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EcoUpdate: March 2023

Dear members, friends and supporters,

Who hasn’t noticed it’s election week in NSW? Whoever wins will have urgent environmental and sustainability challenges to address.

I was excited to be invited to The Conversation’s regular news conference last Monday when their editors discuss upcoming stories and ideas. ‘Fear & Wonder’ is their new climate podcast which takes us inside the United Nations’ climate report via the hearts and minds of the scientists who wrote it. More details below.

If you’re reading EcoUpdate for the first time – Welcome! We hope you find something of interest in this edition – many of our previous articles are still current. So please have a look at the January 2023 edition – and back through 2022.

Many thanks for your interest and support of EcoNetwork and our affiliates.

Ewa Meyer

PS Please forward this edition to anyone you like (or don’t like) and they can sign up to receive it directly.

Offshore wind proposal off The Hunter

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy has proposed an area in Australian Commonwealth waters off the Hunter region for offshore renewable energy projects including wind.

EcoNetwork members were among the 70 or so people who attended the briefing session on Thursday 10 March. We include a detailed discussion about whether this proposal should go ahead or not.

Read More

Our Network in Action – Affiliate Profile: Rainbird Farm

We love to see small farms catering to their local community and we are so happy to have the opportunity to provide our produce to a growing lively and appreciative group of people.’

Meet EcoNetwork’s newest affiliate, Rainbird Farm, which is featured in a new series by Alison Rogers which comes under the banner of our exciting ‘Our Network in Action’ stories.

Read More

Celebrating 30 years of advocacy, action and education

EcoNetwork held a gathering of committee members and their partners at a special lunch at Saltwater to celebrate the 30 years since the launch of our organisation in 1993.

Founder Darrell Dawson was the special guest as were other early members. In leading up to EcoNetwork’s formation, Darrell was part of many community actions that demonstrated the need to influence through voice and unity, and bring together environmental groups independently run, yet affiliated in a show of strength.

Read More

Travelling Electric – locally!

In association with Tilligerry Habitat, Renew Hunter Branch is hosting a free event called Travelling Electric on Sunday 7 May 2023 from 2pm – 5pm. Features talks, a Q&A session with EV experts, displays and an opportunity to get a close look at electric cars, e-bikes and speak to their owners.

Renew, Habitat and EcoNetwork member, Les Pinney, will present ‘An Owners Perspective on Electric Vehicles’ and outline the different types, provide advice on charging, running costs and batteries as well as a look at the future of EV’s.

Register your interest in attending

Regent Honeyeaters in the Mistletoe

In the last EcoUpdate, we brought you the exciting news about the Regent Honeyeater project in the Tomalpin Woodlands near Cessnock. Check out the latest updates from researchers in the field with support from the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, and find out why an intriguing group of plants called mistletoes is so important to this critically endangered bird and other woodland species.

We also help with common misidentifications of this bird and what to do if you’re lucky enough to spot one.

Find out more

Cat control in NSW – how it could work

Following the article in January’s EcoUpdate, we received feedback from people wanting to support much-needed and overdue changes in legislation relating to cat control in NSW.

Opportunities exist for our state government to reduce wildlife predation by pet cats and the Invasive Species Council has produced a guide which summarises the laws that could and should be introduced by the next NSW government.

Whether you own a cat or not, we can all help – so please read the information and take action to help wildlife.

Find out more

What is WIL and why is it important to EcoNetwork?

EcoNetwork is always keen to seek out opportunities to work with young people. Recently, Alison Rogers presented some ideas to students at the University of Newcastle’s School of Environmental Science and Management. These included ongoing or potential projects that our affiliates could use some assistance with.

Find out which projects were proposed and how the Work Integrated Program (WIL) could help.

Read More

A Big Thank You from Mambo

Mambo Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group had a very busy month in February with 8 Mambo Walks and a Birds of Mambo talk in Tomaree Library.

Here is a gallery of photos from the various walks and acknowledgments from the Mambo group to their valued guides and presenters.

Anna Bay Heliport & TRRA Update

On 13 March, the Land and Environment Court Commissioner heard from 7 objectors at the site of the proposed heliport on Nelson Bay Road, Anna Bay. Representatives from the Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association (TRRA) and local residents continue to voice major concerns.

News just in yesterday – the conciliation process has terminated and the Court has fixed a timetable for hearing these proceedings.  The hearing has been fixed for 1-3 August 2023.

Read about other local issues that TRRA has been busy dealing with – and yes there has been success in improving some key Council policies, though staffing instability continues in the environment team.

State Government issues outlined include the submission on the Salt Ash sand mine, Gan Gan roadworks and the Williamtown Precinct.

Read More

Book review

Rewiring Australia by Saul Griffith. Reviewed by Rob McCann.

Nearly everyone has now heard of Saul Griffith – a very straight-talking scientist. But have you read his book about how we all can, not just should, contribute to solving the energy crisis here in Australia?

Maybe Rob McCann can persuade you to, not only read this book, but follow the common sense approach on how we can all take an active role in the transition to renewable energy.

Read the Review

So how do scientists know the climate is changing?

And what does it feel like to carry that knowledge and do their vital work at this crucial juncture in Earth’s history?

Fear & Wonder is a new podcast from The Conversation that takes you inside the UN’s climate report via the hearts and minds of the scientists who wrote it. Hosted by climate scientist Dr Joëlle Gergis and lead IPCC author and award-winning journalist Michael Green. Subscribe and listen to the Fear and Wonder podcast.


  • And if you still need to convince someone that Australia can make a difference to global carbon emissions, do watch this video from The Weekly: Charlie Pickering vs Alan Jones.
  • Important reminder: please register to receive DA notifications by email directly from Port Stephens Council. As this is a trial only until 30 June, a review in July will determine whether this continues as a permanent initiative – so please take this opportunity to be informed and have your say. It’s too late to complain after the fact!

What’s on

  • Sunday 7 May 2023 from 2pm – 5pm. Travelling Electric at Tilligerry Habitat, Tanilba Bay. A free event featuring talks, displays and an opportunity to get a close look at some electric vehicles and speak to their owners. Organised by Renew Hunter Region Branch. More details and to register here.
  • Sunday 20 August 2023 from 9.30am – 1.00pm. Tomaree Community Centre. Introduction to the birds of woodlands, parks and gardens in Port Stephens. Free event organised by EcoNetwork. More details and to register here.

EcoNetwork Port Stephens

Our Vision: Ecologically sustainable communities existing in harmony with the natural environment.

Our Purpose: To support our members and to educate and advocate on environmental issues that impact Port Stephens communities. : : facebook