The Blue Mountains Bushcare Network proudly to presented their third Bushcare Network Conference on Saturday July 29. This year theme is Citizen Science so a Bioblitz seemed appropriate! The day focused on our beautiful and unique lower mountains vegetation communities. We were fortunate to be able to spend the day with experts to learn how to be “ears and eyes” on the ground. The data we collected will go into data bases for a wider audience.
Concurrent sessions occupied the morning. They included field-based citizen science activities at various locations around Springwood and two presentations at the Hub:
- Hollows as Homes – Adrian Davis University of Sydney
- Bushcare website update/setup – Hugh Todd
- Aquatic Wildlife – Jenny Hill & Fitzgeralds Creek Streamwatch Group Rosenthal Lane, Sun Valley
- Birds of the Deanei – Carol Probets & Graham Turner, Deanei Forest Reserve, Springwood
- Monitoring the Fauna of Fitzgeralds Creek Catchment – Peter & Judy Smith, Valley Heights Creek, Sun Valley
- Plants of Fairy Dell Reserve, Springwood Susan Jalaluddin & Helen Yoxall
We all reconvened at the Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub in Springwood for lunch, informative and inspiring presentations from Margaret Baker and Jenny Hill, and hands on workshops including what to do with the data we collect.
The Hub presentations included:
Birds of Endangered Forests of the Lower Blue Mountains – Margaret Baker
Margaret’s talk introduced the endangered eucalypt forests (Threatened Ecological Communities) that are found on clay soils of the Lower Blue Mountains from Springwood to Hawkesbury Heights and to Lapstone. She described each of the communities, identified the main trees and talked about some of the rare plants, but the focus was the diversity of birds to be found in each of the forest types, especially birds that are listed under NSW legislation as Threatened.
“Citizen Science in Action – what to do with your data” – Jenny Hill
Citizen science has emerged as a distinct field over the last 20 years and is now enjoying a boom. What are some successes? What are the factors critical to its success and what role does Bushcare, Landcare and Swampcare play in this success? How could citizen science grow to be part of the bigger story about restoration and protection in the Blue Mountains? This is brief overview of citizen science is an introduction to group presentations.
In her community volunteer role Jenny Hill is Coordinator with the Leura Falls Creek catchment working group, Bushcarer and Streamwatcher. Jenny has been involved in environmental education and learning for over 35 years and is currently Environmental Educator for Blue Mountains City Council. In this role she conducts citizen science and connects with nature programs across the mountains with schools and community groups. Jenny’s on-ground experience enriched her presentation and provided the bigger picture of citizen science in many different contexts.
Introduction to Biodiversity Atlases on the Internet – Margaret Baker
This talk provided an introduction to the biodiversity atlases that are available on the Internet. It focused on the Atlas of Living Australia – where to find it, how to use it to determine biodiversity in a selected area and how to record data as an individual or as a Citizen Science group. It showed how the kind of data collected in the field sessions of today’s conference can be readily entered into the global exchange of biodiversity information. The world-wide and unrestricted access to such information can however be problematic and so some issues related to atlas and database use was also be discussed.
By Lachlan Garland
Great things are happening for the environment in the Blue Mountains. Three catchment working groups currently exist and I have just seen a very inspiring presentation on the work in Popes Glen in Blackheath.
The latest excitement is the creation of the Jamison Creek Catchment Working Group.
This unique catchment, unique because it exists on both sides of the Highway, is very important, but like most catchments, is under stress. Weeds, pollution, sedimentation and high water flow issues abound.
However, by utilising procedures, knowledge and actions created by other working groups, Jamison Creek can one day be returned to it’s former glory.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact me on 0415 317 078 or email email@example.com
Jamison Creek Catchment Care Day
On October 10th, 2015 the volunteers who regularly work in the Jamison Creek Catchment (Jamison St Landcare Group; Charles Darwin Walk Bushcare Group and the Valley of the Waters Bushcare Groups) held their first Catchment Care Day.
The aims of coming together like this were to:
- increase awareness of the threatened species in the catchment, particularly Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii as well as Pultenaea glabra;
- support the BMCC Bush Regeneration Team’s targeted Broom control program;
- meet each other and learn about each other’s work.
We covered the length of the creek targeting Broom and also a considerable area closer to Wentworth Falls working on Montbretia, Privet, Erica and Japanese honeysuckle.
Eric Mahony (BMCC), Michael Hensen (BMCC) and Arthur Henry (NPWS) provided great information about the work in the catchment and the threatened species while we enjoyed a picnic lunch made possible by the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage Saving Our Species Program. A big thank you to everyone involved!