Lantana Land No More – An Environmental Education Project

Lantana Land No More – An Environmental Education Project

Cattai Hills Environment Network (CHEN) teamed up with the Hawkesbury-Nepean Landcare Network to facilitate and assist Lorien Novalis School undertake a project that would engage a class of year 9 students with the bushland that resides within the school grounds.

This bushland was primarily dominated by three environmental weeds, Lantana Comara, Ochna serrulata, and Ligustrum lucidum. Indeed, the Dooral Dooral creek which flows through this bushland was not accessible to the students due to these weeds. We thought this creek would be a valuable asset to help educate the students on water health, as well as give the students the opportunity to contribute to its health through weed management.

With the help and communication between the teachers at Lorien Novalis, Katherine Clare, the Hawkesbury-Nepean Landcare Coordinator and Danielle Packer, the Cattai Aware Urban Project Officer at CHEN, we organised a project that would entail removing Lantana Comara to free the native plants that were being suffocated by the weed and to create a pathway to gain access to the Dooral Dooral creek, in which the weeds were restricting access to.  The plan also included the creation of a meeting circle within the area that had a fireplace and a humpy for the students to use. Due to the enormous amount of Lantana there was on this particular site, the name ‘Lantana land’ was given but with the aim of making it Lantana land no more..

 

Free the Natives!

After teaching the students how to remove Lantana safely, the first mission was to remove the Lantana that was burying the native trees. We called it operation, ‘Free the Natives!”

It was such a thrill when the students revealed the native trees underneath the Lantana, a very satisfying and rewarding process the students enjoyed. All the students got involved which was great to see and by doing so, accomplished a tremendous amount of work in just one two hour session!

 

Career Session

After our first session, we went to the hall to talk to the students about working in the environmental field including those in year 11 who came to visit. Among other topics, we touched on the importance of volunteering and how the skills you learn in volunteering opportunities such as Bushcare and Streamwatch can really help you stand out to employers. After our talk, a couple students expressed interest in getting involved in volunteer opportunities such as bushcare and are keeping in regular contact with CHEN and Landcare for further assistance in getting ahead on their environmental career path.

 

Reflection

After seven sessions of bush regeneration in Lantana Land, the creation of a humpy and a meeting circle, we huddled together with damper on a fire and reflected on what we all had learnt. It was great to see interest expressed from the students, and the simple lessons they learnt such as the significant impact of team work, the importance of looking after the land and an understanding of weeds and how they impact bushland and water quality.

Want More Environmental Engagement At Your School?

CHEN and the Hawkesbury-Nepean Landcare Network are looking for schools that want to engage in similar activities related to environmental education. If you would like to reach out to organize a meeting to discuss potential ideas for your school, community group or other, please feel free to contact CHEN’s Project Officer, Danielle Packer (danielle@chen.org.au) or the Hawkesbury-Nepean Landcare Coordinator, Katherine Clare (landcare@hrcc.nsw.gov.au).

Otherwise, being a part of Sustainable Schools NSW, is a great way to ‘connect environmental educators with relevant resources, interactive lessons and a like-minded community to help spread the important message of sustainability to future generations.’

 

What is Citizen Science?

Streamwatch

Citizen Science is the collection and analysis of data collected by the general public to be used for scientific research. It is usually done collaboratively with professional scientists. It can also be described as public participation in scientific research.

Citizen science is very important as it enables scientists to collect data that would otherwise be impossible or expensive to collect by themselves. With the help of modern technology, people from all over the world can contribute to scientific studies by sharing data with each other.

Community Groups

Scientists often work with community groups as they may already be involved in similar projects, for example if they are working to help their local wildlife, and the citizen science program involves identifying wildlife species, then this collaboration will assist both parties in reaching their goals. The community groups are especially helpful as they can help by promoting the project to bring in new people, to generate ideas, and engage with scientists for advice.

A community group will have a variety of people with different skills and backgrounds too,  so scientists will be able to utilize these skills to expand their project and data collection methods. Volunteers can include kids, school students, amateur scientists, retirees and educators.

Citizen science programs are also a great opportunity for students and other volunteers to increase their knowledge and skills in a particular area.  Looking into volunteering opportunities that relate to your studies will greatly increase your chances in getting a job.

Citizen Science at CHEN

If you are looking into working in the environment field, whether it is on the research or community engagement side of things, volunteering with a group that increases knowledge and gives you valuable skills, will be very beneficial to your future career.

CHEN has a Landcare group that includes bush regeneration and citizen science opportunities. Our citizen science opportunities include, water quality testing which is in collaboration with Streamwatch; identifying and taking hollow measurements, which is in collaboration with Hollows as Homes; and Frog ID which is in collaboration with the Australian Museum.

We also partake in bush regeneration activities which is not a citizen science project but does provide you with knowledge and skills related to land management and plant identification.

If you want to get ahead in your career by partaking in such activities, please contact us to get involved.

Please email, danielle@chen.org.au for more information, otherwise click this link to be added to the Fred Caterson Landcare Group where you can keep up to date with what we are doing and come along!

 

The WINNER of the Cattai Challenge is…..Leanne Tran!

The WINNER of the Cattai Challenge is…

The WINNER of the Cattai Challenge is…..Leanne Tran!!Her Eco-tip was Worm Farming! This enabled her to divert her household food waste from landfill and instead use it for her worms 🐛😁We are very excited to give away our Eco- Bundle to Leanne and we thank her for sharing with us her Eco-tip 💚

Posted by Cattai Hills Environment Network CHEN on Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Her Eco-tip was Worm Farming! This enabled her to divert her household food waste from landfill and instead use it for her worms.

We are very excited to give away our Eco- Bundle to Leanne and we thank her for sharing with us her Eco-tip.

Read more!

Day 14 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

Today’s last and final Eco-tip is concerning the plastic endemic again!

When out food shopping, instead of using plastic bags to hold your fruit and vegetables, bring with you some Reusable Produce Bags!

The ones I have, from EVERECO are actually made from Recycled plastic water bottles! So that is another Eco bonus

These Produce Bags come with our Eco-bundle too, so be sure to post a photo of you helping your environment on our page by 5pm today to WIN our Eco-bundle!

Best of luck!

Day 13 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Reduce Your Purchasing Habits

Day 13 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Reduce Your Purchasing Habits

Today’s Eco Tip is about reducing our purchasing habits.

Clothing is a great example of an item that we purchase regularly, and it has been getting more regular as fast-fashion becomes more prone in our society. 

The production of clothing uses a lot of our natural resources such as land and water.

‘In fact, it takes on average 10,000 litres of water to cultivate just one kilogram of raw cotton Read more…

Day 12 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Recycling your Soft Plastics

Day 12 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Recycling your Soft Plastics

The Eco tip of the day is Recycling your Soft Plastics!♻️

Collect your soft plastics and return them to Coles or Woolworths, where they will be a bin waiting for your waste to be recycled!

Having ONE Bin in the household was the norm, where all our waste went straight to landfill. Nowadays there are other ways we can dispose of our waste more thoughtfully. 😁

Soft plastics include:
– Shopping bags including ‘green’ bags
– Fresh Fruit and Veggie bags and wrappers
– Bread bags
– Cereal box liners
– Biscuit wrappers and confectionary packaging
– Rice and pasta packets
– Frozen food bags

Day 12 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge! The Eco tip of the day is Recycling your Soft Plastics!♻️ Collect your soft plastics and return them to Coles or Woolworths, where they will be a bin waiting for your waste to be recycled! Having ONE Bin in the household was the norm, where all our waste went straight to landfill. Nowadays there are other ways we can dispose of our waste more thoughtfully. 😁Soft plastics include: – Shopping bags including ‘green’ bags- Fresh Fruit and Veggie bags and wrappers- Bread bags- Cereal box liners- Biscuit wrappers and confectionary packaging- Rice and pasta packets – Frozen food bags

Posted by Cattai Hills Environment Network CHEN on Sunday, 19 April 2020

Day 11 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Support an Organisation

Day 11 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Support an Organisation

Today’s tip is all about supporting an organisation that is making fundamental change to Australia’s bush land.

I am donating to Bush Heritage Australia

“They buy and manage land for conservation and partner with Aboriginal groups and other land owners (such as farmers), to help them plan and achieve conservation goals on their land too”

Day 11 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge!

Day 11 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge!Today’s tip is all about supporting an organisation that is making fundamental change to Australia’s bush land! I am donating to Bush Heritage Australia!“They buy and manage land for conservation and partner with Aboriginal groups and other land owners (such as farmers), to help them plan and achieve conservation goals on their land too”Link to website: https://www.bushheritage.org.au/what-we-doIf there is an organisation that you have heard of and you love the work they are doing for the environment, help them out by donating, sharing their work on social media or even find out about volunteering opportunities!It’s a great way to help our local environment from home during isolation.If there is an organisation you love, please share it with us on our page! That can be your way of entering the Cattai Challenge as you help your local environment by spreading the good work of these organisations. 🌳😊

Posted by Cattai Hills Environment Network CHEN on Saturday, 18 April 2020

Link to website: https://www.bushheritage.org.au/what-we-do. You can also find them on Facebook and learn about the properties and species they encounter day to day on their Instagram @bushheritageaus.

If there is an organisation that you have heard of and you love the work they are doing for the environment, help them out by donating, sharing their work on social media or even find out about volunteering opportunities.

It’s a great way to help our local environment from home during isolation.

If there is an organisation you love, please share it with us on our page! That can be your way of entering the Cattai Challenge as you help your local environment by spreading the good work of these organisations. 

Day 9 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Join a Bush care group

Day 9 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Join a Bush care group

Today’s Eco- tip is to join your local Bush Care Group!

Day 9 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge!

Day 9 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge! Today’s Eco- tip is to join your local Bush Care Group!CHEN is offering the chance to be a part of a Bush Care Group at the Fred Caterson Reserve 😁This Bush Care group will involve bush regeneration activities along with other social activities such as:🌳 BBQ’s🌳 Bush Walks with detective trails 🌳 Yoga in Nature🌳 Tree planting🌳 Painting🌳 Bird Spotting🌳 Frog ID🌳 Tea leaf making The possibilities are endless! We hope to meet monthly. Of course during COVID19 we cannot begin meeting up for these bushcare activities just yet but in the mean time we would love to know who would want to be involved once isolation is lifted!If you would like to receive more information about joining a Bush Care group in the near future, please comment below and we will send you some details! If you would like to join another Bush Care group in a different area, click this link to find more existing groups near you!https://www.thehills.nsw.gov.au/Services/Environmental-Management/Bushcare/Join-a-Bushcare-Group

Posted by Cattai Hills Environment Network CHEN on Thursday, 16 April 2020

CHEN is offering the chance to be a part of a Bush Care Group at the Fred Caterson Reserve 😁

This Bush Care group will involve bush regeneration activities along with other social activities such as:

BBQ’s
Bush Walks with detective trails
Yoga in Nature
Tree planting
Painting
Bird Spotting
Frog ID
Tea leaf making

The possibilities are endless! We hope to meet monthly. Of course during COVID19 we cannot begin meeting up for these bushcare activities just yet but in the mean time we would love to know who would want to be involved once isolation is lifted!

If you would like to receive more information about joining a Bush Care group in the near future, please comment below and we will send you some details!

If you would like to join another Bush Care group in a different area, click this link for Hills Bushcare to find more existing groups near you!

Day 8 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Grow Your Own Food

Day 8 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge – Grow Your Own Food

Today’s tip is about the benefits of growing your own food for the environment from home!

Benefits include:
🌱 Reducing food miles, emissions and food waste (from being damaged during transport and being rejected by Supermarkets due to aesthetics)
🌱 Reducing the use of plastic packaging
🌱 Avoids the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers on our food
🌱 Prevents large areas of bushland being cut down to make way for Agriculture, therefore also protecting our Native Wildlife’s habitat 🐨 🌳

Day 8 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge!

Day 8 of the 14 Day Cattai Challenge! 🌱 Today’s tip is about the benefits of growing your own food for the environment from home!Benefits include:🌱 Reducing food miles, emissions and food waste (from being damaged during transport and being rejected by Supermarkets due to aesthetics)🌱 Reducing the use of plastic packaging🌱 Avoids the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers on our food 🌱 Prevents large areas of bushland being cut down to make way for Agriculture, therefore also protecting our Native Wildlife’s habitat 🐨 🌳 If you don’t want to grow your own food but want to support locally grown produce, let me introduce to you… Community Supported Agriculture!CSA is a model that connects farmers and consumers; people buy shares in a farms projected harvest in advance and then receive regular deliveries of fresh produce! 🥬 🥕 🍎 Below is a link to an example of a CSA:http://harvestfarms.com.au/

Posted by Cattai Hills Environment Network CHEN on Wednesday, 15 April 2020

If you don’t want to grow your own food but want to support locally grown produce, let me introduce to you… Community Supported Agriculture!

CSA is a model that connects farmers and consumers; people buy shares in a farms projected harvest in advance and then receive regular deliveries of fresh produce!  🍎

Below is a link to an example of a CSA:
http://harvestfarms.com.au/