Menu Close

EcoUpdate: July 2023

Dear Friend

EcoUpdate began in 2021 aiming to help inform our members and community of local and other environmental news in more depth than is available on social media. Many thanks to all of you who have been contributing your local knowledge, experience or expertise to make that possible.

With permission of Cathy Wilcox

This is everyone’s opportunity to make a contribution to the bigger conservation picture in Port Stephens and I’m always on the look out for new content – so please email me about any successes, challenges or issues you’d like to get off your chest!

Many of our previous articles are still current, so if you missed them please see the May 2023 edition – and earlier.

Thank you for reading and sharing our stories.

Ewa Meyer

PS Please forward this edition to your members and friends, or they can sign up to receive it directly.

Our Network in Action – Affiliate Profile: VOWW

For those readers who haven’t heard of VOWW, it stands for Voice of Wallalong and Woodville and is a community group located in the western section of Port Stephens. Alison Rogers interviewed Margarete Ritchie, the President, to find out about VOWW and delve into why she is such a passionate and effective advocate for her community.

Join VOWW on their upcoming East Meets West Port Stephens Bus Tours of Discovery on 19 July or 5 August. Take the opportunity to explore local sites, visit historic locations, view rural vistas and learn about their environmental challenges.

Read More

Woodland Bird Forum – Program now available

Are you curious to discover more about the birds in your neighbourhood? If so, come along to EcoNetwork’s ‘Birds of Woodlands, Parks and Gardens in Port Stephens’ on 20 August 2023.

The aims of our forum are to inform and excite novice bird enthusiasts, and to supply you with some basic knowledge to identify bird species, observe their behaviours and appreciate their presence.

We particularly encourage birdwatching beginners, those wishing to attract birds to their garden or keen to participate in local bird walks and surveys.

Experienced bird nerds Louise Williams and Neil Fraser will be your wonderful presenters.

Program and bookings now available

Calls to end NSW Shark Meshing Program

Right now in the middle of the humpback whale migration off our east coast, the NSW state government has shown its disregard for cetaceans, sharks, turtles and other marine life by putting their dated shark meshing program out to tender! 

The Nets Out Now Coalition states: ‘Lethal programs designed to kill target sharks are ineffective at improving beach safety …’. ‘It is our position that lethal drumlines and shark nets should be replaced with non-lethal mitigation methods as a matter of urgency.’ Watch the film Envoy: Shark Cull – or hold a screening in your local community.

Please contact your local media and email the NSW Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe, Senior Manager Shark Programs DPI Scott Dalton and Port Stephens member Kate Washington

Shark nets could soon be back in NSW waters, despite backlash – ABC News 6 July 2023

The New South Wales government is facing renewed pressure to cease its shark net program as a new report questions the accuracy of collected catch data.  ABC News 14 June 2023

Read More

Support for Ramsar listing under consideration

At long last Port Stephens Council is having a serious look at the question of having the Mambo-Wanda Wetlands listed under the Ramsar Convention. A motion to that effect was passed unanimously at the June 13 meeting of Council following a presentation by Nigel Dique. The review doesn’t guarantee that Council will back Ramsar but a detailed report will now be prepared addressing any concerns.

Neil Fraser recently completed his study of the shorebirds and waterbirds that utilise Salamander Bay and associated habitats of the Mambo-Wanda Wetlands Reserves. The results further support the case for their permanent protection.

Read More

Vote YES 2023

It’s NAIDOC week and EcoNetwork members joined the march down Stockton St yesterday. It’s time to start up conversations in your community about the Referendum on constitutional recognition and the Voice. Even if the polls are right and the NO vote is ahead, what matters is that the focus is shifting from the opinions of federal politicians to those of us in our communities.

Here is a brief update on where things are at, where to find reliable information and a NAIDOC event to attend next Sunday at Hunter Region Botanic Gardens.

We also include a review of The Voice To Parliament Handbook which may help guide you and others on the process and help with making the right decision – YES?

Update on The Referendum

Seen any Swifties out there?

And no – we don’t mean Taylor fans! Our beautiful Swift Parrots are a critically endangered species and we need your help.

The 2023 Swift Parrot mainland season is well and truly underway, but only a few birds have been seen in NSW so far, and even fewer north of Sydney. BirdLife’s Woodland Bird Program Manager, Mick Roderick, encourages us to listen to the call (literally) and sign up for the Swift Parrot Search starting on 15 July.

Find out more

Council charging ahead with EV initiatives

Many thanks to Port Stephens Councillors Leah Anderson and Jason Wells for attending Renew Hunter’s Travelling Electric in May, and for connecting us with Council staff from the Strategy and Environment Section to discuss electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Visitors to Port Stephens driving EVs from beyond our region desperately need public charging facilities, it is essential for our local tourism industry. Renew Hunter Branch hopes to help bring together interested stakeholders, business and Council to help facilitate this and other sustainability initiatives.

Read More

Mambo-Wanda Wetlands – a chequered past

It was Sunday 1st October 2017, and over 400 people attended a protest meeting on the corner of Foreshore and Port Stephens Drive, Mambo Corner, and Kathy Brown could not have been more proud of our community.

Kathy takes us on a journey describing the many challenges facing the Mambo-Wanda Wetlands from as early as 1922 and how on each occasion the community was there to defend this critical ecosystem.

Read More

Koala Place or No Koala Place?

Koala Place, this quiet leafy cul-de-sac on the edge of Boat Harbour and One Mile off the Blanch St/Gan Gan Rd roundabout is at risk of becoming entertainment central for functions and backpackers.

One DA for a function centre is currently under assessment – a second DA submitted last month is for a massive expansion of the Surfside Backpackers at 2 Koala Place.

Yet another example of koala habitat and corridor being chipped away by DAs from each side. It is a cumulative and compounding process that is not sustainable. If you need more information, please contact EcoNetwork’s Koala Koalition.

Submissions for the Backpackers expansion close 14 July – please make your concerns known.

TRRA Update – June 2023

From The Place Plan for Medowie to development applications and Council policies, the Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association has been busier than ever,

We are very fortunate to have a community watchdog like TRRA looking after residents’ interests.

Read More

It’s Plastic Free July

This month, millions of people around the world are taking steps to refuse single-use plastic. For instance, Melanie says ‘I’m taking the plastic free step of using a bamboo toothbrush versus the plastic toothbrush.

One of the main reasons I switched is that the American Dental Association estimates that one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away in the US every year’.

WHAT’S YOUR STEP? If you’d like some inspiration from around the world, take a look at the PFJ video. By sharing your step online, we can encourage others to join in and be part of the solution to plastic pollution.

Read More & Watch the Video

Wondrous Winter Walking

Living in a seaside environment, so much of our focus is warm weather and water. Have you experienced the pleasure of walking in winter and early spring in our nature wonderland, both near and regionally?

A secret to walking in winter is wearing several layers to keep warm, then peel off as you warm up. Unlike spring and summer walking, you feel more invigorated and don’t overheat. And around Port Stephens there’s so many places to walk out of the wind.

Read More

Book reviews

The Voice to Parliament Handbook by Thomas Mayo. Reviewed by Ewa Meyer.

Whether you intend voting YES or NO or are UNDECIDED – should you read this booklet?

Read the Reviews

The Sea in Me by Jeannie Lawson. Reviewed by Alison Rogers.

Jeannie Lawson’s emotional connection to nature is so special, that she can translate her experiences into poetry.

What’s on

  • Sunday 9 July 10am -2.30pm. How are you celebrating this NAIDOC Week? Join us at Hunter Region Botanic Gardens to enjoy Aboriginal Dance workshops, story telling or sampling bush foods. More info and bookings
  • Wednesday 19 July and Saturday 5 August. East meets West bus tour of discovery. Explore the history of the Paterson, Hunter and Williams rivers, the rural vistas and villages with lunch in the historic pub in Hinton. $36 plus lunch. More information and bookings here.
  • 29 July – Bush regen. Give Morna Point, Boat Harbour, a helping hand!
  • Monday 14 August, 7.30 pm, Where Song Began by The Bowerbird Collective with Simone Slattery (violin) and Anthony Albrecht (cello). Inspired by the book of the same name by Tim Low. Explore the evolution of songbirds in this live classical and cinematic concert experience as part of the Newcastle Music Festival. Adamstown Arts at Adamstown Uniting Church. Bookings.
  • Sunday 20 August 2023 9.30am – 1.00pm. Birds of Woodlands, parks and gardens of Port Stephens. Our expert presenters will help you identify local bird species and where to spot them, local conservation projects you can get involved in, as well as tips on how to encourage birds to your garden. Free event organised by EcoNetwork. Program and bookings here.
  • September Wildflower walks in Tomaree National Park. 9 September 1.30 pm, 12 September 1.30 pm and 14 September 10 am. The Fingal area is a wonderland of winter and early spring wildflowers, especially along its sandy heathy woodlands. Book your spot.
  • 16 September Living Smart Festival, Speer’s Point Lake Macquarie.
  • 30 October – 3 November 2023 Joint National Coast to Coast & NSW Coastal Conference 2023. Newcastle Exhibition & Convention Centre. More information.


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