By: Michael Fox

Smiles all round - National Tree Day - 30 July 2017

I was so busy on the day I really didn’t appreciate the happy energy of the our National Tree Day until I started looking at the photos. Click on the image to enlarge.

Our National Tree Day event is growing every year with more community members, many groups returning and new groups attending.

National Tree Day 2017 results:

  • 150 participants
  • 500 natives planted
  • 500 square metres of Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses removed
  • Dozens of biscuits, apples and mandarins eaten for morning tea.
  • More smiles than you could count.

Community groups participating:

Planting - National Tree Day 2017 - 30 July 2017

The Planting Team in action. Extra plants were ordered however the Planting Team still ran out … next year we will order still more plants, more gloves and more plant shelters. The quality of the planting was also excellent, thank you. Click on the image to enlarge.

Lantana Busters - National Tree Day - 30 July 2017

Lantana Busters in action. We will definitely welcome this team back … look at the huge pile of weeds almost taller than our young Lantana Buster (bottom right). Click on the image to enlarge.
IMG_6388

The final step in site restoration was replacement of the dead timber that was removed to make the site safe for the event. Dead timber on the ground is an important habitat component which allows lizards to move safely across the site as well as providing shelter for insects and food for woody pore fungi.

See more high quality event photos on Facebook.

Thank you to:

  • Fox Gully Bushcare team members: Marshal and Liz
  • Our BCC Habitat Brisbane team Anna: who organised the plants, mulch and hole digging, and Emma: who patiently provided safe road crossing on the day.
  • Alan Moore Photographer

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Citizen Scientists checking nest boxes - 27 Aug 2016 low res

Citizen Scientists using iPads to check nest box

By: Michael Fox

On Saturday morning our Griffith Mates partners joined us at the National Tree Day planting site for some Citizen Science: doing an initial check on the nest boxes installed in July, to see if any boxes were occupied and meeting some of the local wildlife.

Carl checking Boobook Owl box - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Carl checking BooBook Owl box

.

.

.

I led the team on an off track adventure to reach the nest boxes. While Carl operated the GoPro camera on the extendable pole the ground crew monitored on iPads using WiFi connection.

Carl became a real professional keeping the tall wobbly pole under control while he lifted the lid on each box and inserted the camera.

Lantana Busters - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Lantana Busters at work

Not surprisingly none of the boxes had been occupied in the short time since installation. However, it is valuable to get a information on how long it takes before boxes are adopted.

.

.

.

Then is was back through the bush to the Lantana Busting site.

Scolopendrid centipede - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Scolopendrid centipede – tail to left

1,600 square metres of Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis were cleared and raked into swales on National Tree Day. Now we are doing the detail work of clearing the remaining roots to eradicate this invasive garden escapee.

There is an amazing about of wildlife among the leaf litter as well as in the trees. We disturbed a Scolopendrid centipede which I think Baoyi wanted to keep as a pet. Be careful handling centipedes as they may bite if disturbed or handled. The bite may cause severe pain and associated swelling.

Griffith Mates team - 27 Aug 2016 lowres

Home made cakes a reward for hard work. (l-r) Sophie, Jocelyn, Harry, Baoyi, Carl, Amanda and Dana in front

Centipedes are predatory and will kill and consume a variety of other invertebrates such as spiders, molluscs, many insects, slaters and other centipedes. Prey is usually immobilised by venom injected through the fangs and then torn into pieces by the mandibles and the soft parts are eaten.

All that hard work deserves a reward. Thanks to Mt Gravatt Environment Group member Dana for the home made cakes.

By: Michael Fox
Photos: Alan Moore

Sunday morning 31 July and one hundred and thirteen volunteers have arrived for 2016 National Tree Day. So I took one team to tackle the Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses while Sue Jones organised the other team to start the planting. The teams swapped jobs after morning tea.

Lantana Busters hard at work
Lantana Busters hard at work clearing 1,600 square metres of Creeping Lantana

Creeping Lantana is a major weed threat in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Lantana competes for native plants for scarce water reserves and nutrients, physically smothers other plant and the chemicals in Lantana have a significant negative effects on native plant species.

The Lantana Busting teams cleared an amazing 1,600 square metres with one group raking the weed into long swales to manage erosion and retain water while others followed up, hand pulling the remaining roots. I explained that once the roots are removed the Lantana can be left piled up without regrowing. Slow, detailed but amazingly effective work. I showed the teams the natural regeneration of native grasses: Pademelon Grass Oplismenus imbecillis and Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Tufted Scleria Scleria mackaviensis (native sedge) and Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea (native vine). Nature works 24/7 to build on our work and the forest will regenerate naturally if we clear the weeds.

Planting - 31 July 2016

Over with the planting team it was all action, lots of smiles and a big job in hand. This year the team is building on the work from 2015 National Tree Day with in-fill planting of 564 creepers, grasses, shrubs and trees to provide safe habitat and food for small forest birds, including nectar, pollen, insects and seeds. 2016 National Tree Day Planting List

Like last year, this was real cross-cultural event with the Griffith Mates Bushcare Team, Ahmadiyya Muslim Association and Alpha Phi Omega teams returning. This year we welcomed a new team representing carbon neutral energy supply company Viridian Energy Australia. Viridian team members traveled from the Sunshine and Gold Coasts to join us making a practical contribution carbon sequestration to protect our children’s future.

Kids having fun - 31 July 2016

And the kids were there digging in to build their own future. Kids love digging in dirt and look at the skill development! Let’s invite these future builders back for 2017 National Tree Day.

Morning tea - 31 July 2016

All that hard work deserves some tea and bikkies and time to learn about our native bees from Len Kann.

 

Ross Vasta - National Tree Day - Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve

I show Ross Vasta and his son an Acacia Falcata planted in 2015 and already flowering.

Of course events like this are not possible without the strong support we receive from our local, state and federal politicians. We were pleased to welcome Ross Vasta MP, Federal Member for Bonner and Jo Kelly MP, State Member for Greenslopes.

Ian Walker MP, State Member for Mansfield and Cr Krista Adams, Councillor for Holland Park both wanted to attend but had other prior commitments.

Event supported by:

BCC Habitat Brisbane
Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C)
Planet Ark National Tree Day
Peaks to Points Festival

supporters

An amazing event – see Stats below, and importantly it looks like 2017 National Tree Day will be even bigger with all the teams and local community members telling me they want to come back.

Stats:

115 participants including two BCC Habitat Brisbane team members

  • Three groups from 2015 returned this year, one new group and lots of locals
  • All fours groups want to return next year when I hope to hold the event at the Summit

273.5 volunteer hours

564 plants

  • 30 creepers
  • 230 grasses
  • 114 shrubs
  • 190 trees

1,600 square metres of Creeping Lantana cleared.

 

 

By: Michael Fox

Join us for 2016 Clean Up Australia.

Each year an enthusiastic team comes together to clean up Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, collecting a strange collection of rubbish like car tires, as well as, the usual fast food > fast rubbish.

The 2011 Clean Up results were excellent:

  • 31 volunteers
  • 35 bags of rubbish (white)
  • 20 bags of recyclables (yellow)
  • Most unusual item found:
    • a full suitcase of clothing!

Planning the 2016 Clean Up Australia, with coordinator Heather Woods, has highlighted the results of the annual clean up. With the old car tires, suitcases, a piano and TVs removed, and the gates locked at night, the Reserve is looking good.

Be a Lantana Weed Buster.

Our annual Clean Up Australia has been so successful we have decided to offer an option to be a Lantana Weed Buster for a Morning. Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses is one of our major weed threats in the Reserve. Lantana competes for native plants for scarce water reserves and the chemicals in Lantana have a significant negative effects on native plant species:

“… lantana excludes native species through smothering and allelopathic effects –  toxicity to other plants.” Lantana—A Weed of National Significance

Join us for a morning in the bush. Register Now for Clean Up or Weed-busting

 

Multinational volunteer team

By: Susan Jones

We were fortunate to have a multinational group of eleven Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) volunteers at Gertrude Petty Place today to clear a large garden bed of Cobblers Pegs Bidens pilosa and lay mulch.

d

d

CVA Mulch Team

d

One team removed the weeds, whilst the other barrowed in mulch sourced from trees blown down in the March 20 storm.

We were unable to finish the job as we had to stop work when a nest of Green-Head Ants Rhytidoponera metallica swarmed out of a nest in the mulch, threatening volunteers with painful stings.

Well earned break at Summit

d

d

d

We stopped for lunch at the summit, which proved a real treat for everyone.   Our international friends were amazed at the expansive views and the locals declared it better than that from Mt Coot-tha.

Removing Creeping Lantana

d

 

 

 

Afterwards, we returned to clear Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis at the entrance to the Summit Walk, where we found a hive of Sugarbag native bees Trigona carbonaria.

Our day concluded with a tour of the Mt Gravatt High School National Tree Day Planting site, and a look at an old termite’s nest in an Ironbark gum,  which has provided a breeding site over many years for our local Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae.

A heartfelt thanks to these delightful volunteers who worked so hard to strengthen the environmental values of our Reserve.

By: Susan Jones

After the fun of last week’s National Tree Day planting of 140 natives to attract birds, bees, butterflies and koalas, it was time to start watering.   Council do not supply water for smaller plantings and we are not permitted to use mains water.   Consequently we have to depend on water from our own garden tanks, which we bottle in recycled 3 litre milk containers and carry to site.  Sheamus shared the load and added a dash of worm juice to his bottles, which will give the plants a good start.  We will continue to water weekly for a month, unless it starts to rain again.

Mirandha and her Griffith Uni volunteer team of Lin, Lyn, Moeko, Thomas and Rashed joined our regular group members and quickly dispersed to water and put mulch around the base of our plantings.   Next, it was back to the tedious task of removing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus.  Rashed tried his hand at using our Tree Popper, a very handy device that grips and easily pulls deep-rooted weeds from the ground. His target was Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata, an extremely deep rooted weed that is now showing the first signs of flowering.    With the arrival of Spring, the plants will fruit and birds will disperse the seeds all around the mountain and into our gardens.   If we do not get all the plants out before fruiting time, we remove fruiting branches and return later to remove the rest of the plant.

A lot of work was achieved at this regular Wednesday afternoon working bee.   It’s so beautiful in the bush on a sunny winter’s afternoon – why not come out and join us, and meet delightful young people from all around the globe.

 

Griffith Uni student volunteer

By: Susan Jones

“Shall we celebrate National Tree Day again this year, Sheamus?” I asked last year’s volunteer coordinator. “Of course!” was the prompt reply.  As it turned out, we celebrated twice!

On Wednesday  25 July, students and a science teacher from Mt Gravatt High School, together with a team of Griffith University students rallied to plant 100 native tubestock, specially chosen to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, bees – and of course, our resident koalas!  What a great team!  In just over an hour all the plants were in the ground and it was time to protect them with plastic sleeves, supported by cane stakes.

It was great to welcome Griffith Uni students back to our site for this celebration, as they had spent many hours  tediously clearing the area of Creeping lantana Lantana montevidensis  last university semester.

Mt Gravatt SHS team planting

Brush-turkey looking for lunch

On Saturday 28 July, we had ready another 40 plants to be put in by volunteers who couldn’t join us on Wednesday.   When I arrived on site, I found a female Brush-turkey Alectura lathami checking out all the holes prepared for planting.  Her curiosity and anticipation of a free meal made me laugh.

We had …. volunteers of all ages turn up: a special thanks to the three grandparents who more than pulled their weight.

Our 2012 National Tree Day planting was a great success: “ thank you” to everyone involved.

Your generous contribution will enhance amenity  for community users and provide healthy habitat for wildlife in our 66 ha Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Granparents restore Conservation Reserve for future generations

Granparents restore Mt Grvatt Conservation Reserve for future generations

 

Glorious morning to be in the bush