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A Council Bushcare Officer trains a group of new volunteers at Medlow Bath.
Bushcare - A Community Activity
Do you like...
- Being in bushland?
- Meeting interesting people?
- Helping the local environment?
- Learning about the Blue Mountains?
Then Bushcare is for you.
Aim: "To promote ecologically sound management of bushland within the City of Blue Mountains by fostering a sense of community responsibility for the natural environment and by supporting the community to enable program objectives to be met." (Council's Bushcare Policy, 1998)
A Brief History of Bushcare in the Blue Mountains
The Bushcare Program has its origins in the Blue Mountains in the activities of early Bushcare groups such as Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley, Fairy Dell Restoration Committee, Minnehaha Falls Landcare Group, Glenbrook Lagoon Society and Pope’s Glen Bushcare Group. These groups commenced activities in late 1989 through to 1991. In response to these activities, Council in 1992 decided to fund a position to coordinate the activities of these groups. Since that time the number of groups and participants have been steadily increasing. Today there are over 60 groups in action and over 350 active volunteers. Council has 7 Bushcare Officers employed to resource, train and coordinate the groups.
What do Bushcare Groups Do?
A Bushcare Group will go out into their patch of bush each month, assess the existing vegetation, and try to strengthen and encourage it to expand. They do this by a process called Bush Regeneration, which involves the removal of exotic weeds. This allows native plants to germinate and flourish. They work as a team, expanding into new areas, but also consolidating achievements already gained. This way a Bushcare Group makes net wins against the weeds, and with persistence can improve the natural and aesthetic values of their reserves. Other activities include stormwater control works, erosion control works, track maintenance and improvement, seed collection, plant propagation, public education, and other bushland management issues. For every hour council puts into the program the community puts in more than three. Over the last few years over 9,600 volunteer hours have been worked each year on Bushcare projects.
The Role of Council
Since Council employed it's first Bushcare Officer in 1992, bushcare groups and participants in the program have steadily increased. Council has fostered this growth by allocating additional resources to provide more Bushcare Officers and strong operational budgets. Qualified Council officers provide training in bush regeneration techniques and safety. Tools and other equipment are also provided for Bushcare groups working on Council's land.
The Social Side of Bushcare
Members of Popes Glen Bushcare Group, explained the many great benefits of being involved in Bushcare. It is a great way to meet people in your local area. “It’s a great feeling to be working with the local community to restore out bushland Environment. If you come down to work on your local reserve the other members will warmly welcome you. The group will then work for a couple of hours, then stop for a morning or afternoon tea break”. “I have met a number of very interesting like-minded people by working with Bushcare”.
When Alan asked what he has learnt from his involvement in Bushcare, he responded "Patience! And also learning all the time about the plants and animals and how ecosystems work". Members agree that it’s great to get outside in the fresh air, get a bit of exercise and help save our unique Australian bush.
Where are they? When do they work?
Bushcare groups are working almost every weekend and some days during the week. They generally work for one morning or afternoon a month. Click here to find the site closest to you and come along for a friendly, positive and educational work session. You will be supervised and trained by a qualified Council Bushcare Officer.
Are you a student?
Looking for information about local bushland?
Bushcare groups are a great source of information about local bushland sites in the Blue Mountains.
Attend a Bushcare gathering where you can find out the answers to your questions by asking the volunteers and Bushcare Officer whilst you assist them with their work. This is a great way of discovering environmental issues affecting local bushland and the group will appreciate your help.
Make sure you contact the Bushcare Officer for the local site well before the time you want answers for your assignment. As most groups only meet once a month, you will need to make contact early so you don't miss the workday of your local group. Bushcare officers will be able to let you know where and when the group meets, however they only have limited time they spend in the office.
Also see our School Assignments: Information about the local area and Council for a guide to additional resources such as interactive maps, local population profiles and Library help available to students.
Council's Bushcare Section
Phone (02) 4780 5528