By: Michael Fox

Photos: Andreas Listle

A beautiful Saturday morning and I met up with an inspiring group students for our regular Griffith Mates OWeek guided walk in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. I vary the walk each time to highlight plants in flower and other special sights and sounds. A highlight this time was meeting Ma Poss (Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula) and her joey. (Baby possums are called ‘joey’.)

 

Checking nest box - collage - 28 Oct 2017

Checking nest box with GoPro and excited students watching on the iPad

 

 

 

Meeting at Mt Gravatt Campus the Griffith Mates team introduced students from Germany, South America, China and Japan all keen to learn more about the Australian bush.

The students were very interested in learning about our native ground orchids: Slender Hyacinth Orchid Dipodium variegatum.

Mycoheterotrophy-NewI explained that, lacking any leaves, these orchids are critically dependent on their relationship with fungi in the ground.  The fungi mycorrhiza, fine root like fibres, feed the underground orchid with organic carbon and minerals collected from roots of adjacent trees.

 

These native orchids cannot survive if removed from the bush as they are totally dependent on their relationship with the fungi.

 

 

 

Along Acacia Way we looked at the unusual Bottle Brush Grass Trees Xanthorrhoea macronema in flower. Looking closely we found Stingless Native Bees (Tetragonula sp.) collecting pollen and nectar.

 

Pardalote sign

Pardalote interpretative sign

 

 

Bird song is an important part of any walk in the Reserve.


Blueberry Lily berries
The QR code on the Pardalote interpretative sign linked to a video of a Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus singing. I introduced the group to the iconic and cheerful song of the Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae

 

Blueberry Lily - 28 Oct 2017 lowres

Blueberry Lily fruit

 

Along Acacia Way we found Settlers Flax Gymnostachys anceps: used by early settlers to sew bags and indigenous people combined it with bark to make fishing line, Blueberry Lily Dianella longifolia and Native Raspberry Rubus moluccanus.

 

Collage 2 - 28 Oct 2017

Leading guided walks with Griffith Mates is always a pleasure … lots of smiles and laughter along the Eastern Outlook Track.

 

Nat Tree Day 2016 planting - 28 Oct 2017 lowres

2016 National Tree Day planting

 

 

A quick stop to inspect results from the 2016 National Tree Day planting: thickening nicely and some trees over 3 metres.

 

 

Curculigo ensifolia - flower - 31 Oct 2017 lowres

Curculigo ensifolia flower

 

Last stop was the 2017 National Tree Day site.

I showed the natural regeneration in the area where the invasive weed Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses was cleared as part of National Tree Day. Nature is very resilient if we give it a chance and the returning natives are strong evidence of the effectiveness of our Bushcare work.

Vicent and tree - 28 Oct 2017 - lowres

Vincent and his tree

 

Vincent took the opportunity to check in on the tree he planted on National Tree Day.

 

 

 

Griffith Mates ... the end - 28 Oct 2017A great walk … everyone seemed to be inspired to return and help with our Bushcare work.

Thanks to Andreas Listle for staying behind the camera and capturing memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Catchment Champions Award - Oct 2017By: Michael Fox

I have been honoured to accept the 2017 Cleaner Suburbs – Catchment Champions Award in recognition of our work within Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

In receiving the award I reflect the efforts of dozens of enthusiastic happy volunteers including Marshal and Liz who work with me on Tuesday mornings.

 

Team 1 July 2017

 

 

 

 

Our Griffith Mates partners join us for regular Fox Gully Bushcare events bringing international students to experience the Australian bush and contribute to our restoration work.
Brains over brawn - 22 July 2017

 

 

 

The Mates willingly join in everything from weeding to moving logs.

david-eve-jess-joylene-charlie-cleand-up-5-mar-2017-lowres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather Woods organised Clean Up Australia welcoming a wide range families to join us cleaning up Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

 

 

Smiles all round - National Tree Day - 30 July 2017

 

 

 

One hundred and fifty community members worked hard and shared smiles at our National Tree Day event.

On Assignment - 7 May 2017

 

 

 

Member, Alan Moore runs our annual Photography Workshop and prepares our calendar, combining community education and fundraising for equipment.

 

Habitat Brisbane Fox Gully sign

 

 

The Brisbane City Council Habitat Brisbane team provide training, contract support, tools, plants and other resources.

 

b4c logo.JPG

 

 

 

Non-profit social enterprise Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) provide vital support auspiceing grant applications, accounting and seed funding to launch our Polliantor Link project.

 

 

Thank you to all our supporters and a special thanks to Heather Woods who nominated me for this award.

 

By: Michael Fox

Compost pile Creeping Lantan - 15 Aug 2017 lr

Creeping Lantana removed into piles

The old car park area will be restored as the 500 plants mature and spread.

Nature will now take over natural regeneration of the 500 square metres of Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses* cleared by the Lantana Buster Team on National Tree Day.

Seed stock of native grasses like Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus will still be in the soil and with the Lantana not suppressing regrowth the grasses will return with the summer rain.

Griffith Mates - 25 April 2015

Griffith Mates clear the last weeds

 

The work of our Griffith Mates partners shows the effectiveness of natural regeneration techniques. The team removed the last Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia* from Fox Gully Bushcare Zone 8 in April 2015. Note the bare ground.

 

 

Graceful Grass - Ottochloa gracillima - 14 Aug 2017

Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2017 and Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima is returning naturally. Second hand decking timber is reused to manage erosion on the steep slope and collect leaf litter to retain moisture.

 

Shelter for lizards - 15 Aug 2017 lr

Lizard highways

 

 

 

Providing Shelter for wildlife helps nature bring the wildlife back to the site.

The piles of fallen branches are restored to the site to create lizard highways across the areas cleared of Creeping Lantana.

Eastern Bearded Dragon - Pogona barbata - 1 Aug 2017

Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata

 

 

 

Lizards like this young Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata are at risk crossing the bare weed-free ground. Creating lizard highways allows these cute creatures to stay safe while they hunt for lunch.

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

 

 

 

 

Team 1 July 2017

Griffith Mates Bushcare Team

By: Michael Fox

Our Griffith Mates partners were back today, again led by Sienna Harris, Griffith University Ecological Science student.

 

Rainbow Lorikeet - 22 July 2017 low res

Rainbow Lorikeet checking nest hollow

 

 

 

Koala scratches - 22 July 2017 low res

Koala scratches

 

Just before the Team arrived I spotted a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus checking out a tree hollow as a potential nest sight.

International students are always interested in our wildlife and they loved the bright coloured Rainbows. Rainbow Lorikeets are thought to mate for life (like most parrots) pairs preen and nibble each other during rest periods.

 

I was also able to point out a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita high in the top branches of a eucalypt. It was high up but hard to miss because of its loud screech.

We also looked at Koala scratches on a Queensland Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis.

 

 

 

Lantana Busters at work - 22 July 2017 low res

Lantana Buster Team

 

 

Lantana Buster - 22 July 2017 low res

Weeding is fun

 

 

We then split into two groups:

  • Sienna leading the Lantana Busters
  • I went with the Log Team.

The Lantana Busters worked on clearing the invasive Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses by rolling it up into swales across the slope retain water and reduce erosion by slowing water flow.

Pulling weeds may not sound exciting but there are always lots of smiles.

Hand saw team - 22 July 2017 low res

We can use a hand saw!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Griffith Mates always love to learn new skills, like using a hand saw …

Ochna buster - 22 July 2017 low res

Look at me! I pulled this out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and pulling deep rooted Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata with the specialist TreePopper bushcare weeding tool.

The Treepopper allows almost anyone to pull difficult weeds by clamping jaws around the trunk then using the leverage of the long handle to slowly pull the deep roots without breaking.

 

Burtons Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis) - 22 July 2017 cropped

Burtons Legless Lizard Lialis burtonis

 

 

 

 

 

Even finding what she thought was a snake did not spook one of the Lantana Busters. Everyone gathered around, even the log moving team, to inspect what Sienna identified as a Legless Lizard. The lizard was very cooperative and hardly moved while dozens of photos recorded our unusual wildlife.

 

 

How do we move that - 22 July 2017 low res

Mmm … a bit heavy for one of us to lift

The Log Team were also learning new skills.

Brains over brawn - 22 July 2017

Cross beams allow a team lift

This team are all from China and studying microbiology at Griffith University. So they loved the challenge of learning the power of applying more brains and less brawn. None of the team had used ropes before. However, they caught on fast, using a branch as a lever lift the log to get the rope underneath before learning to tie a knot that would not slip.

 

Brains win over brawn. Using two hardwood cross beams a log too heavy for one person can be carried by a team of six. Still hard work and slow going but achievable.

Team Success - 22 July 2017 low res

Team success!

 

 

 

 

The log is in place across the slope and nestled into the mulch so it will not move.

And they were very proud of themselves.

Well done team!

We finished up with a short guided walk inspecting the 2016, 2015 and 2014 National Tree Day planting and explaining the role of nest boxes providing shelter for Squirrel Gliders, Rainbow Lorikeets and Kookaburras.

 

 

 

Team 1 July 2017

Griffith Mates Team

By: Michael Fox

Fifteen happy laughing Griffith Mates joined me on Saturday morning to prepare the site for the 2017 National Tree Day.

See Alan Moore’s “We love Bushcare!” photo series. 

The team members were so interested in everything, from the fruiting Thread-moss Orthodontium lineare to a Huntsman spider on an old pipe, that I thought they must all be environment students. However, they were

Thread-moss - Orthodontium lineare - 1 July 2017

Thread-moss Orthodontium lineare

actually studying everything from business to one special person doing her second Phd in linguistics! They just all love being out in the bush doing something useful.

 

 

 

Most Australians would not be keen on getting up close and personal with a Huntsman spider. Griffith Mates students come from all over the globe … Zimbabwe, Malaysia, China, Japan, etc. and they are fascinated all Australian animals.

 

 

Common Crow caterpillar - 1 July 2017

Common Crow Euploea core

I showed the team a Common Crow Euploea core butterfly caterpillar with its fascinating black curls. The caterpillar was feeding on a Parsonsia vine and I explained that butterfly caterpillars will only feed on a limited number of plant species. If we maintain and increase the diversity of native plants in bushland and in our backyards we can bring butterflies back to our urban habitat.

 

The next find was very strange hairy fungi with a colloid shape with hollow in the middle: Hairy Trumpet – Panus fasciatus. A new species to add to our Flora and Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve: over thirty fungi species found in the Reserve so far.

Hairy Trumpet 1 July 2017

Hairy Trumpet – Panus fasciatus

 

Plant signs

Installing interpretative signs

There was also work to do. Two teams went hunting for examples Tape Vine Stephania japonica and Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea and install interpretative signs to show Tree Day volunteers some of the plants that feed our native animals.

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Glass removal 1 July 2017

Site safety – removing broken glass

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Preparation also includes maximising site safety by removing broken glass. Not exciting work but very important.

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Visit Facebook to see Alan Moore’s “We love Bushcare!” photo series that captures the mood of joy and pride of our Griffith Mates student partners preparing for. 2017 National Tree Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Michael Fox

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(clockwise) Mik Petter, Wayne Cameron, Ian Walker, Dr. Christian Rowan, Michael Fox, Sienna Harris

Our local MP Ian Walker gave us to opportunity yesterday to brief Dr. Christian Rowan, state Shadow Minister for Environment, about our restoration work around the mountain and the broader Brisbane catchment. We met at the Love Well Project … excellent coffee and an outstanding place to meet with a view over Brisbane City.
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Mik Petter – B4C President and Wayne Cameron – Catchment Manager, represented Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C). Sienna Harris represented Griffith Mates and Alan Moore, Photography Workshop leader, and I represented Mt Gravatt Environment Group.
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Mik and Wayne shared information on the history of Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee Inc. (B4C): established in 1997 as a community based social enterprise that provides coordination, support and specialised ecological services to protect, restore and maintain Bulimba Creek catchment in partnership with our members and wider community to build a web of green across the region.

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Particularly significant points were the business like management of B4C which complements grant funding and volunteer contribution with commercial projects across Brisbane and as far as Esk. This combination of financial strength and depth of on ground experience across both technical environmental areas and community engagement allows B4C to provide valuable support for groups like ours: technical advice, legal framework, insurance and bookkeeping.

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Explaining the value of interpretative signs.

The excellent support our five Bushcare groups receive from BCC Habitat Brisbane is complemented by B4C’s support that allows us to source grant funding for printing our popular Walking Mt Gravatt track maps and the interpretative signs which help create a real “National Park” experience for visitors to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.
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Sienna talked about Griffith Mates, a Griffith University initiative that organises events for students, including Volunteering at Bushcare. A powerful partnership we find ourselves working with students studying engineering, international business as well as the expected environmental science. Listening to students talking about home in Hong Kong or Zimbabwe, seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter.
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(l-r) Ian Walker and Christian Rowan

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Alan told us about the 2017 Photography Workshop, our fifth year helping visitors “See the forest in a new way” through the lens of their camera. Each year Alan focuses of a new theme and many participants return each year … so it is important to book early as we have limited numbers.
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Time to get the politicians out to experience this special Conservation Reserve in the middle of the city.
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I explained that the butterfly sign was positioned at the entry to the Summit Track where the natural amphitheatre creates a speed dating site for dozens of butterflies of different species.