm Break
1pm Dr Beth Mott – Powerful Owl Program, Birdlife Australia

There are limited numbers and we have reserved a number of seats.   To book please RSVP to the talk sessions by calling Blue Mountains Cultural Centre reception on 4780 5410 or emailing ccreception@bmcc.nsw.gov.au.   and mention “held Bushcare” spot.

Fauna Watch

Winter is not the time for hunkering down for Antechinus!

By Anne Carey

Winter is the season for the once-in-a-lifetime mating ritual of the Antechinus. Males die after a focussed and frenzied two week period of searching for mates and mating. Deceased males are sometimes found along walking trails so keep an eye out and try to identify any species you encounter. There are currently 11 recognised species of Antechinus of which three are encountered in the Blue Mountains. These are the Brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii), Dusky Antechinus Antechinus mimetes mimetes [swainsonii], and Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes). These species can be readily identified with a bit of experience and a good field guide so take some photos if you encounter any and ask Council for help with ID if required.

 Often called “Marsupial mice” these little hunters are actually in the same family as the Spotted-tailed Quoll, and like their larger cousin, are fierce predators hunting, usually at night but sometimes during the day, for insects, spiders, centipedes and sometimes small reptiles and frogs. Antechinus shelter in hollows, burrows and fallen logs during the day and good refugia is essential for their persistence in our reserves.

Waterways Festival – Wentworth Falls Lake

Sunday, 25 August @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (PUBLIC EVENT)

Blue Mountains City Council’s Healthy Waterways team invite the public to join them to learn about protecting the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, threatened Endangered Ecological Communities, species and local waterways in the Jamison Creek catchments.

There will be walks and talks with information stalls run by BMCC, Bushcare, schools, catchment group, BMCC Youth Council and various arts and crafts activities.

There will be a Rotary BBQ with vegetarian option and coffee cart on site. Located at Wentworth Falls Lake, western end of park, off Sinclair Crescent and ten minutes walk from Wentworth Falls shops and train station. No bookings needed.

Book now! https://waterwaysfestival2019.eventbrite.com.au