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Gazette Article

Artarmon bushcare turns 20

Artarmon has embraced sustainability in the past years with water tanks, solar panels, chooks and vegie gardens springing up across the suburb. There is also a much longer, but possibly lesser known, history of Artarmon residents caring for our unique bushland environment.

Twenty years ago, some Burra Rd residents looked out at the beautiful bush reserve that had drawn them to Artarmon and saw weedy creepers strangling and suffocating the native trees.

 “That can't be right”, they muttered to each other and, banding together, they began to rip down the invaders.

Despite initial encouraging results, in their enthusiasm they unfortunately scattered weed seeds over a wide area, creating another five years hard labour for themselves. Council officers stepped in to give them some professional guidance and the first Artarmon bushcare group was born.

The people-powered movement has steadily grown and three Artarmon bushcare groups now contribute to a total of 49 groups city-wide in Willoughby.

Council trains its volunteer bushcarers in an adaptation of the Bradley sisters' method for “bringing back the bush”. A plan is laid out and weeds are patiently removed, mostly by hand, to enable native seeds to germinate and reclaim their habitat. As well as training, council provides a mentor to each group and all necessary equipment to carry out the work well and safely.

Volunteer bushcaring complements a range of other council activities such as ecological burns and, over time, transforms areas from monoculture weed masses to thriving communities of diverse native species. The satisfaction for bushcarers watching this happen is immense.

Buchcarers include residents living close to the bush, some from units or townhouses who enjoy the big bush garden experience and others such as teenagers doing community work for their Duke of Edinburgh award. The formal age range for bushcaring is 15 to 90 but some younger children attend with parents and enjoy looking and learning about the bush.

The groups are a great demonstration of people being motivated to work together as a social group for the environment. The volunteers of various ages, some dedicated experts and enthusiasts and others more casual, enjoy working in each others' company and relaxing over the morning teas which are an important ritual for every bushcare group.

Weekend weeders can join a group that meets in Artarmon Reserve the second Sunday each month from 9am, and weekday weeders have the choice of weeding in the Artarmon Reserve the 1st and 3rd Wednesday from 9 am or caring for the “sensory garden” near the railway underpass every first and second Thursday, from 10am. Each runs three hours. Everyone is welcome to attend all or part of the session.

For further info, go to Or, if strolling through the reserve on a bushcare morning, check it out and chat with the volunteers at work. Every resident with a garden or pet can help in the bushcare effort by encouraging native species, not disposing of garden waste in the bush and keeping the bush free of pets and their waste.

Contacts for the bushcare groups in Artarmon are: Bob (9958 6825) for first and third Wednesday group in Artarmon Reserve; Brenda (9419 2433) for second Thursday group at the Sensory Garden; and Phil (9419 6536) for second Sunday group in Artarmon Reserve.

by Alethea Morison

Courtesy of Gazette February 2012
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L-R: Louse, Anita, Li, Linda, Zhang, Phillip, Robert, Barry, Rhoda, Asha, Alethea, Neil, Stuart and niece, Jan ... Sunday morning bushcare group socialising over morning tea
Photo: WCC





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