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Parramatta and Hills District Group

Group News

Berowra Valley National Park Wildflower Walk  - 27 July 2019

Led by Jennifer Farrer

On a beautiful sunny July day, we met at Trevors Lane, Cherrybrook, for a gentle bushwalk in Berowra Regional Park, to see the early show of spring flowers.

The terrain is Hawkesbury sandstone ridgetop with extensive rock platforms and deep gullies through which run Berowra

Creek and its tributaries. The soil on the ridgetop is sandy loam. The vegetation on the ridgetop is Hills Sclerophyll Sandstone Forest.

We identified >40 species in flower and we probably missed some more.

We took a leisurely few hours walking the track, taking great delight in spotting the different flowering plants and trying to identify the species.

See full report...

GARDENS of STONE PRESERVATION  22nd June 2019  Keith Muir

At our meeting on 22nd June, Keith Muir fired up our group with his description of the unique, amazing Gardens of Stone. This area is just west of the Blue Mountains National Park, and its southern edge is close to Lithgow. The area contains large rock formations weathered into a myriad of fantastic shapes. They are referred to as pagodas. The rock is a mixture of ironstone and sandstone which weather at different rates. The fantastic shapes are the result of the sandstone weathering much faster than the ironstone.

Keith Muir is the executive director of the Colong Foundation. This organisation has worked long and hard to ensure the preservation of areas of our unique wilderness, including the Gardens of Stone. For many years there has been no headway with the push to declare more of the Gardens of Stone as national park, largely because of active coal mining leases there. More recently the Colong Foundation has changed tack. The current proposal is to increase the tourist potential of this most scenic area, which would offer the city of Lithgow a much-needed economic boost. The area, currently state forest, could be declared a Conservation Area under the care of National Parks. “Responsible mining” (whatever that is) would still be allowed. State Forests has no objection, as there is minimal suitable timber for harvest. The local aboriginal group are happy, as their important and sacred sites would be protected from development. Keith Muir and his group have presented this as offering economic renewal to the community. Tourists would seek meals, drinks, souvenirs and craft items. Lithgow Council is starting to listen.

As well as the geology, the Gardens of Stone includes many endangered species of plants, as well as frogs, reptiles and birds. Keith then showed a wonderful documentary video highlighting the magnificent scenery, before being plied with questions. A number of us plan to visit this area, maybe after winter. It must be very cold there now.

Pip Gibian

FUNGAL FIELD STUDY, WENTWORTH COMMON,  Sydney Olympic Park, 11th May, 2019

Coordinators: Elma & Ray Kearney

GPS: S 33° 50.271 E 151° 04.418; Members and visitors in attendance: 16

The weather had been dry and windy while cool temperatures were typically mid‐autumn. Fungi fruiting was well below optimum and was confirmed by this field study. We were gladly joined by enthusiastic members of the Parramatta Hills branch of the Australian Plant Society. Leading the group was Tina Hsu, Ecology Project Officer, Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA). We are grateful to Tina who not only guided us through the different habitats but arranged all‐day free parking passes for attendees.

Field Study Report  (pdf)

‘Cooperation between animals, Plants and Fungi in Nature’ by Ray and Elma Kearney - 27/04/19

Ray and Elma call themselves "Citizen Scientists" and have discovered numerous new species over the years during their weekly bushwalks including nine new species of fungi as well as two new species of wasp.

Meeting Report  - Co-operation among plants, animals and fungi in Nature  (pdf)

The dreaded Red Spider Mite  (pdf)

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