Register your Pollinator Link garden: Free

Pollinator Link® is a non-profit initiative of Mt Gravatt Environment Group.

The Pollinator Link® project aims to bring wildlife back to our urban by providing Water, Food and Shelter for birds, butterflies and bees. Your free garden registration will support our work with local councils as well as helping us influence plant nurseries to stock local native species.

Imagine your backyard alive with colour and birdsong. The quiet hum of bees in your veggie patch. You leave the city behind as you come home and relax with the peaceful sounds of nature.

Three Easy Steps to vibrant backyards

Click to register your Pollinator Link garden:

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Exploring Australia’s Native Plants Qld to WA Day 7

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By: Michael Fox

Day 7 25 Aug 2022 Muttaburra to Winton 1,948km covered.

Rhythm of Life

Leaving Muttaburra you pass a number of interesting sculptures some created as part of the 2014 Sculpture Festival.

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Rhythm of Life by Milynda Rogers and winner of the 2014 Sculpture Festival features two Brolgas in what looks like a courting dance.

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Spring is in the Air

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Spring is in the Air by Brodie Knickel and Beau Gray really captures the red bottlebrush flower.

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The Cessna

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The Cessna by Rupert Ballinger is appropriately at the entry to the Muttaburra airport.

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Grus rubicunda Brolga

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We passed a pair of Brolgas Grus rubicunda beside the road. Beautiful birds that mate for life.

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The Jump Up

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The land we were driving through we mainly very flat except for mesas that periodically stood out on the horizon. The Jump Up is 75 metres above the surrounding land and the location of the excellent Australian Age of Dinosaurs attraction.

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Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum

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The striking architecture blends well with the landscape. The site includes three separate facilities Fossil Preparation Laboratory, Collection Room, Dinosaur Canyon and the Cretaceous Café.

Fossil Preparation Laboratory

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I took a tour that started with the Fossil Preparation Laboratory where we learned about the process of careful onsite “wrapping” the of bones in plaster of Paris and aluminium foil.

The bones are stored until preparation. I talked with one of the volunteers doing exacting work cleaning specimens with a tool like a dentist drill. He and his wife come out for a couple o weeks once or twice a year to work on these bones.

Conifer Limb
Diamatinasaurus matildae right femur

One thing that really stunned me was the fossilised Conifer limb that just about stretched the width of the huge shed. 95 million years ago the inland sea has retreated and Winton district was the fringe of a costal wetland. Huge conifers dominate with lush vegetation of cycads, ginkgos and ferns.

The Dinosaur Canyon includes a bronze sculpture of the right femur of a Diamatinasaurus matildae. About the length of an elephant femur but much thicker.

Relocated trackway

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Dinosaur sculptures
Ptilotus polystachyus Longtails, Prince of Wales Feathers

The Dinosaur Stampede National Monument is located at Lark Quarry Conservation Park, 110km south west of Winton.

A similar site with sauropod tracks dating back some 95 million years was found at Snake Creek on Karoola Station, northwest of Winton. The tracksite was at risk of erosion from water so the whole site was excavated and moved in its entirety to a purpose-built facility at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs.

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Outside there is a walkway among the tree tops of Dinosaur Canyon with surprises in the form of small bronze sculptures of dinosaurs walking across adjacent rocks.

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While I was on the tour Ann explored the amazing native vegetation on site. As well as the Ptilotus exaltatus Pink Mulla Mulla we found beside the road there is also the creamy coloured Ptilotus polystachyus Longtails, Prince of Wales Feathers.

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Grevillea wickhamii Holly-leaved Grevillea

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Grevillea wickhamii Holly-leaved Grevillea is a popular landscaping plant.

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Winton is also very proud of its association with Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Matilda.

Sheep sculptures in the main street are complemented by an excellent series of sculptures telling the Waltzing Matilda story.

The swagman is reaching for the jumbuck (sheep) then the squatter rides down followed by troopers, finally the swaggie jumps in the billabong saying “You’ll never catch me alive”

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Exploring Australia’s Native Plants Qld to WA Day 6

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Michael Fox

Days 6 24 Aug 2022 Bimblebox Nature Reserve  to Muttaburra 1,745km covered.

Wednesday morning we leave Bimblebox headed for Jerico planning to follow the Lake Dunn Sculpture Trail.

Cattle muster

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Not long on the road we strike a rural traffic jam with a herd of cattle taking up the whole road and headed in our direction. With careful slow driving and lots of enquiring looks from cows, we eventually get past.

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Calytrix exstipulata Turkey Bush

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On the highway to Jerico I photographed Calytrix microcoma Turkey Bush

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Grevillea pteridifolia Fern-leaf Grevillea

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… the bright orange Grevillea pteridifolia Fern-leaf Grevillea.

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From Jerico we headed north to find the Sculpture Trail which forms a triangle between Aramac, Lake Dunn and where we joined to follow the base of the triangle to Aramac.

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Like finding the Sculptures in the Scrub in Pilliga Forest it is incongruous to come upon a sculpture of deer beside a dirt road miles from any town,

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Eagle and Nest of Chicks

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Possum in Gum

An Eagle and Nest of Chicks on cliff above the road was so in tune with our native fauna.

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We stopped to look at the Possum in Gum, beer in hand, sculpture and found more wildflowers.

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Chrysocephalum apiculum Yellow Buttons

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Chrysocephalum apiculum Yellow Buttons can also be found in Brisbane bushland.

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Sesuvium portulacastrum Portulaca

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Sesuvium portulacastrum Portulaca is a native succulent with potential for use in hot windy unit balconies.

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Corymbia terminalis Western Bloodwood was a mass of flowers.

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Ptilotus exaltatus Pink Mulla Mulla

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And my favourite Ptilotus exaltatus Pink Mulla Mulla.

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Corymbia terminalis Western Bloodwood

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We visited the Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre

Field of Pink Mulla Mulla
Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre
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Exploring Australia’s Native Plants Qld to WA

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Michael Fox

Days 4-5 22-23 Aug 2022 Kerand to Bimblebox Nature Reserve 1,458km covered.

Bimblebox Art Camp – Photo: Tangible Media

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Bimblebox is a special place which for years has been under threat from Mr Black and Yellow’s (Clive Palmer) Waratah Coal who would like to bulldoze this habitat and dig another big hole in the ground.

Ian and Paola have not simply locked up this habitat for wildlife. Paola considers Bimblebox a community resource which is reflected in the regular Art Camp generously hosted in a genuine bush setting with hot water showers and superb Italian cooking by Paola.

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Partners in Regenerative Agriculture

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Ian practices regenerative agriculture with cattle being rotated though different paddocks to control weeds, provide food for Australians and maintain a profitable business: along the lines of Alan Savory’s research.

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Corymbia dallachiana Ghost Gum

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Ann and I had fun identifying plants and seeing what was in flower this visit.

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Hakea lorea Bulloak

This majestic Ghost Gum Corymbia lanceolata was near the donga where we stayed.

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The Hakea lorea Bulloak was also in flower nearby.

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Dawn at Bimblebox

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Dawn our second day really bought the peacefulness of this special place home.

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Taeniopygia bichenovii Double-barred Finch

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Sitting on the deck between the dongas we watched Taeniopygia bichenovii Double-barred Finches playing in the water …

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Pomatostomus temporalis Grey-crowned Babbler

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… and a Pomatostomus temporalis Grey-crowned Babbler searching for insects.

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Pterocaulon redolens Fruit Salad Bush

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This day we joined Ian on maintenance drive out to put out stock food and check the Art Camp.

It was at the Art Camp that we found plants that were not in flower when we visited in 2021.

Pterocaulon redolens Fruit Salad Bush

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Scaevola ramosissima Purple Fan-flower

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Scaevola ramosissima Purple Fan-flower which was attracting Candalides sp. butterflies.

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Stylidium eglandulosum Wooly-stemmed Trigger Plant

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Stylidium eglandulosum Wooly-stemmed Trigger Plant

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Calotis cuneata Mountain Burr-daisy

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Calotis cuneata Mountain Burr-daisy

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Austracantha minax – Jewel Spider

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Austracantha minax Jewel Spider

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Ian repairing pipe

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Of course with the kilometres of pipe required to provide water for the stock in different paddocks, there is always maintenance. Ian had noticed a damp patch of ground which meant a leak to be patched.

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Timmie daredevil

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Heading home Timmy was alternating between riding shotgun with Ann and being a daredevil out Ian’s window.

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Mangrove Pencils

Queensland Stories

At the Cod Hole, where Eudlo Creek joins the Maroochy River, I watched the soldier crabs. Scuttling across the mudflats in their hundreds, dressed in smart blue-grey uniforms, the little round crabs would feel the vibrations of my footsteps and quickly screw themselves down into the mud and disappear. If I stood still for a few minutes they would start to twist themselves back into the daylight.

“Soldier crabs marching through mangrove aerial roots” commons.wikipedia.org

My dad had bought an old weatherboard beach house on the dead-end dirt road that has since become busy Bradman Avenue. We named the house Toad Hall.

“Toad Hall”, on the Maroochy River. I’m in the boat, on the left

It was just upstream from where the Sunshine Motorway now crosses Maroochy River. Bradman Avenue runs upstream from Picnic Point, along the south bank of the river and over the creek, past a…

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Exploring Australia’s Native Plants Qld to WA

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Michael Fox

Day 3 20 Aug 2022: Emerald to Kerand 1,361km covered

Our objective today was to visit Crystal Creek State Forest which is in the heart of Glencore’s proposed Valeria coal mine. Sheena Gillman advised that limited independent survey data of flora and fauna is available to support objections to development of yet another coal mine.

Senecio bipinnatisectus daisy

Following the Gregory Hwy we turned west at Gordonstone on what we thought was a gazetted road through the Lee family’s Caroa property to access Crystal Creek SF. However, following the route past the Caroa homestead was confusing so we stopped to ask advice. Derrick Lee advised that the route was not a gazetted road and as the property is registered organic he did not want us to proceed further. Without evidence to support our assumption that the road was public access we turned around. A disappointing and confusing outcome as the property owners don’t want the mine to progress: confirmed by Derrick, so we assumed the owners would be keen to support research into the environment value of the land targeted for destruction. A valuable lesson for us to do better homework before we set out.

Myall Wattle Acacia mevillii

Fortunately we were only about 30 mins from Emerald so we turned back and headed for the Kerand property of Ian Hoch and Paola  Cassoni.

Ann Moran still did a species survey of the roadside so not a total waste. We found a spectacular field of yellow Senecio bipinnatisectus daisy. Ann counts the petals to check that it had less than thirteen petals: native species.

Ann also identified Myall Wattle Acacia mevillii. Attractive like most wattles however it did get smelly in the car as it dried out.

Drummond Range Lookout

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Following the Capricorn Hwy west we stopped at the Drummond Range Lookout, approximately 535 metres, which gives a spectacular view to the east.

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Purple Fleabane Cyanthillium cinerem

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Here we found Purple Fleabane Cyanthillium cinerem with a brilliant purple flower. We have this plant in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve but never as striking a colour.

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Evolulus alsinoides

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The delicate Evolulus alsinoides was also common in the picnic area.

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Eremophila maculata – Spotted Emu Bush + Belenois java – Caper White butterfly

Longtails Ptilotus polystachyus

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Arriving at Kerand we stopped beside a Spotted Emu Bush Eremophila maculata that was surrounded by dozens of Caper White butterflies Belenois java.

Eremophila maculata grows naturally west of the Great Dividing Range.

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We have some very pretty and impressive native plants like the Longtails Ptilotus polystachyus.

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Exploring Australia’s Native Plants Qld to WA

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Michael Fox

Day 2 19 Aug 2022: Theodore to Emerald 950km

Sunrise at Theodore

We stayed the night with a generous and interesting friend of Ann’s who grew up in Theodore.

Ann (yes, another Ann … very confusing) was the driving force behind the bird hide and interpretative signs along the peaceful river walk along the bank of Castle Creek heading down to the junction with the Dawson River.

Loaded coal train

Waking to an amazing sunrise, we say goodbye to our hostess Ann (yes, another Ann) we headed for Emerald via the curiously named Banana, Dingo and Blackwater.

… coal and cotton country with mine signs scattered along the highway.

Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax
Hooker’s bauhinia Bauhinia hookeri

We passed three full coal trains heading east and two empty trains heading out. The coal trains are electric with two engines at the front and a third about halfway.

Bitterbark Alstonia Consticta

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Just out of Theodore we passed a Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax sitting on a tree beside the road. This magnificent bird posed nicely for photos before taking flight.

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Of course where I pulled over to photograph the eagle Ann found interesting plants including a Hooker’s bauhinia Bauhinia hookeri. The same “butterfly” leaf form as the common exotic Orchid Tree but actually one of two native Bauhinias both of which have smaller leaves than the exotic.

Minions of Central Queensland

The Hooker’s bauhinia was not in flower, however, it has an attractive white flower with bright red (male) stamens.

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Bitterbark Alstonia Consticta was in flower beside the road. Definitely not a plant for a city garden as the flowers have an unattractive pungent smell that attracts.

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I found a Striped Ladybird Beetle Micraspis frenata among the weeds under the Bitterbark. These Lady Beetles are found in Brisbane, usually on tall grasses.

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A bit of fun along the way was finding an invasion of Minions of Central Queensland.

Bluff town sign with coal train in background

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The Bluff community is obviously proud of their mining and railway.

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Exploring Australia’s Native Plants Qld to WA

By: Michael Fox

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Day 1 18 Aug 2022: Home to Theodore 600km

I’m off on my grand adventure to circumnavigate Australia and exploring our unique flora and fauna going through Qld, NT, WA, SA, Vic, NSW and Canberra.

The first leg of the trip to Northern Territory, I will be travelling with Field Botanist, Ann Moran.

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Morning tea at picnic area beside the Burnet River at Gayndah.

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Brilliant yellow wattles were spread along the sides the highway.

I was particularly impressed by the beautiful Acacia ambygonia Fan Wattle which also occurs in South East Queensland and large parts of NSW.

Bird hide overlooking Castle Creek

A shrub growing 10cm to 1m height with 1m spread, Acacia ambygonia is ideal for city gardens and should be available many nurseries.

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Click to see view of creek

At Theodore we explored the new interpretative signs and bird hide installed this year Castle Creek.

Our local host, Ann Hobson, was instrumental in researching information, sourcing funds and arranging installation.

Local indigenous artists worked on artwork and design.

Coracina novaehollandiae Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Interperative signs in bird hide and along the walk provide details of local wildlife: birds, Kreffts Terrapin (freshwater turtle), Australian Water Dragon and Platypus.

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I photographed a Coracina novaehollandiae Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike in a dead tree beside the path.

Red aril of Alectryon oleifolius Western Rosewood

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The Alectryon oleifolius Western Rosewood was covered in fruit with some showing the sweet red aril that attracts birds to spread the seeds embedded in the aril.

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Tree Troff Water for Koalas

Mount Gravatt Environment Group

By: Michael Fox

Artist: Chrys O’Hare

Phil checking installation of water trough.

When leaf moisture is not high enough, this can lead to dehydration and large-scale mortality events as koalas are forced to search the ground for alternative water sources, exposing them to additional threats such as cars and dogs. Conditions in which koalas will need to search for water are only expected to increase in frequency due to climate change. (Watkins, A, Schlagloth, R. and Santamaria, F. (2021) Qld Naturalist 59 (1-3))

Koalas and other wildlife living in urban Island Habitats like Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve are particularly vulnerable as access to water requires crossing busy roads and facing dogs in backyards.

The Tree Troff Koala drinkers have been developed by a Gunnedah farmer working with researchers from University of Sydney and WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.)

First version of Koala drinker

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Last year…

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Fun in the Sun Pollinator Link Bushcare Sunday 29th Aug

This is fun!

By: Laurie Deacon

When do we have fun?  We meet last Sunday of the Month from 3pm to 5 pm, with Tea and Cakes and pack up after. Sometimes we do outdoor games or Yoga on the green until sunset.

Location:  Mount Gravatt State High School Ovals

Number of Volunteers: there were 9 attendees and 8 Apologies on the day.  Six new locals came today for the first time. And we had a lass nine years old who had come with her Grandma when she was 8 months old and planted a tree!!

Total Number of hours gardening in Bird Bee Butterfly Corridor on Sunday Total 29.5 Hours. (Number of attendees x hours spent)

Bushcare activities done on Sunday Arvo 29th Aug 2021.

Site Supervisor on the job
  • Orientation of Volunteers to Bushcare and aims of creating a Pollinator Link Corridor for our Suburban health!
  • Weeding Guinea grass and Mother of Million plants and we got 20 Bushel bags full!
  • Mulching after weeding site to keep weeds down.
  • Teaching locals about weed identification and how to reduce them.
  • Teaching correct way to plant natives to survive. 
  • Teaching children about Pale-headed Rosella Platycercus adscitus birds who live in the School and what they look like and sound like so they can spot them.
  • Children enjoyed learning about Butterflies and hanging Woodened Butterfly’s art in the Corridor made by Men’s Shed Mount Gravatt.
  • Planted two trees brought by a local who had just gained her Citizenship and was given the plants as part of the Ceremony; She wanted to plant  the bottle brush trees  in “Bird Bee Butterfly” Corridor for all to enjoy for the Future!
  • Live Music: a Flute played by local to practise for her Concert.
  • Socialising, storytelling about “our hood”, welcoming and making friends with new neighbours.
Twenty bushel bags of weeds!

Number of plants put into the Corridor:  Two trees a Bottle brush and a Black Bean.  We were preparing the site ready for a larger Spring Planting on Sept 21.

Worthy Hearts and Minds moments of the Day:

  • We had a young lass join in, now nine years old, who had come previously with her Grandma and planted a tree 8 years ago, when she was 12 months old!  I still have her baby photo planting with her Gran and her Mum. “
  • We had a lovely local lady who planted her two trees given to her at her Citizenship Ceremony; She wanted to plant the bottle brush trees in “Bird Bee Butterfly” Corridor for people all to enjoy into the Future!

Wildlife seen or heard: 2 Pale-headed Rosellas; Plovers, Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala, kookaburras, magpies. No obvious butterflies or reptiles seen this time.

Science Reading FYI: Next time you see a butterfly, treasure the memory: scientists raise alarm on these 26 species (theconversation.com)

Learnings for Kids  FYI : Curious Kids: Do butterflies remember being caterpillars? (theconversation.com)

Thanks to the following good folks:

  • Norman Creek Catchment and Bulimba Creek catchment Groups for your scientific support (eg tools, plants, knowledge, insurance)
  • For the MG SHS School Groundsmen for their help in our Combined Beautification projects for their school,
  • For the MG SHS Principal and Community Liaison Officer who understand that local community can build health and wealth into schools for the benefit of all.
  • Neighbours and friends who make it all possible.
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