Sunday 13 November: Twenty-one neighbours and community members came together to take part in something special – creation of a wildlife corridor which will reconnect Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa Creek and Roly Chapman Reserve. The majority of Fox Gully is private property – the backyards of individual house blocks – so removing weeds and restoring the wildlife corridor requires the co-operation of thirty-seven separate property owners.

A critical step in the restoration was the removal a massive Indian Rubber Tree Ficus elastica in September – 5 men working solidly for 2 days – a huge job generously paid for by one of our Arafura Street neighbours. On advice from Prof Carla Catterall, Griffith University, we arranged for the contractors to leave the large stump for wildlife habitat. The contractor also placed logs on the slope and left two large piles of mulch.

Marshal and I chainsawed the remaining Yellow Oleandia Cascabela thevetia in advance to reduce risk of accidents when we had a large number of people on-site. Logs from the Yellow Oleandia were to be used on the slope to improve access for weeding/planting and to retain mulch and stop erosion.

Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia  was the next challenge. Also called Potato Vine, this aggressive invader produces thousands of small aerial tubers which can remain viable on the vine or on the ground for five to ten years. Each tuber can send out multiple roots to produce a new vine that can grow at more than one metre per week, rapidly smothering other vegetation. As with many weeds, Madeira Vine is an attractive flowering vine originally introduced from South America as a garden plant. Because of the massive infestation of this weed I decided that the Arafura Street side of the site should not be planted immediately with the focus being eradication of this pest that will out grow any new planting.

The Madeira infestation was so bad that Roger was simply shoveling the tubers into tubs for removal. Even with that work on the Gully Day, Don and I  still removed a full wheelie bin of tubers as we worked on the slope placing logs and mulch. Now that we are getting this major infestation under control we can work with neighbours up and down the gully to eradicate Madeira from the wildlife corridor.

On the day the team removed six cubic metres of rubbish and green waste, an extraordinary achievement when you consider that everything had to be carried up out of the gully to the rubbish skip in O’Grady Street.

Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus

They certainly earned a break for morning tea and an opportunity to meet some of the world’s only flying mammals – a really cute Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus, a juvenile Black Flying-fox Pteropus alecto and a tiny micro-batLittle Broad-nosed Bat Scotophilus greyi. Jenny and Denise, wildlife carers with Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld, joined us to introduce these cute creatures first hand, dispel some media-myths about Flying-foxes and share ideas on how we can protect and encourage these valuable pollinators and insect catchers. One simple thing we can do is encourage the use of wildlife-excluding HailGuard which protects fruit and vegetables without endangering bats, birds and possums that can get tangled in other netting.

Grey-headed Flying-foxes are found in Mt Gravatt Reserve and BAAM researchers have identified three species of micro-bat in the Reserve.

Little Broad-nosed Bat Scotophilus greyi – insect catching micro-bat

Removal of the Indian Rubber Tree will hopefully restore the permanent spring and provide a water source to attract these micro-mozzie catchers back to the gully as well as promoting the frog population.

Since the Gully Day we have planted one hundred and forty plants and placed logs (recycled weed trees) on the steep slope and mulch is being spread. The event has also created a long term change in relations between neighbours and how neighbours relate to the gully … it is wonderful to see city kids exploring.

Special thanks to Jenny and Denise, Phil Reeves (who personally paid for the rubbish skip) and helpers Barry Williams – Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed, Peter Stirk – Vultures Football Club and Natalie Petersen – ALP candidate for Wishart Ward.

“Do we really have echidnas on Mt Gravatt?” This was a common reaction when Fox Gully Bushcare and B4C took to bush to the OWeek Markets at Griffith University today.

Heather Barnes B4C

What do students from Brisbane, Newcastle, China, Germany and Philippines and students studying business, law, engineering, education, linguistics, molecular science and environmental science all have in common?

They love the bush!

Semester 1 Bushcare Dates

Sharing our love the bush with these eager young people was a real pleasure and a very successful promotion with over seventy students signed-up email notification of events.

I am hoping that the close proximity to the Nathan Campus will allow me to tempt students to join our Wednesday Bushcare.

The Griffith University OWeek Markets were very well organised by the Campus Life team and a great promotional opportunity for community groups. We will certainly be back for Semester 2 OWeek.

Fox Gully Bushcare has been named B4C Bushcare Group of the Year for 2010. I was very proud to accept this award from Cr Adrian Schrinner at a ceremony the B4C Southside Sustainability Centre.

Considering Bulimba Creek catchment covers 122 square kilometres, about 10 per cent of Brisbane’s area and home to 120,000 people being named Bushcare Group of the Year is a real achievement!

Thank you to all who have pulled out weeds, carted mulch, planted, watered,  delivered Updates or simply shared words of encouragment.

Thanks to our sponsors: FWR Group, Southside Sport & Community Club, Officeworks – Garden City

And particular thanks to Brisbane City Council:

  • Kate Flink and BCC Habitat Brisbane team who provided valuable advice, equipment, plants, mulch and patiently carted away truckloads of rubbish removed from our site.
  • Cr Krista Adams who supported our application for a BCC Environmental Grant allowing us to continue and expand our community education.

I’m looking forward to an even more amazing 2011 with FWR Group already locked in to join us for four Wednesday Bushcare events, the ANZ Fox Gully Team is planning to come back, BOIC will be visiting for a guided tour of our habitat restoration and our Green Tree Frog repopulation will be into its second generation.