Saturday December 5th, International Day of the Volunteer, was host to a Forum on the Biodiversity of western Sydney (the Cumberland Plain). The Forum was held in Luddenham, and attracted over 60 people, which was a fantastic turn out for an environmental event in western Sydney.
Six presentations were given to the audience, including Peter Ridgeway from Greater Sydney Local Land Services, on the topic of Old Growth trees. Pete explained that 80% of Sydney’s old growth remains in a handful of trees in the west, and showed some amazing photos of examples.
Chad Beranek from Gumnut Naturalist, who has recently carried out fauna surveys on project sites of the Cumberland Plain Restoration Program, presented on discoveries according to vegetation type. He also presented a wild wish list on how we could encourage more corridors and connections in the landscape.
Mark Fuller, an enthusiastic presenter, from Avianation presented on an amazing array of bird discoveries on the Cumberland Plain. He also spoke about Corridors and led his presentation to the Cumberland Land Conservancy (CLC) and the works carried out on Wallaroo, CLC’s largest property, located in Mulgoa.
Ricardo Lonza, champion of Save the bushland of Campbelltown and surrounds, spoke of his story related to rescuing and fighting for the Koala populations in the Campbelltown area. It was heartwarming to hear from Ricardo, a community person who has done so much for our iconic species, the Koala.
Shane Davies from Turtle Rescues NSW, played a video on the work of this amazing community group, showcasing the rescuing of turtles out of the way of developers. For so long, developers had been filling in dams without regard to what is in the water, until now. Turtle Rescue is contracted by a number of developers to rescue turtles – and what ever else they find (eels, lizards, frogs etc). One dam can extract 40 turtles. Overall this means these guys are saving thousands for us!
Finally, Dr David Eldridge from the University of NSW, presented on mosses, lichens and liverworts. David did an amazing job in holding the audiences attention as the last presentation – and the only after lunch. People were amazed to learn about moss and lichen as habitat, and what functions these cryptic species play in the environment, including slowing water flow and reducing erosion. In other words, if you can see moss or lichen in the landscape it tells a story of little or no disturbance – in that area atleast.
After all the amazing presentations the group broke into groups facilitated by each presenter to brainstorm ideas for the future of western Sydney’s environment and the Cumberland Plain generally. Comments were captured on butchers paper and will be compiled into a small report/ booklet for distribution to stakeholders across the region.
One common theme was that we need to connect with each other and work as a regional network, if we ever want to be able to connect our remaining natural landscape.
The Forum on the Biodiversity of western Sydney was a Greater Sydney Landcare event, for the Cumberland Plain Restoration Program (CPRP). The CPRP is a Saving our Species project with financial assistance from the Environmental Trust. Additional funding was provided to the event from the National Landcare Program.