Pollinator Link


Join Griffith Mates for the Ochna Blitz Challenge!

Saturday 24 September 8am to 11am

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2016 National Tree Day planting

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Location: Junction of Geebung and Federation Tracks (behind green water reservoir)

We will do a walk through the National Tree Day planting and some light weeding then move onto the Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata.

The planting site is looking great with trees and vines planted in 2015 now flowering and producing seed. A Sickle Leaved Wattle Acacia falcata is already hosting caterpillars of the Imperial Hairstreak Jalmenus evagoras butterfly.

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The caterpillar is protected by “Kropotkin” ants – Small Meat Ant Iridomyrmex sp. The ants provide protection in return for sugary fluids secreted by caterpillar. Imperial Hairstreaks will only return to breed where both caterpillar food plants and the ants are present.
Kropotkin is a reference to Russian biologist Peter Kropotkin who proposed a concept of evolution based on “mutual aid” between species helping species from ants to higher mammals survive.

The combination of rain and clearing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis means the Ochna is thriving and it is covered in flowers and seeds. However, the rain also means must easier to pull our either by hand or Treepopper.

 

By: Michael Fox

Briefing time - 6 Mar 2016

Clean Up team sign-in

7am Sunday morning!

Site coordinator Heather Woods explained that an early start would avoid the heat and leave volunteers free for the rest of the day. After the team briefing, Heather deployed different groups:

The Kokoda Youth Foundation supports young Australians, inspiring them to do extraordinary things. We challenge their deeply held beliefs, allowing them to explore their limits and abilities, and provide them with opportunities for personal growth.It was an inspiration to meet and work with these young people.

Krista with Kakoda  - 6 Mar 2016

Cr Adams with Kokoda Lantana Weed Busters

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Cr Krista Adams joined the Lantana Weed Busters learning more about our Bushcare work as well as taking the opportunity to meet some of Australia’s future leaders.

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Graham Quirk - 6 Mar 2016 low res

Lord Mayor Quirk with Clean Up team members

I had to opportunity to talk with Lord Mayor Graham Quirk as we cleaned up around the 2 Millionth Tree Planting at the Summit. I complemented the Lord Mayor on the Council support for our Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Now that Council officers lock the gate at night and clear up around the picnic area we have much less rubbish. Even the broken glass we were picking up seemed to be from older thin glass stubbies or older style beer bottles.

We also discussed the Pollinator Link project. I was proud to explain to the Lord Mayor of Brisbane that we now have our first first Certified Pollinator Link Garden in Sandgate and regular articles appear in Living in the Shires published by Harcouts Graceville. Now we just need to get our Council Parks meeting the Pollinator Link criteria with water for wildlife and nest-boxes.

Results - 6 Mar 2016

Clean Up success

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Clean Up success. Thirty volunteers scoured the Reserve and even with half working as Lantana Weed Busters there was still a huge pile of rubbish collected. Even a microwave dumped at Federation Lookout.

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Girl power - 6 Mar 2016 low res

Clean Up team sign-in

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However, I think the prize need to go to the Girl Power team who collected so much rubbish beside the road they had to return for extra bags and still struggled back to the Summit with two more full bags of rubbish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noisy Miner - feeding chicks2 - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Noisy Miner feeding chicks in nest

By: Michael Fox

Some species, like the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala, are quite happy to share our urban environment. These Miners like to make their nest in the protective wire basket on the lights. Very clever … protection from bigger birds and warmth at night for the eggs.

Now they just need food for the chicks. Nectar feeders, Noisy Miners are honeyeaters, still need protein from insects for their growing chicks.

So it was interesting to have Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, join us for Roly Chapman Reserve Bushcase last Friday.

Monarch Danaus plexippus - caterpillar - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Monarch butterfly caterpillar feeding on Red-headed Cotton Bush

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We found a number of fascinating and photogenic insects in the Reserve.

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Sometimes environmental weeds are the place to look for some of our most attractive insects. The milkweed species, Red-headed Cotton Bush Asclepias curassavica is a favourite of the Monarch or Wanderer butterfly Danaus plexippus.

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Small Green-banded Blue - Psychonotis caelius - caterpillar2 - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Small Green-banded Blue caterpillar on Red Ash

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One way to find micro-locals is to look for chewed leaves. An expert like Helen Schwencke can even tell what insect she is looking for just from the pattern of chewing on a leaf.

Caterpillars of the Small Green-banded Blue Psychonotis caelius feed on leaves of the Red Ash/Soapy Ash Alphitonia excelsa. The caterpillar’s lime green colour blends perfectly with the underside of the leaves.

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Native Hibiscus Hibiscus heterophyllus

The name Soapy Ash comes from the effects of saponins on the leaves which create a foaming soapy action. A useful bush soap.

The attractive Native Hibiscus Hibiscus heterophyllus growing in the Pollinator Link display gardens are fast growing and good plants for attracting food for insect eating birds.

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Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle - Nisotra bicolorata - Roly C - 16 Oct 2015

Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle on Native Hibiscus

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We found a number of Small Brown-black Leaf Beetle Nisotra bicolorata feeding on Native Hibiscus.

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Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis - wings - 16 Oct 2015

Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis

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Seeing a Ladybird Coelophora inaequalis spreading its wings is something special. The pattern of dots is a key to identification of Ladybird species.

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Milkweed Aphid - Aphis nerii - 16 Oct 2015 crop

Infestation of Milkweed Aphid Aphis nerii

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Ladybirds are particularly valuable for control of infestations of Aphids.

Aphid infestations can cause massive damage as they suck juice from plants. Ladybirds are particularly valuable for garden pest control as both adult and larvae Ladybirds are predators.

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Sawfly - 16 Oct 2015

Sawfly – species not identified

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We found this beautiful Sawfly adult feeding on Sandpaper Fig Ficus opposita. We have not identified the particular species of Sawfly. I have sent the photo to the Queensland Museum Ask a question team for identification.

Sawfly larvae are curious looking caterpillars that feed on native plants.

The Sandpaper Fig is often called the Supermarket Tree. It attracts birds, can be used for shade, food, medicine, tools, fire and string to make nets and traps.

Pollinator Link

Team briefing - 14 Oct 2014 - Larissa Roberts “Ok team, this is the plan.”

By: Laurie Deacon & Larissa Roberts

A team of 27 Griffith Mates students and community members! “Ok team, this is the plan. We have thirty plants to go in, logs and mulch to stabilise the banks reducing erosion.”

Sheamus shows how to plant on a slope Sheamus shows how it is done.

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First Sheamus shows how to plant the Lomandras, Wombat Berry and Scrambling Lilly generously donated by SOWN (Save Our Waterways Now).

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Then the team gets down to action.

PLG 14 Oct 2014Our photographer Larissa also interviewed participants as part of her university project about activism.

2014-10-12 16.22.58Phoebe: What made you come along today? “I’m part of the Griffith Honours College and we were looking at some way we could get involved with the local community and one of the girls from Griffith said Griffith University had a partnership with the bushcare people and we could come along and help out so…

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Geocaching family - Southern Star - Sept 2014

Southern Star – 24 September 2014

By: Michael Fox

Marshal Kloske and I met the Wood family at Mt Gravatt Summit the morning they were there to meet the Southern Star photographer and we were there to photograph butterfly mating displays as part of our research for the new interpretative track signs.

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Noisy Miner chicks calling for food

Marshal showed the family the large new sign with maps and information about local history and environment. Like most people the family were surprised to learn about the local “glow-in-the-dark” mushrooms and they were very interesting our research and restoration work.

Nest watching

Nest watching team in action

Heather, Eloise and Lincoln then joined Liz, Marshal and I on Wednesday afternoon for our regular Fox Gully Bushcare. Knowing we would be joined by young children, I planned a special afternoon of activities including checking the nest-boxes and making a portable plant nursery to propagate native seedlings for re-vegetation work. When the family arrived we found out that Marshal and I are now officially called “the Bush Men” … definitely an honour.

First stop was to check on the Noisy Miner family nesting in the Lillypilly hedge. A mobile scaffold makes an ideal place to look down into the nest. Checking the nest boxes we found two Squirrel Gliders at home in one nest box and three possibly four Gliders in another box.

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Kids and sand – always a success

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Watering in with Seasol

The next job is potting up Creeping Beard or Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus and Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variable. Rainforest Grass is ideal for creating Living Mulch that keeps the weeds down, controls erosion, feeds butterflies and creates a natural fire break with its low fuel load. Love Flower spreads rapidly in the garden and is considered of nuisance by some gardeners. However, this pretty little native herb is host plant for the caterpillars of a number of butterflies including Australian Leafwing Doleschallia bisaltide and Varied Eggfly Hypolimnas bolina. Also Bearded Dragons Pogona barbata like to eat the flowers.

First Eloise and Lincoln helped build a self-watering seedling nursery … sand and water … a recipe forfun.

The idea for this neat seedling nursery came from a Gardening Australia segment on building a simple hothouse. It was a productive and fun afternoon. I will provide an update on the success of the seedling nursery which may become a valuable project for Pollinator Link gardeners.

By: Michael Fox

As part of the continuing development of Mt Gravatt Environment Group, Laurie Deacon has taken on the role of President. I will continue to work closely with Laurie, continuing as Editor of Mt Gravatt Environment Group blog and Fox Gully Bushcare co-coordinator.

IMG_20140412_132834Over the past decade the team has, expanded restoration activities in seven sites surrounding the Mountain, strengthened relationships with community, university and school stakeholders, contributed to research of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, increased use of the Reserve by community members and developed community education. Membership is strong and members have received local, state and international recognition of their work in Nature Conservation.

Laurie brings a wealth of experience with volunteer groups and environmental work ranging from membership of the management board of a national environmental NGO, protecting endangered Cassowaries in the Daintree, presenting at the UN Congress for Environmental Education: June 2013 in Marrakesh and working with turtles and the local Majestic Park Scout Group.

Laurie is currently taking our Pollinator Link initiative Queensland wide, gaining political support and showing the way with the Pollinator Link garden in Mt Gravatt State High School.

So how does the world create such an amazing person?

 

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Laurie was born at Tewantin and grew up on lake Doonela catching mud crabs and feeding pelicans. A family heritage based on  Maroochy River cane farming Grandparents  and Palmwoods orchards Grandparents. Laurie, went to  Nambour State schools doing Agriculture and Animal husbandry with the vision of a future as a vet.

Then changed direction with a Degree in Occupational Therapy specialising in the human species rather than other animal species. Laurie has provided Rehabilitation across a range of physical, paediatric and mental health patient/client groups; across Acute Hospital, Community Health & Tertiary Health Service Models.  Including a time working as Director of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Nambour General Hospital. Laurie’s roles have included designing and developing these services including research, development of standards, planning and implementing interventions and services.

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This broad OT therapy experience allowed allowed Laurie to appreciate the necessity and responsibilities of  providing a healthy natural environment in which humans can learn, grow and thrive. Her interest has always been in getting people to reach their potential for a healthy well balanced life …. doing things of real value! “It’s the people that make the difference but it’s the environment that makes the people.”   Scientific evidence supports the encouragement of  everyone to be active in their neighbourhood doing things they care about … and everyone has a special skill  that is needed to achieve a healthy local community.

As Laurie says: “I am involved in many ‘whole of landscape conservation programs’  as well as individual species programs. Estuaries full of fish and birds and wildlife corridors of any habitat through cities, farms, and bush …I love them, I see them. Biodiversity in all its glory is better than going to the Paris Louvre.

I started my interest  in community service with Save the Franklin Dam campaign at uni in 1982 and then later FIDO as a ‘formal’  socially active community person.

I have seen that folk need to have a one off visceral experience with nature or a ‘over period of time relationship with nature’ before they will care and value it. So getting your feet wet in creeks and looking deep into the eyes of a koala up close and personal is vital for our people to really come alive.”

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November 2011

By: Michael Fox

2011 Our first Community Gully Day, two years ago, saw the removal of six cubic metres of rubbish, poisonous Yellow Oleander Thevetia peruviana and Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia, stabilised the banks with logs leaving the ground bare and storm water pipes a visual blight.

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November 2012

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2012 Between Gully Days restoration work continues with regular Tuesday Bushcare events. Mirandha, Griffith University Bushcare Club, feeds Chinese Elm branches into out chipper.

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August 2013

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Coin-spot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi are thriving, bush foods like Native Mulberry Pipturus argenteus will growing and the storm water pipes are disappearing under branches creating ideal habitat for lizards and improving visual amenity.

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Living mulch - 11 Aug 2013

Living Mulch reducing erosion and creating mico-habitat

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2013 8am The team getting to work, Scott, Barry, Carol, Don and Marshal in background, with Matt and myself delivering hollow logs for habitat.

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November 2012

Note the amazing mico-habitat created by the Living Mulch of native grasses – Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima, and self-sown herbs like Native Hawksbeard Youngia japonica.

Even without the tree cover this area was several degrees cooler than the area just a little down the gully.

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Marshal Carol Scott removing weeds - 11 Aug 2013

Clearing weed regrowth

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A huge change from November 2012 when the gully was still bare.

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Madeira Vine tuba - 5 Mar 13

Madeira Vine tuba removed from gully

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8:30am Scott, Carol and Marshal have been busy clearing Mother-in-law’s Tongue Sansevieria trifasciata and Madeira Vine regrowth.

Matt Mike hollow log (low) - 11 Aug 2013

Matt and I install habitat log

Matt Russ Shawn placing logs 2 - 11 Aug 2013

Matt, Russ and Shawn positioning logs

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Eradicating Madeira Vine in the gully is a long term project. The most effective removal approach for this fast growing invasive weed is simply digging out and immediately bagging the tubers. Madeira produced hundreds of tubers along the vine. Those tubers are viable for a long time and sprout like potatoes when they land in a suitable environment. The size of these tubers mean that using poison is often not an effective particularly in a vulnerable water course.

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9am Matt and I install one of the hollow logs donated by Scott at Tree Bracers (eco-friendly) Tree Removal Specialists.  Scott contacted me asking if we could use the logs as he did not want to simply chip this valuable habitat resource. Roger Medland and I collected the logs in Rogers ute.

Marshal splitting logs - 16 Jul 2013

Marshal splitting logs for stablising banks

Hollow logs are valuable habitat for wildlife and installing these logs will provide Possums and Gliders safe escape from Foxes and cats.

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9:30am Matt, Russ and Shawn are positioning logs on the bank further down the gully. Logs reduce erosion, allow mulch and leaves to collect retaining water and keeping weeds down. Restoration work is also much faster and safer as the logs create a working platform for removing weeds and planting grasses, vines and trees.

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The logs were recycled from a tree removed after the January storms. Dale from Climb n Grind returned to safely remove the tree leaving the trunk cut to useful lengths. Marshal and I then used a chainsaw and steel wedges to split the logs into manageable quarters ready for the Gully Day.

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Len Kann with Stingless Bee hive

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10:30am Time for a break. Genevieve has organised a sausage sizzle, coffee, tea, cake and fruit … mmmm.

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Teddy Bear and Blue Banded native bees

While we eat, native bee expert and Mt Gravatt Environment Group member, Len Kann shares his passion for this fascinating wildlife we can bring to our backyards to pollinate our Queensland Nut trees and vegetables.

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Stingless bee hive (low) - 11 Aug 2013

Inside the hive – Stingless Bees

Len explained that there are over 2,000 native bee species in Australia with many providing farmers with unique pollination services not provided by European Honey bees.

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Rebecca planting

Len has put together a bee presentation box using one of his own empty hive boxes, specimen boxes with Blue Banded and Teddy Bear bees that we have collected in the Reserve, and excellent macro photos taken by member Alan Moore.

Len has generously provided one of his Stingless Bee hives on secondment in the gully and for his talk he bought along a hive he could open to let us see inside. For an ex-beekeeper like me it was fascinating to see the very different structure for storing honey and pollen, and, yes, it is nice not to collect the dozen of stings I received when robbing my European bee hives.

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11am Rebecca is back to work planting the bank behind her property.

I am proud to live in a community that can come together on a long term project like this. Currently the owners of twenty properties are committed to restoration of their backyards as a wildlife corridor down Fox Gully and importantly work together to eradicate Madeira Vine.

We had twenty people participate in the 2013 Community Gully Day including people like Marshal and Carol who live beside Firefly Gully, Nancy who has propagated most of the Lomandras in the gully and Len who shared his passion for native bees.

Three hundred grasses, herbs, vines, shrubs and trees have been planted this year. Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN) generously gifted $400 worth of plants with other plants and resources purchased with over $200 in tax deductible donations from neighbours.

By: Mike Fox

Neighbours pitch in to clear up

A 20 metre Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis creates a lot of green waste to be chipped and cleared from the gully. Neighbours Rebecca, Didier, Don and Clair pitched in to clear up the huge pile of branches.

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Miranda, Griffith Uni Environment Law student

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A big clean-up needs a big chipper. Miranda loved using our Greenfield’s 8.5hp Piecemaker that virtually sucks the branches into the blades for chipping. Thanks to Southside Sport & Recreation Club who provided the grant for purchasing the chipper.

The Piecemaker is proving its value saving over $2,000 on the cost of removing the Chinese Elm, a benefit for our whole community, in particular restoration of Mt Gravatt Environmental Reserve.

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Miranda, Annette and Marshal hard at work

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The clean up is well on the way with Marshal and Annette (property owner) in background preparing branches for chipping and Miranda operating the machine.
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Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

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Even the local wildlife is joining in the clean up. This Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae is hunting for worms and spiders among the leaf litter. The Kookaburras are really enjoying the restoration work as more worms, insects and spiders are thriving among the planting, mulching and logs.

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Northern Jumping Spider Mopsus mormon

It is inspiring to find the variety of wildlife returning to the gully. This beautiful Northern (Green) Jumping Spider Mopsus mormonwas hunting for flies, moths or grasshoppers for lunch. Creating habitat for wildlife means we have natural pest control and over time we will hopefully tempt some of the beautiful insectivorous birds out the forest. Birds like the Striated Pardalots Pardalotus striatus and the beautiful Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsiss not only add sound and beauty to our backyards, they also hunt insects like mosquitos on our behalf.

Striped Marsh Frog eggs

Another amazing find was these eggs of the Striped Marshfrog Limnodyynastes peroni in one of semi-permanent rock pools created by the return of the permanent spring.

Striped Marsh Frogs are a native ground dwelling frog with a distinctive “toc …. toc …. toc” call. To listen scroll to Calling on the Frogs of Australia web page and click “Hear it now.”

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Red Cedar

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With the Chinese Elm down and the chipping finished we can now plant nine advanced Red Cedars donated by Dave and Liz, Roly Chapman Bushcare. Red Cedars (common name for a number of Toona species) are an attractive fast growing native that will help restore the gully habitat and privacy for the neighbours.

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Arrowleaf Violet

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The planting done on the Community Gully Day in August is now starting to create a presence in the gully.

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Arrowleaf Violet in seed

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Particularly pleasing was finding that the Arrowleaf Violet Viola betonicifolia has set seed. This pretty violet is the only caterpillar food plant for the endangered Laced Fritillary butterfly Argyreus hyperbius inconstans. Now that this Violet has set seed it will spread quickly in the gully.

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Splendid Ochre Trapezites simmomus

The Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variabile, caterpillar food for Australian Leafwing butterfly Doleschallia bisaltide, Waxflower Vine Hoya australis and Coinspot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi are all growing. The Creek Mat-rush Lomandra hystrix are thriving even with the dry weather. These Lomandara are caterpillar food for the Splendid Ochre Trapezites simmomus and Brown Ochre Trapezites iacchus butterflies as well as providing valuable erosion control in the gully.

Clean up complete in time for storms

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Finally finished clearing the branches, raking the loose leaves and putting logs in place ready for the storms expected over the weekend.

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Hollow log habitat for lizards and frogs

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Final touches … hollow logs will create safe habitat for lizards and frogs.

Click to view presentation

By: Michael Fox

The Pollinator Link concept was well received at the BCC Habitat Brisbane Citywide Meeting this week. This was an important test of feasibility as the audience included experienced BCC Habitat Offices with university qualifications in environmental science, Robert “Bob the Beeman” Luttrel and bushcare members who know the

on-ground reality of restoring our urban bushland habitats.

Backyards, parks and even unit block balconies represent habitat opportunities for our native flora and fauna. Examples include Garden for Wildlife Alice Springs, The Wildlife Trusts in UK and the National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife in USA.

The Pollinator Link concept takes this a step further to focus on linking patches of bushland habitat in our urban environment.

Pollinator Link – Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve to Bulimba Creek

I developed the concept when I was struggling with the issue of creating a wildlife corridor linking Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve with Bulimba Creek via Mt Gravatt Showgrounds. The on ground reality is that any effective link through the Showgrounds would hit a wall of houses and backyards. Being able to fly, our pollinators’ – birds, butterflies and bees plus moths, insects, flying foxes, micr0-bats, capacity to cross man-made barriers like roads and fences means they have potential to make an important contribution to ecological biodiversity. My inspiration for the Pollinator Link model came from the Pollinator Pathway in Seattle and the High Line in New York.

Patch-matrix-corridor mosaic – Wellers Hill

As I researched the concept and looked for examples of potential Pollinator Link locations I realised that in some areas like Wellers Hill where there are a number of isolated patches of bushland we could go beyond linking and actually consolidate habitat within urban spaces with a little a 10% of properties engaged. Pollinator Links have potential to create urban pollinator “patch-matrix-corridor mosaic”* habitat by interconnecting patches of bushland with wildlife friendly backyards. (* Habitat Fragmentation and Landscape Change Lindenmayer & Fischer (2006))

The Pollinator Link concept passed the feasibility test now we move to implementation stage:

How would you like to be involved?

  • Identify sites to be linked.
  • Join the 2013 Pollinator Link Week

Landscape Plan

By Michael Fox

Sue Jones and I joined Mt Gravatt Girl Guides for World Environment Day last Tuesday night, to plant our first Pollinator Link garden. (Pollinator Link is a trademark of Mt Gravatt Environment Group)

Planting Team in action

Guide Leader, Lizi Dyrsdale, approached us at the 2 Millionth Tree planting in February with the idea of partnering in an environmental project. The project has become a real community effort with a grant from the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund supported by Cr

Watering Team

Krista Adams, raised gardens beds designed and constructed by Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed, Western Landscape Supplies providing a discount on garden soil and mature Grass Trees Xanthorrhoea johnsonii contributed by Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) (relocated from road development site with DERM approval).

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Sue (left) and the team planting butterfly vines

On Tuesday night a team of Girl Guides, parents and friends planted, watered, dug out weeds and removed rubbish.

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Sue Jones worked with one team planting butterfly vines – Running Postman Kennedia rubicunda – caterpillar food plant for Long-tailed Pea-blue, and Waxflower Vine Hoya australis – caterpillar food for Common Crow butterflies.

The Team … dirty gloves and all



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We finished the night with a proud and happy team.

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Oval Woodland Cockroach

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The local wildlife also appreciated our efforts. Our Australian bushland cockroaches are not the home invaders we commonly see. Species like this Oval  Woodland Cockroach live in leaf litter and do a valuable composting job.

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Ringtail Possum

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And a final inspection by this handsome Ringtail Possum.

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Pollinator Link plants were sourced from B4C Native Plant Nursery at Carindale.

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