By: Michael Fox

Alan presenting crop

Alan Moore introduced contre jour

At our 2016 Photography Workshop Alan Moore introduced us to a new way of seeing the bush around us … contre jour: French for “against daylight”, a technique in which the view is directly toward a source of light. A form of photography artistry Alan related to French impressionists like Claude Monet.

Alan challenged participants to experiment with their camera’s manual settings like aperture and exposure before sending them out on assignment to see nature in a new light.

See ferns in a new light:

IMG_9634

Fiona

Katrina

Katrina

Playing with camera flair:

Kate 1

Kate

Dana - 15 May 2016

Dana

Lyn C

Lyn

Jude

Jude

Gregg

Gregg

Greg

Greg

Margaret

Margaret

Nat

Nat

Marie

Marie

Misting spider webs to catch the light:

Tricia

Tricia

Fiona

Fiona

X-ray view of leaves:

Tony

Tony

Maree

Maree

Forget contra jour and just meet the locals:

Toni

Toni

The 2017 Photography Calendar will be available in November ready for posting to family or friends overseas.

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By Susan Jones

Worldwide, Lions Clubs are planting 25 trees annually in support their local environment.

MacGregor Lions have chosen as their 2011 project, refurbishment of native gardens on the Roly Chapman Reserve pathway.  These five gardens are in a poor state, with weeds strangling earlier plantings.  BCC Habitat Brisbane and Mt Gravatt Environment Group are delighted to support MacGregor Lions in this venture which will visually improve the Reserve for walkers and provide valuable habitat for wildlife.

Kookaburras welcome the Lions

Saturday 1st October was Lions’ first working bee and the welcoming committee was ready!

Five Lions’ members rolled their sleeves up and tackled a jungle of Cocos/Queens Palm Syagrus romanzoffiana and Elephant Grass Penisteu purpureum.

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A large tarp was laid out onto which weeds were piled for mulching and recycling.

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A good morning’s effort!

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If you would like to help MacGregor Lions with this project, their next working bee will be on Saturday 5th November 8 am – 10 am, at the Hoad Street end of the Roly Chapman pathway.  (UBD 201:A9).

For more information visit Lions MacGregor website at www.brisbane.macgregor.qld.lions.org.au

Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland, joined local member Phil Reeves and community members on Tuesday, for morning tea at Echidna Magic.

(l-r) Sheamus O'Connor, Premier Anna Bligh, Hon Phil Reeves

Sheamus O’Connor, Sue Jones and I (Michael Fox) represented Mt Gravatt Environment Group. Sheamus took the opportunity to explain his outlook on the environment to Anna. An articulate spokesperson for future generations, Sheamus’ credibility is firmly grounded in his personal contribution to restoration of Mt Gravatt Reserve. Not satisfied with joining the Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare team, Sheamus organised a group of fellow students from Mt Gravatt SHS to replant the degraded area at the entry to the Summit Track.

(l-r) Sue Jones, Hon Phil Reeves, Premier Anna Bligh, Michael Fox

I took the opportunity to brief the Premier about the wildlife in the Reserve and the baseline fauna and flora research being undertaken with a grant from the Department of Environment. Anna was particularly pleased to hear that Koalas are breeding in the Reserve and that the BAAM researchers had already identified three species of micro-bats and Topknot Pigeons previously unknown to be present on the mountain.

(l-r) Premier Anna Bligh, Michael Fox, Hon Phil Reeves, Sue Jones

We also presented the Premier with a reminder of the unique nature of this Reserve. The glow-in-the-dark mushrooms Mycena lampadis were only identified on the mountain earlier this year. Queensland is a large and amazing state so it is a real pleasure to surprise our Premier with the unique flora and fauna that can be found only ten kilometres from the CBD.


(l-r) Marshal, Michael, Dennis and Paul

Mt Gravatt Bush Blokes has grown naturally out of the regular Fox Gully Tuesday Bushcare.

Meet the Bush Blokes, an eclectic collection of blokes, who enjoy the peace of working in the bush and, of course, sharing tall stories. Conversation today ranged across fishing, the best way to cook the fish, a bit of politics, that our Scrub Turkeys are nothing to the scratching of Cassowarys that invade Dennis’ backyard in north Queensland and writing science fiction.

Dennis, who is visiting his “little” brother Marshall, comes from Mourilyan Harbour near Innisfail. We are now sourcing volunteers from over 1,600 km away: not a bad reach!

Team is proud of our afternoon's work

As well as supporting our Fox Gully Bushcare initiative, Marshal is restoring the bush on his property which forms part of the Firefly Gully wildlife corridor. Michael, our science fiction writer, and Paul, who shares his tall tales of working as a jockey in Japan, are community volunteers who just enjoy the time in the bush working with mates on a worthwhile project.

Thirteen garbage bags of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia does not seem that much until you realise that every bag had to be carried up out of the gully, after standing on logs on the slope to clear the weed then scratch out the hundreds of water nodules and wiry roots that will re-shoot if left behind.

(l-r) Steve and Michael

Our Bush Blokes are proud of our achievements and particularly proud of the Brisbane’s Spotless Suburbs Partnership Award.

Steve, another Bush Bloke, and I posed with our award last week. Steve is an ex-farmer, so learning the low impact natural regeneration bushcare approach was a bit of an adjustment. However I am constantly impressed by his amazing capacity to just quietly get the job done. Steve has cleared the major weed infestation at the corner of the maintenance track near the water reservoir and spread the thick layer of mulch to control weed regrowth and stop the water erosion.

Mt Gravatt Bush Blokes is becoming a powerful team who are experts on weed removal and importantly native plants as I identify natives like Barbed Wire Vine Smilax australis: well named so we cut off close to the ground to make it safe and easy to work – this tough native re-shoots rapidly once the restoration team has finished the area.

I was honoured to present our Mt Gravatt Environment Group vision,  to sixty members of our Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed last Monday.

The Men’s Shed is an interesting collection of retired tradesmen, professionals and farmers who share an interest in practical projects for the community, particularly focused on woodworking, wood-turning, carpentry and welding.

Over a barbecue lunch I talked with a food scientist who still does voluntary work for CSIRO, an accountant/actuary, farmer/landscaper, electrician and engineer. I was also able to demonstrate some of the specialist bushcare tools like the TreePopper.

My Men’s Shed Presentation covered our vision of a Mountain centred community actively engaged in consolidating healthy habitat areas and reducing habitat isolation with wildlife links. I also covered the threats to the Reserve:

  • Garden waste dumping: garden plants become weeds in bushland
  • Downhill mountain biking: erosion, damage to vegetation, danger to walkers
  • Feral/domestic animals: smell of dog waste not picked up keeps Koalas away

And our habitat restoration at four bushcare sites:

  • Gertrude Petty Place – over 2,000 hours volunteer contribution
  • Rover Street – Koalas and Gliders returning to site
  • Roly Chapman Reserve – looking for a new group leader
  • Fox Gully Bushcare – 2,095 native grasses, vines and trees planted

Discussion of how the Men’s Shed could be actively involved covered the potential for nest boxes and, longer term, construction of an environmental/historical display at the Rover Street bushcare site.

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My past visits to Sydney have mostly been for business or restricted to being a tourist in the city centre, so staying in Hornsby: surrounded by Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park (east) and Berowra Valley Regional Park (west), showed me a very different Sydney.

One thing that particularly struck me was the large number of “old growth” trees right in the suburban areas. There must be something very different about Sydney climate and/or building techniques that allows huge trees of one and fifty years or more to co-exist with multi-story unit blocks or the multi-level Westfield parking station just across the road.

A couple of blocks further on I found another pleasant surprise, the Edgeworth David Garden: an interesting balance of bush restoration and community access to a significant part of local history.

This small site combines aspects of suburban park with its well maintained walkways and bridges, an accessible and interesting experience of local history: the original garden of Edgeworth David and his wife, Caroline, provides a quiet place to sit and read, or have your eye drawn by the path to their house, Coringah.

Public park and private space working well together: the house is a private residence, and those formal components sit comfortably with an active bushcare site restoring the pretty Hornsby Creek.

Gross pollution control devices in-place to catch waste washed into stormwater drains mean that the water is clear and coir  matting controls bank erosion while the new plantings establish. It is also interesting to note the bushcare team also  use black plastic covered compost piles to recycle weeds on-site.

This tiny bushcare site, just over half a hectare, is particularly valuable because Hornsby Creek appears out of drains then only flows exposed for two hundred metres before disappearing back into the drains. A small precious piece of bush being cared for by the local community.

For information link to Hornsby Shire Bushcare or email bushcare@hornsby.nsw.gov.au

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Our Vision is the first step in revising the Mt Gravatt Environment Group’s Strategic Plan.

Mt Gravatt is the heart of a special community. Indigenous and European histories both have strong links with the mountain.  Although it has been farmed, harvested for timber and increasingly isolated by suburban development over one hundred years, the mountain still supports the most amazing diversity of plant and animal life.  This ecological and cultural landmark exists just ten kilometres from the CBD of the fastest growing city in Australia.

Restoring and strengthening the ecosystems of the mountain and its corridors, will have positive community and environmental outcomes, and is increasingly urgent as the population in the area grows.  Mt Gravatt Environment Group is already working to actively engage the whole community in consolidating healthy habitat areas and reducing habitat isolation with wildlife links.

Why a whole of community focus?

Wildlife does not recognise human created property boundaries or roads. Effective habitat consolidation and linking requires co-operation of a diverse range of property owners – private, corporate, local/state/federal government, community groups, schools and university. Therefore, a key part of our strategy is to identify investments in the environment that also deliver excellent community and business outcomes.

Mt Gravatt Envrionment Group

Please comment. How can we engage the community in this vision?

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