Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

Wallaby Kempsey area

Wallaby Kempsey area

Possums, sugar gliders, wallabies and quolls are just some of the many native animals  injured in bushfire, car accidents and severe weather events. Many of these animals including native and migratory birds end up in the care of FAWNA Mid North Coast.

On Sunday the 17th October 2017 FAWNA volunteers gathered in the Theatrette Room at Sea Acres Rainforest Centre for the annual Bryce Laut Awards.

Bryce Laut was a NPWS Fire Management Officer tragically killed in 2008 when a tree fell on him during a cleanup operation following a bushfire. The fire was believed to have been deliberately lit. He worked closely with FAWNA and was responsible for training volunteers in wildlife rescue in the fire ground shortly after bushfire events. A donation was made to FAWNA in memory of Bryce Laut leading to the creation of the annual awards for wildlife volunteers .

Area manager Manning Hastings National Parks and Wildlife Service Steve Atkins with FAWNA President Meredith Ryan.

Area manager Manning Hastings National Parks and Wildlife Service Steve Atkins with FAWNA President Meredith Ryan.

FAWNA receives an average of seven calls a day related to injured wildlife. Some of these animals need veterinary and rehabilitation care.

Area manager for the Manning Hastings National Parks and Wildlife Service Steve Atkins presented the awards with FAWNA president Meredith Ryan. Mr Atkins thanked all volunteers on behalf of NPWS and described their commitment for rescue, rehabilitation and release as fantastic. He said ” without your assistance there is a lot of wildlife that would not be out there now”.

FAWNA President Meredith Ryan presenting local vet Sarah Bennett with a lifetime membership award

FAWNA President Meredith Ryan presenting local vet Sarah Bennett with a lifetime membership award

This year’s awards saw Sarah Bennett of Oxley Highway Veterinary Hospital receive an Honorary Life Membership. The award was presented to Sarah as recognition of skilled veterinary services and dedication to injured, orphaned and displaced wildlife in the Port Macquarie Hastings region. A willingness to advise and guide FAWNA volunteers in the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife was also acknowledged. FAWNA volunteer Wendy Pfeil expressed her gratitude for Sarah’s help during wildlife emergencies.

Meredith Ryan, Sarah Bennett, June Le Pla and Wendy Pfeil

Meredith Ryan, Sarah Bennett, June Le Pla and Wendy Pfeil

Dianne Waterhouse and Neville Elford were recognised for their 20 years of work with FAWNA at Kempsey including the rehabilitation and release of Red-neck wallabies on their property.

The runner up of the Bryce Laut award was Pat Davey a member since 2001 with six years duty on the 24/7 phone and rescue line. Pat has been been a carer and release member of macropods while training and mentoring FAWNA’s phone staff. Her recognition was for dedication to FAWNA and ensuring telephones were maintained.

Meredith Ryan, June Le Pla, Pat Davey and Steve Atkins.

Meredith Ryan, June Le Pla, Pat Davey and Steve Atkins.

First place award went to June Le Pla for rescue and rehabilitation work along with fund raising efforts.

Ist Place award winner June Le Pla

Ist Place award winner June Le Pla

Steve Atkins said June has rescued and rehabilitated more animals than most in her two decades of service to FAWNA. Undertaking regular patrols of Hastings coastal areas June has taken responsibility for rescuing seabirds. June is not selective in the animals she cares for and has added flying foxes and bats to her skill sets which also include possums, gliders and seabirds.

Also in attendance was FAWNA’s patron Dr Mary E White (AM).

Follow the link below to read and see more about Dr White.

https://brettdolsenphotography.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/dr-mary-e-white/

Residents of the Camden Haven on the Mid North Coast of NSW are noticing a distinct change in their visible iconic mountain landscapes.

From the towns of Laurieton, Johns River and nearby villages (anywhere with views of the three brothers mountains) people are talking about the browning and die back of trees.

Noticeable die back and flowering of Eucalypts on the south west face of Middle Brother Mountain near Johns River October 2013

Noticeable die back and flowering of Eucalypts on the south west face of Middle Brother Mountain near Johns River October 2013

Several residents have stated they have not seen this before during a period of around thirty years living in the Camden Haven area. One report from a farmer near Johns River recalled something like this on Middle Brother Mountain over 30 years ago.

The change of colour in foliage at various locations on North Brother, Middle Brother and South Brother mountains is what you would expect from a fall landscape in the Northern Hemisphere.

Click here for More images of the current situation

While some of this change can be expected from the prolific flowering of Eucalyptus trees this year, closer inspection reveals that many trees are dying or suffering extreme browning and loss of foliage. Prolific flowering of plants in a natural environment is often the result of stress. In this case it is most likely due to low rainfall this year in winter and spring. Plants will flower profusely to release seed to ensure survival of the species. This can also be noticed in species such as banksias when seed is released from capsules following a bushfire.

An open Banksia seed pod seen in the days following the Crowdy Bay bushfire of October 2013

An open Banksia seed pod seen in the days following the Crowdy Bay bushfire of October 2013

Closer inspection on the road to the top of North Brother Mountain saw extremely dry conditions. Many species were suffering and most obvious the tree ferns, many of which were dead or dying. The stony surface was most noticeable in the parched landscape. It would be fair to say that the mountain has dried up. The area’s most affected are likely to be those on the shallowest stony soils where biodiversity is lost through lack of moisture, followed by erosion during periods of heavy rainfall expected in the late summer and autumn.

The browning landscape on the road to the top of North Brother Mountain. 5th November 2013

The browning landscape on the road to the top of North Brother Mountain. 5th November 2013

This visual change has become most noticeable during the last four weeks and has been reported to National Parks and Wildlife Service. Investigations take some time on scientific matters. For known problems an explanation may be available within a few days.

The most important questions here for science are:

  • Have there been any previous recorded events of this nature in this region?
  • Will these areas recover?
  • What will be the effects of heavy rainfall and erosion on the areas below?
  • Is this event a factor of shifting weather patterns due to climate change?

The areas to the south east known as Crowdy Bay and to the north at Maria River Road near Crescent head experienced unprecedented winter and spring bushfires in 2013. This must alert us to the warnings given by the latest IPCC report and 97% of the world’s leading climate change scientists.

The Maria River Road Fire captured some 40kms away from North Brother Mountain. 24th August 2013

The Maria River Road Fire captured some 40kms away from North Brother Mountain. 24th August 2013

For a local perspective on climate change I recommend readers to look at the NSW Climate Impact Profile by NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW. Section 5.3 for the North Coast Section beginning on page 65.

Link NSW Climate Impact Profile

I will continue to observe and follow the findings of any reports related to the above issue.

Extremely concerned about the affects of climate change Dr White is spreading a message of hope through educating and empowering others to make a contribution towards solving the problems we now face.

Dr Mary E White (MA) is an amazing lady.

I first met Mary about four years ago and a recent chance phone call led me back to Johns River to hear more about Mary’s life.

Over the past several weeks I have come to appreciate her passion and dedication to humanity and the environment. I have also enjoyed the hospitality associated with a cup of tea and some raisin toast.
The video above is just a short account of some notable events in Mary’s life and much more will be found in her autobiography nearing completion.

Born 1926 in South Africa Dr White currently resides at her property near Johns River NSW Australia.

Mary White at Johns River NSW

Mary White at Johns River NSW

At 87 years of age she continues to write and educate on matters of environment, biodiversity and climate change.

From the age of 16 Mary studied Botany and Zoology at Cape Town University. When looking for a subject for a thesis, Professor Alex Du Toit advised Mary to pick a palaeobotanical subject as there was not a palaeobotanist in Africa and there was a whole Gondwanan fossil flora waiting to be discovered.

Mary moved to Australia with geologist husband Bill White in 1955. As a palaeobotanist Dr White worked for the Bureau of Mineral Resources studying fossils.

Africa

Africa

After her husband passed away in 1981 Mary began to write. She soon published her first book “The Greening of Gondwana”.

In the years following, Mary completed several more books including: Australian Prehistoric Plants – Reading the Rocks – Running Down Water in a Changing Land – Time in our Hands – Listen Our Land is Crying – After the Greening the Browning of Australia and her latest publication Earth Alive.

During these writing years Mary received Honorary Doctorates from four Australian Universities. During 2009 Dr White became a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to botany as a researcher and through the promotion of increased understanding and awareness of the natural world.

It soon became apparent to Mary that she needed to do something practical to help save biodiversity. 

In 2003 Mary purchased her dream The Falls Forest Retreat and immediately set about covenanting 73 of the 81 hectares as a Biodiversity and Rainforest Sanctuary. This was achieved in 2013.

After a difficult decision, Mary has decided it is time to move on and continue her writing along with new conservation and education programs. Her wish is to find someone to carry on her dream as an education and research centre.

My thanks to ABC Mid North Coast Open producer Wiriya Sati for assisting me with this film.

My gratitude and love to Dr Mary E White for allowing me to be part of her journey.

Link to ABC Open https://open.abc.net.au/posts/llife-on-earth-26lz0fs