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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

8:30am Briefing the team and taking their minds off the cold (Photo: Alan Moore)

By: Michael Fox

7:45am The first participants have arrived even before I have finished setting up … and it’s cold!

8:30am The team is assembled, time for briefing: we have over 200 plants ready. Plants selected included vines like beautiful butterfly plant Sarsparilla Vine Hardenbergia violacea, trees like Coast Banksia Banksia integrifolia
– food plant for Sugar Gliders, and trees like the Blueberry Ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus with its fascinating pretty pink downward facing flowers. Downward hanging flowers are a valuable food source in rainy periods when nectar is washed out of Banksia and Grevillea flowers.

9am Ross & Barry planting large Hickory Wattle (Photo: Alan Moore)

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9am Planting is well underway with people scattered all over the slope. Ross Vasta MP Federal Member for Bonner and gully neighbour Barry work together planting a large Hickory Wattle Acacia disparrima.

9:50am Miranda and Scott

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9:50am Must be time for morning-tea.

Looking around it is a real pleasure to see our neighbours engaged in a cooperative effort to restore this corridor for our wildlife.

9:50am (l-r) Alistair, Lyn, Ray & Trey

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Three generations of the Fulton family have been strong supporters of our restoration work with members involved in every planting day since 2008 when they planted two trees in memory of Lyn’s mother. Ray has also propagated Lomandras and potted Acacias that are now thriving in bushcare site.

10:45am Community at work

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10:45am Planting is almost complete so the team starts moving up the gully clearing Madeira Vine anredera cordifolia and Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureum.

Madeira Vine is a major problem in the gully, smothering trees and spreading aggressively with hundreds of potato like tubers which can each shoot into two or three new vines.

Devil’s Ivy or Pothos
is another invasive weed in the gully, climbing and dragging down trees. Devil’s Ivy, a common house plant, is also toxic to dogs and cats.

10:50am Ann Moran – Field Botanist

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11am Installing Men’s Shed nest box – a new home for Scaly-breasted Lorikeets

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10:50am Further down the gully Ann Moran a Field Botanist with decades of experience, generously shared her amazing knowledge of our native plants. I didn’t realise what looks like multiple leaves on the Black Bean Castanospermum australe are actually one leaf and if you sniff the end of the stem it smells of cucumber.

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11am Installing our first nest box. Logging and farming of the mountain habitat means that the forest is less than one hundred years old. Nest hollows typically start to form once trees are over one years old and then can take another fifty years to create. Therefore there is a shortage of nest hollows available for birds and gliders. Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed have now partnered with Mt Gravatt Environment Group to produce high quality nest boxes designed to the needs of local species. Scaly-breasted Lorikeets – all green with flecks (scales) of yellow on the chest, are smaller than Rainbow Lorikeets and have lost out in the fight for available tree hollows. This box with its smaller entry hole which excludes the larger birds will remain available for our Scalies.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group sell Men’s Shed nest boxes for $50. Boxes are available for a number of bird and glider species. For details email: megoutlook@gmail.com

11:20am Andrew with native grasses

11:20am Native grasses like Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima and Scented Top Grass Capillipedium spicigerum  operate as Green Mulch suppressing weeds, retaining moisture and reducing erosion. These grasses are also caterpillar food for butterflies like the Orange-streaked Ringlet.

Andrew get special attention from the photographer: his wife Kerry. A participant in our 2011 Photography Workshop has developed a real skill in capturing the moment and the wildlife.

11:30am Susan (left) and Don clearing weeds

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11:30am Susan Jones, Mt Gravatt Environment Group Secretary, pitches in with gully neighbour Don to remove Madeira Vine.

12noon Planting done. Now nature takes over to complete the job

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12noon Over 200 plants in place. Now we hand over the nature to complete the job. Come back for the 2013 Community Gully Day to see the results of our partnership with nature.

Thank you to all participants. It is inspiring to be part of such an amazing community event. Also thank you to Annette & Genevieve who hosted the event, Don & Clair, Ray & Lyn and SOWN who donated plants and Jason & Tash who donated timber for the slope.

Some neighbours who were unable to participate on the day made tax-deductible donations that paid for the tube stock.