Update on the SEE-Change Birdscaping Project – Pollinator Hotel and logs
Despite December 2018 – February 2019 being the hottest Canberra summer on record, the majority of plants at the Birdscaping site on David St in O’Connor have survived. In fact, plants are thriving and many have outgrown their cardboard guards. Most likely this is due to great plant selection (thanks to Greening Australia and ACT for Bees for bird and pollinator species advice), good planting practice, follow up watering and mulching.
The list of plants we used is here. We hope you are inspired to grow some of these species in your own garden to provide habitat and encourage pollinators.
The final stages of the project is to position some logs on site and to construct a pollinator hotel. The logs will break down and provide habitat for bugs and therefore food for birds and will double as seating for human visitors. We’ve been inspired by examples of beautiful insect hotels and are hatching plans with local bee experts to create our own masterpieces.
We are excited, that we’ve inspired two groups in Lyneham to plan their own Birdscaping projects.
Along with the Molonglo Conservation Group we have proposed 3 more birdscaping projects to provide habitat islands along Sullivans Ck for endangered birds and the naturalisation of parts of Sullivans Creek. More information here.
The more habitat the better.
Community Working Bee – 1st December 2018
Thirty seven volunteers came to plant out the final garden bed in the Birdscaping project. It was a hot day but with plenty of drinks, sunscreen and rests in the shade we managed to get 600 plants in the ground and to complete all the planting for this project. That’s a total of 2000 plants! We also had some children who decorated the trees with pom-poms.
Everyone enjoyed a celebratory lunch with a delicious food from My Rainbow Dreams. Of course we had too much food, but it was great to have the opportunity to chat and celebrate community and the completion of the planting.
The plants will be watered and weeded through the summer and hopefully will show some good growth over the next few months. We will also be installing some logs and a bee hotel in the new year.
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered with the planting for the Birdscaping project and who has given their time and interest. We hope that the Birdscaping project has inspired many people to think about planting vegetation as habitat for our native small birds. We trust that you will keep an interested in the project and enjoy seeing the plants grow as you walk or cycle past.
You might like to watch this 3 minute video of the project: Birdscaping #CBR
Community Working Bee – 10th November 2018
Twenty seven wonderful volunteers planted out 550 native shrubs and ground covers today. Everyone really worked hard and we completely finished another two whole garden beds. Many plants were also used to fill up other planted areas. The whole Birdscaping site is really looking wonderful with all the little plant guards a testimony to volunteering and a promise of a beautiful landscape to come.
Only one more working bee and 600 plants to go, please join us on 1st December.
Conservation Volunteers Australia
Three huge piles of mulch have been supplied by the ACT government and they were spread out by Conservation Volunteers Australia. The volunteers all working so hard with wheelbarrows and buckets. The plants look so happy with their mulch blanket on. Fingers crossed for the rain which is forecast over this week.
Community Working Bee – 3rd November 2018
Last Saturday was a lot of fun with local volunteers and the 13th Canberra Scout group coming along to the planting day. It was a sunny afternoon and we tried to keep in the shade as much as possible. Everyone worked so hard with such a happy spirit.
There was no stopping this group, they just busily planted up one garden bed and then moved onto the next. They completed four and a half garden beds and only stopped when the water cart ran dry! Another 450 plants have found a home!
It was great to be able to chat over a cool drink and yummy some afternoon tea. The children were really busy workers – at planting, eating cake and pom pom making!
Working Bee with Turner Primary School – 24 October
The first working bee of the Birdscaping project kicked off with a small group of enthusiastic local volunteers and a bigger group of enthusiastic students. Turner Primary School Students from the Green Ranger program were great fun, industrious, and with a little adult help, planted out a large garden bed.
The students were lovely and it was wonderful to hear one students said ” This is my new favourite thing! I love gardening!”
It was a successful day with about 400 plants in the ground.
Mulch has been delivered and holes dug – so now it’s time for the Community Planting days.
We’d really love your help, so come along with your friends and family and help plant this wonderful site. Working bee details are:
- 24 October- mid week with Turner Primary School students
- 3 November
- 10 November
- 1 December
After the plants are in the ground, we have arranged a crew from Conservation Volunteers Australia to spread the mulch.
To help the plants get off to a good start, Greening Australia will water and Conservation Volunteers will weed the garden beds over the summer months. We hope the plants will be happily established by then.
Background to the project….
Back in late 2017 SEE-Change obtained an ACT Environment Grant to create some re-vegetation along Sullivans Creek in O’Connor. The SEE-Change project is called Birdscaping #CBR: bringing back birds, butterflies and bees.
Wildlife corridors are missing in Canberra’s suburbs and many animals such as small birds are absent. Canberra has lots of mown grass and scattered mature trees, while attractive, don’t provide many habitat opportunities. This sort of landscape favours larger more aggressive birds, like Currawongs, Wattle Birds and Noisy Miners. The idea of the project is to reinstate a diverse range of locally occurring native plants that will provide homes for critters.
SEE-Change has envisioned a vegetation corridor stretched along the creek line from David St to Macarthur Ave. We conducted two community consultations on site in February 2018. The community were unanimously supportive and many people expressed a wish to help out on the planting days (thank you!). We had hoped to begin planing in Autumn but we had a hitch…
What was the hitch?
On 24 and 25 February 2018 Canberra experienced an extremely heavy rainfall event. The flooding along Sullivans Creek resulted in the inundation of the proposed revegetation areas.
We reassessed the project in view of future potential flood risks and held lengthy consultations with the ACT government.
Based on these discussions, we refocused the project on a triangular portion of block 7, section 91 (see rough sketch). This triangle of urban open space of approximately 3000sqm is directly opposite Turner Primary School, on David St O’Connor.
This area has a good connection to the native vegetation surrounding the David St wetland and the adjacent playground. We hope that this is just the first stage of the project and we can arrange some additional plantings to the north, towards Macarthur Ave.
What will happen next?
We now have our permit from the ACT government! In mid October sections of the site will be prepared by Greening Australia for planting and the community will be invited to a series of working bees to install plants and cardboard guards (to protect plants from predation and dogs and people).
Four working bees will occur throughout 2018. More details will come out soon, but her are some dates for your diary:
- 20 October
- late October – mid week with Turner Primary School students.
- 3 November
- 10 November.
Greening Australia will water the plants fortnightly for three months while Conservation Volunteers Australia will assist with plant maintenance and weeding over the summer. We wish to set up a community group who will maintain the plants for two years. After two years the plants should begin to thrive.
Bird experts will be invited to survey the site, before, during and after the revegetation to monitor bird numbers.
We are also working with ACT for Bees and plan to construct a bee hotel for the site.
How will we attract small birds?
Studies by Greening Australia shows that by restoring groundcovers and shrub layers (in which small birds can nest, forage and hide) the numbers of small native birds will increase. Vulnerable bird species, like the Scarlet Robin will benefit from the recreation of this type of habitat. The inclusion of logs will increase the range of invertebrates, including beetles, butterflies, moths and bees which many birds feed on.
Research by the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment found that the Scarlet Robin risks extinction in the ACT within the next 25-50 years.
Factsheet on Vulnerable ACT birds
What plants will we use?
We will use locally occurring hardy native plants suitable for the area. These will be sourced from Greening Australia.
How many plants?
We will install 1980 tubestock (small plants) which have a good chance at being successfully established.
How can you be involved?
If you are interested in volunteering for the working bees and assisting in planting, please get in contact with us on: firstname.lastname@example.org