Sunday, 4 October 2015

Dates for the Diary

Ride to Work Day
Wednesday 14 October 

Greater Toronto Spring Fair
Saturday 17 Oct- 9am-3pm . Toronto town

Aussie Backyard Birdcount
19-25 October -20 minute surveys.

Coal Point Public School Fete
Saturday 7 November 10am-2pm

Walk to Work Day
Friday 13 November

20 years of landcare BBQ
Thursday 19 Nov 12:30-2pm. Gurranba Reserve. RSVP

Twenty years on Trivia Tournament
Friday 20 Nov. 7-9pm Progress Hall. Doors open at 6pm. RSVP

Coal Point Progress Committee
2nd Monday of the month, Progress Hall 4-6pm

Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group : 
2nd Wednesday of the month The Hub, 97 The Boulevarde 5-6.30pm


CPPA Award finalist

The Coal Point Progress Association has been recognised as a finalist in the Peabody Energy Environment and Landcare category of the NSW Regional Achievement & Community Awards for its 20-year history of local environmental contributions and the Threatened Species Last Stand project. 
It is a fitting reminder that the efforts of amazing . dedicated locals accompanied by a great support system in LMCC Landcare as well as enthusiastic volunteers from Trees In Newcastle is making a huge difference to the  long-term viability of the flora and fauna on the Coal Point-Carey Bay peninsula.

Greater Toronto Spring Fair

Saturday October 17 will see the Boulevarde a-buzz with everyone and their dog at the Annual Spring Fair.
The Progress Association and the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood group will have a ‘Sustainable Progress’ stall in The Community Area near the movie hire shop and will be available to discuss their current projects with you. 
If you’ve been wanting to find out about how the Threatened Species project can assist you there will be a chance to organise a nestbox for your property, purchase a Hairy Clairy or book in a backyard garden assessment. 

The Sustainable Neighbourhood group are cleaning up Toronto one fast food operator at a time as well as identifying and trying to rectify pedestrian hotspots that can be made safer. Your interest and input are very welcome.

Celebrating 20 years of land caring and community spirit

The Progress Association is planning two special social events in November to celebrate the local landcare achievements and the community spirit that it supports. 
Everyone is welcome to attend both events.  
Twenty Years On Trivia Tournament 
On Friday night November 20 there’ll be a trivia tournament to celebrate two decades of local landcaring and fostering community spirit. 
This social event will be hosted by local Trivia Talent Tony Parrott. You can have a table of 2 or 10, it’s BYO nibbles and drinks. The emphasis will be on having fun and socialising and it’s an opportunity to gather up some friends for the festive season’s familiarities. There’ll be local questions, not so local questions, a few games and lots of laughter. 
The doors will be open from 6:00pm to get settled and social with the Trivia running from at 7-9ish pm.
To secure your table RSVP with the number of people on your table on facebook, by email 

20 years of local landcaring BBQ
On Thursday 19th November a special lunchtime landcare BBQ will be held in Gurranba Reserve, the location of the 1st landcaring adventure all those years ago. 
Invitations will be going out but if you’ve ever been involved in local landcaring, on a reserve or in your own backyard we’d love to share the luncheon fare with you. The local environment is more biodiverse and beautiful thanks to your efforts. 

Of course if you’re interested in landcare and want to see what all the fuss is about or if you want to show your appreciation for the effort that the landcare crew have made you are most welcome to come along as well. RSVP for catering purposes on Facebook or by email 

Time flies when you’re having fun and this blast from a past Chronicle seems like only yesterday. 
Chronicle Issue #72- December 1995Regenerators Run riot at GurranbaNovember 12, 9am. After Wilson’s mid week scouting mission had proved successful the scene was set for a dawn raid on Gurranba. The pre-emptive strike by Sam meant the enemy was unsuspecting and taken completely by surprise and The Regenerators did their deeds. 
They stormed the slopes, they crawled where others feared to tread, they took on the challenge and they succeeded. No Lantana too rooted, no Privet too private, no Asparagus fern was safe from the scrutiny and secateurs of The Regenerators. 
When the going got tough, we got tougher, the Alf-mobile was manoeuvred with all the skill that only rigorous training can provide. Jungle Jim defying the seemingly impenetrable Lantana securing rope after rope with teammate Ted, to rid the reserve of this invader, with Deric and Debbie forever vigilant.Then it happened…a surprise attack inflicted upon the unsuspecting Harry, a frontal assault more savage than any we had encountered, but in the true spirit of The Regenerators he brushed it off, smiled and continued to attack from the flanks, a credit to us all. 
Enveloped by the Lantana and thought missing in action, Betty and Arthur were seen to emerge victorious in their efforts to save the downtrodden and overgrown. Rescued, a struggling wattle whose demise would’ve been immanent as the Bitou Bush scaled the slopes. Rescued, a small gum struggling under the siege of Lantana. Rescued, some really beautiful little purple flowers whose identity remains a mystery. No amount of care was too much to save those that had struggled for so long. 
And just when the Lantana thought it would survive, a few shoots at the ready to sprout, Eileen and her trusty secateurs snipped off any such intentions. Fiona scouting the perimeter for any escapees, finished off many an isolated Bitou Bush and lone Lantana. The slopes scaled and scrutinised by Brian and John meant that the weed invasion had taken a serious blow. 
The Regenerators are a credit to us all. Although their numbers were few, 15 to be exact, we did make a difference, and afterwards, muscles a glow and satisfaction abounding, it was just really great to be a part of it. 
But there is still more to do, there is still more Lantana and there are plants to identify, trees to plant, garden beds to make… there’s something for everyone.
Whilst several of the original Regenerators have now fallen, their legacy lives on. 

Let fallen logs lie

The April storms may be a distant memory but the log legacy will be lasting. Many trees and branches fell and were later felled, community and personal safety being paramount in the decision making. The Progress Association’s land was also affected with two trees shifting, leaning on an angle that made the Tower of Pisa look upright.  
The CPPA committee discussed the options. Multiple quotes raging from $10,000 to $2,500 were obtained, the insurance company was notified and an arborist’s report was commissioned. The report identified the sloping trees as low risk, but in the event of another storm or high winds extra precautions would be required. 
Proposed mitigation measures included notifying the neighbours, not using the hall, moving to the front of the building (away from the trees), pulling curtains and staying away from windows…standard practice in areas where high winds are frequent events. The CPPA discussions also involved the potential to retain the trees for habitat value.
It was ultimately decided to reduce the risk the trees posed if they fell but to retain the tree material on site and distribute it within the CPPA land to provide habitat value. This turned out to be quite an important decision and in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Threatened Species Last Stand project
The NSW Scientific Committee has listed removal of dead wood and dead trees as a key threatening process, something that threatens or may threaten the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a native species or ecological community.
Logs are life, without them there’s a potential biodiversity loss that can ultimately change the very nature of the woodland or forest. The storm has created new horizontal habitat and the potential to replenish the forest floor.
Fallen logs are habitat for bugs and beetles and provide sustenance for fungi and microbes that depend on decaying wood for their survival. These animals and organisms are the great recyclers, turning the logs into nutrients that replenish the soils and stabilise the soil surfaces. 
Fallen and decaying logs also provide shelter for smaller animals in the event of fire. The Progress logs will hopefully provide additional cover for the wildlife in Stansfield Reserves when the asset protection burn eventuates.
The Scientific Committee states the removal of dead wood and dead trees is so significant that it could even cause species or populations that are not currently threatened to become threatened, such as the common Brushtail Possum. It is hard to imagine Coal Point as possum-less, but without logs there is no life.
Vertical habitat has now been transformed into horizontal habitat and as the ground dwelling bugs and critters multiply so too will the birds that feast on them. The logs that are now numerous throughout the local bushland are providing essential ecosystem services, recycling nutrients, providing a place for animals small and large to shelter and creating a food source that feeds everything from microbes to marsupials. After the storm there is a cloud with a silviculture lining. 

If you would like to install some additional habitat in form of nest boxes a Build your own Wildlife Nest Box guide has recently been released if you want to make your own, or if you want to put in an order for one as part of the Threatened Species project have a chat to Suzanne anytime or at the Greater Toronto Spring Fair.

Would you like a Hairy Clairy?

For only $3.50 you could have your very own Clerodendrum tomentosum, a lovely local plant that insects and butterflies enjoy visiting for its strikingly fragrant tubular flowers which morph into bird attracting black berries retained on a scarlet red surround (calyx).  
Also known as Downy Chance, Hairy Lolly Bush and Hairy Clerodendrum this shade and moisture loving local is a pioneer plant and rainforest survivor, which makes it great for fire retardant plantings. Hairy Clairy is a shrub, sometimes a small tree and is in the same family as mint.
The seed from which these plants have grown was collected locally at Carey Bay, at Yural reserve, in quite a shady spot, it’s also found on the West Ridge and at the Hampton Street Link. 
As part of the Threatened Species project, seed is being collected from the local reserves and grown to offer to locals to boost backyard biodiversity. 

The plants will be available for purchase at the Greater Toronto Spring Fair, there are only 30 available. If you’d like to put your name against one please advise Suzanne by phone 0438596741, an SMS will do, or email

Do you have an eye on the sky or binoculars on the bush?

The Aussie Backyard Bird count is being held during Birdweek, 19-25 October. Putting your observational skills to use for the Aussie Backyard Bird count is a way to help understand the changing nature of nature and contribute to a very impressive national database of bird distribution and abundance. The information helps to understand the trends in bird communities, which birds are doing well and which are not.
Last year in the 2283 postcode 24 species were sighted, with four checklists submitted and 108 birds sighted. In this state Rainbow Lorikeets, Noisy Miners and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos topped the count.
Nationally the top 10 birds were Rainbow Lorikeet, Noisy Miner, Australian Magpie, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah, House Sparrow, Common Myna, Silver Gull, Red Wattlebird and Welcome Sparrow.  
Sooty Oystercatcher at Coal Point-Image Rod Mackay
If you get out and about for the recommended 20 minutes of surveying you might see a Sooty Oystercatcher foraging on the tip of Coal Point, you’d have to be very lucky though, one of our local enthusiasts has only ever seen one. You might even get a glimpse of the Powerful Owl pair and their progeny…yes they’ve had babies. 
More likely you’ll see the more common species and they’ll be easy to identify because there’s a built in field guide in the Aussie Backyard Bird app and on the birdsinbackyards website.
If you’d like to see how the professionals do it Tom Clarke & co will conduct the local Spring Bird Survey on Monday 12th October. There are four spots available for community folk to participate in the bird surveys along the peninsula. Contact Suzanne for meeting details.
Everyone can indirectly support the bird survey team by keeping dogs on leashes on that Monday morning (12/10/15), or perhaps trying out the leash free areas at Hampton St Reserve (Pony Club) or Gurranba Reserve.