By: Michael Fox

Eleven Clairvaux MacKillop College students and two teachers joined me last Monday to clear weeds in preparation for our National Tree Day planting.

The first of three innovative events organised by Sandra Stadhams: Campus Minister with the theme Revive The Earth. It is an inspiring initiative founded on the words of Pope Francis:

We can change, and we can make a new start. The whole human family needs to work together to care for our planet earth so that we sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. So, let’s put love for the world and love for our neighbours, into action, by living together in harmony, and caring for nature.

The Revive The Earth program utilises the Shared Path Framework “… to go beyond mere surface-experience in our endeavours to develop students who are compassionately engaged human beings.”

The interrelated movements of the Framework are:

Movement 1: PREPARE
Attention of the Heart/Holding Space
How can we ground experiences in the here and now?

Movement 2: PARTNER
Receptive Presence/Connecting
How do we form authentic reciprocal relationships with the communities we are engaging with?

Movement 3: PERCEIVE
Critical Reflection/Seeing Beyond
How do we train the eye to see beyond the experience? How do we use reflective tools that mirror the pathway of incoming information through the brain?

Movement 4: PRACTICE
Reciprocal Intention/Discernment
How can we ensure that students aren’t developing pre-mature solutions to complex community challenges?

Movement 5: PARTICIPATE
Integration of Purpose/Transformation
How can this be placed to animate, orient and innovate a new way of being human and a new way of relationship which is radically open-hearted and transformational.

Leaning to use a hand saw.

On site the Team dived in with a will to subdue a forest of weeds: Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus var. maximus*, Cobblers Peg Bidens pilosa*, Corky Passion Vine Passiflora suberosa*.

The team also helped us trial a new tool to remove Guinea Grass by separating the plant crown from roots with minimal root disturbance. The diverse living organisms critical for soil health can be damaged by if the soil is disturbed, so we are working with the BCC Habitat Brisbane team to develop best practice techniques for habitat restoration.

It is also a pleasure sharing basic skills like using a hand saw safely.

I am looking forward to welcoming the Clairvaux Bushcare team back for my own learning. Observing how the students apply the Shared Path Framework will strengthen my skills with community engagement.

By: Michael Fox

2020 has been a difficult year with most of our Bushcare events cancelled. So I decided to check in with our partner “nature” to see what has been happening while we have been distracted by a COVID pandemic.

National Tree Day planting 2016 …………………….2021

2016 National Tree Day planting expanded the previous year’s planting of small forest bird habitat. A combination of Habitat Tripods and insect attracting plants to feed Fairy Wrens.

National Tree Day 2017 site ……………………………. 2021

Our 2017 National Tree Day site was a closed car park blocked off and overgrown with weeds. Cleared of weeds, mulched and replanted the site is starting to regenerate healthy habitat for Koalas and small forest birds. .

National Tree Day 2018 site prep …………………….. 2021

The 2018 National Tree Day site needed special preparation because the large amount of asbestos (fibro) dumped there. The BCC Habitat Brisbane team organised professional asbestos removal contractors to clear the site. We then covered the site in a thick layer of cardboard fridge boxes from Harvey Norman. The cardboard was then covered in mulch and planted so any residual asbestos will be locked in by plant roots.

National Tree Day 2019 planting ……………………… 2021

2019 National Tree Day was restoration of a very degraded area where BCC contractors had cleared a large area of Lantana Lantana camara. Plants were chosen to maintain the view while restoring native habitat. The special site has an amazing view out to the Bay Islands hence the track name: Eastern Outlook Track. A great spot to sit and enjoy the winter morning sun.

Australia China Youth Assoc. 2018 …………………… 2021

The Australian Chinese Youth Association are a diverse group of Griffith University students from China, Japan and Australia, all passionate about working with China. The students were studying a wide range of subjects including medical, business and environment. I have never worked with a group so good at finding wildlife: everything from spiders to bugs fascinated them. The group happily worked on a challenging steep site removing invasive Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia and doing such a good job the fern has not returned while natural regeneration has already bought back native grasses including Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus – butterfly caterpillar food and Poison Peach Trema tomentosa – feeds fruiting eating birds.

Clairvaux Bushcarers 2018

I missed working with our Clairvaux Mackillop College students over the past twelve months. The Clairvaux Bushcarers worked hard clearing weeds to allow natural regeneration to restore the habitat. The students with all their energy are a real pleasure to work alongside. It is always a pleasure to introduce our local wildlife to this fascinated audience. Everything interests them: Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus, St Andrew’s Cross Spider Argiope Keyserlingi or learning that Ladybeetles have a larval stage Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis: adult beetle and larvae (right). I am already working with the College to set event dates for 2021.

National Tree Day 2020 had to be cancelled however the BCC Natural Areas team stepped up and organised contractors to plant a large area at the Summit.

2021 is already looking good with Clean Up Australia on Sunday March 7th.

Find a full range of volunteer opportunities.

IMG_5214

Clairvaux Bushcare Team in action

By: Michael Fox

I was very happy to welcome our Clairvaux Bushcare Team back to declare war on Guinea Grass regrowth. The team first removed the seed heads before removing and piling the grass in swales to compost and reduce water runoff.

Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus is a fast growing environmental that crowds out local native species and creates a significant bushfire risk. Originally from Africa Guinea Grass has been bought to Australia as a pasture grass and has local herbivore species to control its growth so dead grass accumulates as a loose fast burning fuel for bushfire.

Fruit Piercing Moth - Eudocima fullonia - caterpillar 1- 20 May 2019

Fruit Piercing Moth caterpillar

The team found a number of “bugs” including a new moth species to add to our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. The Fruit Piercing Moth Eudocima fullonia is curious creature. The caterpillars feed on local Tape Vine Stephania japonica while the adult moths feed by piercing a wide variety of fruit species, often causing the fruit to rot.

Purplewinged Mantid - Tenodera australasiae - 20 May 2019

Purplewinged Mantid

 

The students were not fazed by anything including finding this Purplewinged Mantid Tenodera australasiae climbing over his shirt.

 

 

 

Golden Orb-Weaver - Nephila plumipes - 20 May 2019

Golden Orb Weaver spider

 

 

Or this beautiful Golden Orb Weaver Nephila plumipes spider or the tiger hiding in the long grass.

 

 

 

 

Black Woodland Cockroach - Platyzosteria melanaria - 20 May 2019

Black Woodland Cockroach

 

 

Or even this Black Woodland Cockroach Platyzosteria melanaria 

Australian native cockroaches do not invade our houses or spread disease preferring to stay in the bush feeding in trees on pollen, bark and leaf material. Some species in the genus Panesthia have adapted to eating decomposing wood, and have similar micro-organisms in their gut as those found in termites (Order Isoptera).

IMG_5224

What an amazing team of Bushcarers!

A huge area of Guinea Grass regrowth de-seeded and piled for composting on-site. Eradication will take another couple of years as we break the cycle of seeds.

The support of extraordinary and generous partners like the Clairvaux Bushcare Team allow us to restore large areas of our Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve habitat.

Sunrise - 29 July 2018

Morning sun over site – A. Moore

By: Michael Fox

A beautiful warm sunny morning greets volunteers arriving to be part of restoration of our special mountain bushland.

 

 

 

Brisbane First Chinese Scouts - 29 July 2018 lr

Sienna welcomes Brisbane First Chinese Scouts

 

 

 

 

Our 2018 National Tree Day is particularly special as we welcome many individuals and groups who have been part of past events as well as some new groups like Brisbane First Chinese Scouts.

 

Clarivaux Bushcarers - 11 June 2018 - lr

Clairvaux Bushcarers in action

 

 

Preparing for National Tree Day events takes our Fox Gully Bushcare team about twelve months of removing rubbish, weeding and laying out planting site. The BCC Habitat Brisbane supported us with delivery and spreading of mulch, water tank and plants for the event.

Clairvaux MacKillop College students have been working with us this year to prepare the National Tree Day site.

Planting

It is very satisfying when 97 community  volunteers come together to build on our work by planting 700 grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and vines to create more habitat for small birds.

I love weeding

The weeding team cleared a huge area of Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus reducing bushfire risk and allowing natural regeneration of native grasses and vines.

Community groups participating:

ahmadiyya team with Steve Huang - 29 July 2018

Ahmadiyya Team with Cr Steve Huang

The Ahmadiyya team, great supporters of our National Tree Day returning for the fourth year in 2018, shared their positive message of “Love for All, Hatred for None” with Cr Steve Huang.

Australian Ahmadi Muslims supported National Tree Day in many sites around Australia sharing their contribution in a special video including an interview with me.

Grilled Team - 29 July 2018

Grill’d Corporate Team

A new group this year was the Grill’d team from their Garden City restaurant.

 

Thank you to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Clairvaux Bushcarers - 14 May 2018

Clairvaux Bushcarers

Our new partnership with Clairvaux MacKillop College is off to a great start. Clairvaux Bushcarers joined us last Monday to help prepare the 2018 National Tree Day site.

The team worked so hard removing weeds and moving branches to make the site safe, our Tuesday Bushcare group was able to finalise the preparation ready for spreading mulch.

 

Proud Weed Busters - 14 May 2018

Proud Weed Busters

It was a real pleasure to work with the students, a bit like herding cats, but still a real pleasure.

Over fifty years ago Frederick Herzberg identified recognition and a sense of achievement as two key factors in helping individuals build their motivation. Watching the students’ level of engagement and energy grow as they worked was an excellent example of Hertzberg’s research in action.

Variable Ladybird Beetles - Coelophora inaequalis - 14 May 2018

Variable Ladybird Beetle

Removing huge clumps of Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus really does provide a great sense of achievement and by removing and bagging the seed heads dramatically reduces weed regrowth.

The Clairvaux Bushcarers also had a wonderful time finding “bugs” for me to photograph. Like this Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis.

26-spotted Potato Ladybird - Epilachna vigintisexpunctata - 14 May 2018

26-spotted Potato Ladybird

 

The students also found  26-spotted Potato Ladybird Epilachna vigintisexpunctata which is a new addition to our Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

 

 

Variable Ladybird Beetles - Coelophora inaequalis - larve - 14 May 2018

Variable Ladybird Beetle larvae

 

 

I was also able to introduce the students to the strange looking Ladybird Beetle larvae.

 

Variable Ladybird Beetle Coelophora inaequalis larvae.

Common Spotted Ladybird - Harmonia conformis - larva - 14 May 2018

Common Spotted Ladybird Beetle

 

 

 

Common Spotted Ladybird Beetle Harmonia conformis larvae.

 

Common Assassin Bug - Pristhesancus plagipennis - 5th Instar - 14 May 2018

Common Assassin Bug 5th Instar

 

 

 

 

 

Common Assassin Bug Pristhesancus plagipennis 5th Instar. As the name suggests Assassin Bugs are pest controllers for your garden feeding on spiders and other insects.

Common Methana - Methana marginalis - large nymph - native cocoroach - 14 May 2018

Common Methana

 

 

 

 

Common Methana Methana marginalis large nymph. A native cockroach, the Common Methana are great recyclers turning leaves into soil and food for lizards and birds.

Bark Cockroach - Laxta sp. - 14 May 2018

Bark Cockroach

 

 

 

 

 

Bark Cockroach Laxta sp. are another curious native cockroach working hard to recycle leaf litter.

 

 

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly - Simosyrphus grandicornis - 14 May 2018

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly

 

 

 

 

Yellow-shouldered Stout Hover Fly Simosyrphus grandicornis 

 

 

Clairvaux Bushwalkers - Weed Busting - 10 May 2018

Creeping Lantana

 

 

 

 

The Clairvaux Bushwalkers helped the previous week, removing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses* (the asterisk * is used to identify non-native species).

 

Small Dusky Blue - Candalides erinus - topside - 10 May 2018

Small Dusky Blue butterfly feeding

 

 

 

 

 

Small Dusky Blue Candalides erinus butterfly feeding on nectar from the flower of a Purple Fleabane Cyanthillium cinereum. Look for the proboscis: a hollow drinking straw the butterfly unrolls. Natives like the Purple Fleabane are returning as Creeping Lantana is removed.

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday we hosted the Clairvaux Scientists who checked water quality in Mimosa Creek.

 

 

 

Checking acidy - 18 May 2018

Acid Test

 

 

The water sample was then tested with litmus paper which established a healthy neutral water.

 

 

Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly - Orthetrum villosovittatum - 18 May 2018

Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly

 

 

We also spotted a new dragonfly species to add to the species list. Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly Orthetrum villosovittatum

 

Thank you to all the Clairvaux students and staff.

I am looking forward to growing a long partnership restoring Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and learning environmental skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed Telstra Mobile Tower

Cr Krista Adams has received information that Telstra is proposing to build a mobile phone tower at the back corner of the Klumpp Road Park & Ride, right beside Mimosa Creek. Krista Adams letter

I have updated the Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan – ver 2.2 with proposed tower location and access. Based on current information this proposal will not impact on development the Firefly Gully wildlife corridor however the safety issues are less clear.

Telstra almost certainly complies with the safety standards set by Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) however we have an opportunity to comment on the proposed tower installation in our community.

Please come to the Telstra Information Session:

Mt Gravatt Hawks Soccer Club  – Wednesday 18 April – 5pm to 7:30pm

The science on the long-term health effects of using mobiles and/or spending time near mobile phone towers is very unclear. As shown by these extracts from the ARPNSA fact sheets on electromagnetic energy (EME).

My personal experience is that these types of radiation are powerful and almost certainly dangerous. The issue is the level of exposure which is a combination of transmission power and distance from the source.

My first experience was in the early 70s when as a trainee PMG technician I visited the Bald Hills radio transmission tower. When you see a bare fluorescent bulb burst into light just by being held near the transmitter, then go into the field and see a two-inch spark drawn from the heavily insulated guy wires which is then tuned so you can listen to ABC radio.

400 metre coverage area

My latest experience is with my iPhone. I routinely carried my phone in my pocket with the touch screen against my leg. Over time I found that my skin in that area became hot even when the phone was removed. I have since changed how I carry my phone and the problem has disappeared.

Telstra mobile towers are low power however distance is still an important safety factor. The question is: What is a safe distance? EM Watch suggests a 400 metres as clear safe distance.

What do we want for our community? Come along on Wednesday and have your say.

Mimosa Creek is beautiful crystal clear stream rising in Toohey Forest before it flows under the Pacific Motorway reappearing beside Klumpp Road, meandering through Roly Chapman Reserve where, if you are quiet, you will often see turtles.

Mimosa Creek Precinct is the reach between the Pacific Motorway and Clairvaux MacKillop College, also including three potential wildlife corridors connecting with Mt Gravatt Reserve.

In developing the Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan, Mt Gravatt Environment Group aims to provide a community focused approach to environmental restoration of this important habitat with a variety of owners including BCC, Main Roads Dept, Translink, Hibiscus Sport Centre (local & state government), community organisations, schools and private owners. The term Landscape Plan comes from the excellent Birds in Backyards – Best Practice Guidelines, and is used to encompass this complex ownership mix.

Download the plan here: Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan – ver 1.6 (web) It does not take long to read: it is mostly Google Earth pictures. Appendix PDF files: Roly Chapman Bushcare Plan – ver 1.5 Fox Gully Bushcare Plan 2011 – ver 3.6 Mt Gravatt Strategic Plan – ver1.0

The environment is the key focus of this Plan, however, building and maintaining long-term financial and community commitment requires identification of business opportunities and community benefits derived from habitat restoration.

We have already identified a number of direct community benefits from implementation of the Landscape Plan. Identifying business opportunities that directly contribute to restoration of Mimosa Creek Precinct, is not as obvious. However, to quote Peter Drucker:

“Every single social and global issue of our day is a business opportunity in disguise.”

BizEd july/august 2008

Read the Fox Gully blog post Business Goes Bush in Mt Gravatt.

What community and business opportunities can you identify?