Bushcare Christmas Party November 2016
The 2016 Bushcare Christmas Party was the 27th of its kind and was held at Roselea Community Hall on Saturday 26, November. More than 100 Bushcare volunteers and staff attended and made the most of this celebrative occasion. This was the first time we had a sing-along. The lovely Tanya Mein arranged for some of our Bushcare groups to sing a rendition of the 12 “Christmas Weeds” of Hornsby.
Thank you to Ron and Herta Watts from the Bedford Road Bushcare Group for taking photographs.
Talks and Presentations
Natural Resources Acting Manager, Peter Coad (pictured right) introduced himself and delivered a review of the Branch’s achievements over the past year. His informative presentation was a precious reminder of the importance of every hour contributed by volunteers and the implications of such commitment at the local reserve level as well as at a broader scale. The new Bushland Programs Coordinator, Gareth Debney, outlined the benefits of the new structure, whereby Bushcare and bushland management are now within the one team.
In line with last year’s theme, once again it was a quiet achiever who took out this year’s coveted ‘Nursery Volunteer of the Year’ award! Ingrid has been volunteering at the Community Nursery for over 3½ years. During this time she has done countless hours of hard work, often undertaking the less glorious jobs within the nursery. And so, it is Ingrid’s efforts that keep the nursery looking a million dollars. Congratulations Ingrid Liermann!
Fifteen year Service
Bushcare groups who have been active for fifteen years and still going: Cherrybrook Technology High School, Denison Street and Quarry Road Bushcare groups. All awards were presented by Councillor Robert Browne. Congratulations to all of you!
This year, the theme for the ‘Golden Trowel’ award was a farewell to our Bushcare friends. It was only fitting that we celebrated the efforts of all our volunteers who have moved into the City of Parramatta’s Bushcare program. The groups awarded the Golden Trowel were: Bambara, Bambara/Darmanin, Bambara/Three Blokes, Bambara/Magnolia, Little Ray Park, Lynbrae Ave, Ray Park, Abuklea Road, Burnt Bridge, Donald Ave/Coates, Donald Ave/Glanfield, Gloucester Road, Pembroke Street and Stanley Road. We wish you all the best for your future with the City of Parramatta.
Christmas Hat Competition
Once again we had a fabulous selection of hats for the Christmas Hat Competition. Our volunteers collected, created, reused, repurposed, recycled and remodelled. The popular themes for the year seemed to be based on owls, Christmas or materials from nature. We had a fabulous selection of finalists and look forward to seeing how clever the Bushcare volunteers are next year.
From left to right:
Margaret Cruikshank (Castle Howard): This hat represents the common themes of Christmas with a Powerful Owl asleep with Santa hanging from its claws, one of the more visceral entries but entertaining nonetheless.
Judi Choat (Landra Steps): Judi’s hat was a crafty collage of mixed material to create a Bushland-themed hat. The crowning glory, a bird nest, was an opportunistic edition to the millinery masterpiece, found only a few days before the party. Great editing eye!
John Blundell (Landra Steps): John created the great Aussie Bushcare hat, where the baubles help to keep the flies away.
Anita Howard (Carrs Bush): A beautiful creation of Christmas star decorations from around the world, a truly inspiring celebration of diversity.
Winner - Pam Chambers (Roselea): The winning hat was a beautiful knitted nativity scene with three wise native animals. There were owls and an echidna and a little manger with a native baby Jesus.
Marilyn Guyot (Bambara): Marilyn was also clever and constructed a hat of considerable height. I’m not sure if the bird represented a partridge in a pear tree or maybe it represented a Rose Robin.
Erik Andersen (Wareemba/Tyas): We love a man who can work with tinsel. The height was something to be admired and of course the star on top was memorable.
The high standards of the photographs we received this year were truly outstanding. The burden and responsibility of choosing a winner were far too great for us to bear, so we decided to go democratic and let the general public decide.
Congratulations go to:
- First place: Noel Rosten, Female Satin Bower Bird
- Second place: Herta Watts, House Hunting – Corymbia ficilifolia
- Third place: Helen Smith, Where’s Breakfast? Fledglings in the sun
Orchid photo category:
- First place: Petra Holland, Copper Beard Orchid (Caloghilus campestris)
- Second place: Daniel Burkhardt, Dotted Sun-orchid (Thelymitra ixiodes) and Petra Holland, Bonnet Orchid (Cryptostylis erecta)
We had three excellent submissions for this year’s Poetry and Prose. Thank you for another great year, Rae Litting and David Swain from Roselea (Beecroft), and Michelle Mabbot from Florence Cotton (Hornsby) for your contributions. Read the poems online.
Special Guest Presentation - Australian Wildlife Conservancy
If you're at all like me, your involvement in Bush Regeneration would have grown out of a love for being surrounded by a natural environment that is clean, native, healthy and thriving. In short, we seek to actively restore, create or preserve an environment that we have chosen and can enjoy in the future instead of letting our natural bushland be overtaken by weeds, pests and other non-native invasive forces.
This means we have a lot in common with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) who have made their mission the protection of Australia's endangered native wildlife in managed sanctuaries around Australia. So I was delighted that at this year's Bushcare Christmas party and sumptuous lunch to be educated by a very interesting and informative presentation from Dr Rod Kavanagh, a Senior Ecologist with the AWC (pictured right). As he explained, on the AWC's 26 properties across the country they protect more than 500 bird species and over 200 mammal species. Those sanctuaries cover a phenomenal 3.8 million hectares (9.5 million acres), making the AWC the largest non-government conservation estate owner in Australia.
Rod showed us some beautiful slides of their glorious sanctuaries, many of which are world heritage listed and cover an extraordinary diversity of habitats from hot desert to the wet rainforest and eucalypt woodlands. Aerial photos showed us the beauty of these places while Rod explained how they are managed. The species they protect include the Bilby, Numbat, Gouldian Finch and Bridled Nailtail Wallaby. A lot of the AWC work consists of making the protected areas cat and fox-free by erecting state-of-the-art fences around the perimeter and removing predators and feral herbivore (ex-farm stock left to roam wild). This gives protected species a safe environment in which to recover and thrive. The AWC also run a large fire-management program (the largest such non-government program in Australia).
Image: Greater Bilby, supplied by Australian Wildlife Conservancy
As scientist and Ecologist, Rod (also an owl expert) helps the AWC to implement ground-breaking approaches to conservaion which combine world-class science with sound business strategies as well as building innovative indigenous partnerships. I very much enjoyed the talk and slides and applaud the courageous work the AWC have undertaken. Just like the excellent Bushcare program, the AWC relies on public support. If you feel you would like to know more or wish to support the AWC, volunteer with them or donate by visiting their web page at australianwildlife.org.
You could also look for similar initiatives in your own neighbourhood, for example I've had the great pleasure of volunteering at the privately owned Waterfall Springs Wildlife Sanctuary in Kulnura just north of Sydney, which is also a non-profit organisation dedicated to saving endangered species such as the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby. See waterfallsprings.org
Thanks to Rod for the presentation and for the hard-working Bushcare team and the generous and talented volunteers for making the lunch such a yummy and entertaining occasion.
Joe Vandermeer (Berowra Community Centre Bushcare Group)