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EcoUpdate: July 2024

We started this year’s EcoUpdate with a marine theme, went on to eucalyptus and this time, Bird is the Word! I’m excited to announce that tickets are now available for EcoNetwork’s second Bird Forum. Last year we brought you woodland birds – this August 4th it’s the tern of the waterbirds from the sea to the shore!

It’s NAIDOC Week this week – and on Worimi Country, there’s a host of wonderful family activities in Raymond Terrace, Murrook and Nelson Bay.

Thanks to all the members and affiliates who contributed to making the 2024 Sustainable Living Festival such a great day. We appreciate all those people who braved the weather to attend the wonderful event at Medowie. 

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 May 2024 edition – and right back to 2021.

Many thanks for your interest and support. See you soon!


P.S. Please share this newsletter with your friends, or they can sign up to receive it directly.

From the Sea to the Shore – Bird Forum Sunday 4 August

Enjoy an afternoon of engaging presentations about the incredible diversity of coastal birds in beautiful Port Stephens. This will be a rare opportunity to hear from experts and researchers, and learn about their monitoring and recovery programs including Gould’s Petrel, Albatross sp and the Eastern Curlew.

More details about our speakers and the program are here

Early glimpses into the Worimi Lands Board

EcoNetwork vice-president, Sue Olsson, reports on her new position on the Worimi Conservation Lands Board of Management and outlines some of the main points about the Worimi journey of co-management with the NSW government.

Sue also highlights the significance of the recently-opened NPWS & WCLB integrated office and depot. Only one of its kind across NSW NPWS, it is jointly-funded, designed and delivered through this partnership.

Read more

Culturally-informed Cool Burn Program

A culturally-informed cool burn is a low-intensity fire designed to improve land health, re-establish appropriate fire regimes, and reduce the risk and impact of wildfires.

In 2020, the first Firesticks Mentoring Program began in the Hunter region which culminated in the recognition of 22 new Cultural Fire Practitioners in 2023. The graduation ceremony took place at Murrook Culture Centre on Nelson Bay Road.

Learn more about Firesticks, their important work here in Port Stephens, and hear from Worimi and Bundjalung Associate Fire Practitioner, Whitney Ridgeway.

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Affiliate Profile: WET

EcoNetwork is delighted to have Wetland and Ecological Treatment Systems (WET Systems) as a business member of the network. They specialise in managing wastewater and do it in a sustainable, efficient and ecologically-friendly way.

Having professionals like Tom and Jo contribute expertise and skills that helps to diversify our membership base, and ensures that best practice ways of working nationally and internationally can be applied on a local level.

Read more

New energy projects – potential impacts on nature

We hear a lot about how climate change brings social, environmental and economic impacts. It affects everything. In our effort to decarbonise our world, a raft of new energy projects being rolled out are creating some concerns as to how they may impact our natural environment. This is what has been termed the Green vs Green dilemma.

EcoNetwork’s vice-president, Sue Olsson, has collated a summary of some of the main concerns, and highlights how, in the meantime, a variety of existing threats to wildlife are not being adequately addressed.

Read more

Study of risks and benefits – Hunter’s offshore wind

Later this year, the Hunter Community Environment Centre will release a research report detailing the environmental risks and benefits of developing offshore wind energy in the Hunter. It is important that ‘the balance between the pace and scale of wind energy growth and the protection of marine ecology, and other economic and social activities must be publicly evident during all stages of planning and development, construction, operation, decommissioning, and recycling.’

The impacts facing biodiversity and communities will be set out in the report, as well as the recommendations to mitigate them.

Read more

Sanctuary & Renew – sustainable living and technology at its best

Did you know that Port Stephens locals are regular contributors to the leading national sustainability magazine, Renew: technology for a sustainable future.

One of EcoNetwork’s founding members, Kassia Klinger, has written about women solar pioneers, and Rob McCann from Anna Bay features in the latest issue asking ‘Can we plant our way out of climate change?’

And in Sanctuary: Modern Green Homes magazine, the theme of the current issue is small & smart design. It features a gorgeous backyard studio on the front cover created by a local architect and a master builder from Newcastle – it’s like no granny flat you ever saw!

Annual subscriptions from only $49 are available online, or contact us for a sample copy.

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

Welcome to a new regular column about some of the interactions we have with the wildlife in our backyards and neighbourhoods. Many encounters are pleasant – some less so. We’ll use some examples and make suggestions on how we can avoid inadvertently harming or endangering the wildlife around us through our actions.

This first instalment is about windows – particularly the transparent problem of birds flying into them. If you enjoy attracting birds to your garden, it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re safe from pets, poisons and reflective glass.

Read more

Kings Hill Update

Four more submissions in reference to two new precinct DAs in the Kings Hill Urban Release Area have been prepared by EcoNetwork’s Koala Koalition and by the Voice of Wallalong and Woodville.

The proposed development at Precinct 6 will be accessed via the entrance to a collector road on Newline Road running through Precinct 7 and over a bridge connecting the two.

Our members have been campaigning long and hard for a reduction in the amount of land clearing in prime koala habitat at for Kings Hill.

See our new Kings Hill webpage

Happy 40th birthday Tomaree National Park!

Throughout 2024 the National Parks Association (NPA), through its two local groups, the Friends of Tomaree National Park and the Port Stephens Walking group, is Celebrating 40 years of Tomaree National Park | 2024 with a range of activities.

Read the program from July – December 2024.

Long and short walks, wildflower walks, night walks, a celebratory picnic for nature with activities, a Tomaree forum, and for your input an online treasure trove of what the community cherishes about Tomaree National Park.

Join us for Forest Regen at One Mile’s headland on 27 July – more details and to register.

Read more

Orangutans – A Conservation Legacy

The University of Newcastle and Hunter Innovation and Science Hub are excited to be hosting Orangutan Foundation International Founder and living legend, Dr Birute Mary Galdikas, in August. Dr Birute has been instrumental in saving these majestic creatures from extinction.

Don’t miss a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear from Dr Birute Galdikas herself at her only public speaking event while in Australia at 6pm on Tuesday, 6th August at Newcastle City Hall.

Buy tickets now

Southern Blast

Southern Blast from Surfrider Foundation documents the threat seismic blasting poses to the marine life found along Australia’s rugged Southern Ocean coastlines. The film follows a crew of top Australian surfers, marine biologists, ocean experts and locals of the region, as they explore what the coldest, and most remote waves in the country mean to them – and why our oceans must be protected from the destructive practices of ‘one of the largest oil and gas proposals in Australian history.’

SOUTHERN BLAST | A film about the Southern Sea and how we save it

Save the southern sea from seismic blasting

Is Port Stephens becoming a super quarry for Sydney?

“There has been a failure by government to engage in strategic planning in relation to quarry developments despite calls for this from the community. Unless of course the strategic plan is to simply transform our area into a super quarry for Sydney.” Save Balickera inc.

Please read the rest of this speech by Save Balickera to the Independent Planning Commission, it is an important and emotional plea on behalf of the local community to reconsider the expansion of Eagleton and other quarries in the Italia Rd area.

A coalition of 15 local community groups are campaigning against further quarries in the Port Stephens, Mid-Coast and Dungog LGAs. On our updated webpage, you’ll see just how many submissions have been prepared by members, or for a summary, download the document ‘Lower Hunter Hard Rock Quarry Strategic and Conservation Planning February 2024’.

Read our updated quarries page

World Environment Day in Tomaree NP

On 5 June, World Environment Day, a group from the Friends of Tomaree National Park celebrated with planting the threatened Villous Mintbush, Prostanthera densa, with a team from the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program, SOS.

Prostanthera densa is an erect mint-smelling shrub that can grow up to 1-2m tall, though in the southern part of its range it is rarely more than 1 m tall. Urban development, throughout Villous Mintbush’s range, has been a major threat with the loss and fragmentation of habitat, including in Nelson Bay.

Read more

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