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Sydney Park 2016

Sydney Park 2016.   NOTE:  This photo does not show the location of the proposed development.  

Can you imagine a 6-storey, 400+ apartment building in Sydney Park?

No?  Well, the Alexandria Residents’ Action Group blog says that a “proposed new development will replace what is currently a low rise warehouse/office building that is tucked behind a row of trees next to the lakes.”

Sydney Park is easily the best park in this area.  Even though it is located within the City of Sydney boundary, for many residents of the former Marrickville municipality, this is regarded as one of our favourite parks.

It’s bad enough that the WestConnex Authority have plans that will impact on Sydney Park.

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group  are asking the community to lodge an objection against this DA by the end of this week.  The blog has a link to a template to help make this easy for you.

For more information see – https://arag.org.au/2016/09/11/new-threat-to-sydney-park/

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You can just see the black fencing around the pond. This unobtrusive fence keeps both dogs and people out of the ponds and protects the waterbirds.

You can just see the black fencing around the pond. This unobtrusive fence keeps both dogs and people away from the ponds and protects the waterbirds.

 

This is a series of posts because there is much I love about Sydney Park.  You can read points 1- 5 here  – http://bit.ly/1U1Y9Ib

 

6.  The fencing around the ponds & wetlands – Unfortunately in years past a number of black swans in the ponds were killed by dogs.  The council has dealt with this by installing fencing around the ponds to keep dogs & people out, providing safety for water birds.  Unobtrusive black fencing was used & hidden amongst lush vegetation.  It is great to see the safety of the wildlife given priority over human beings.  Installing fencing that does not detract from the landscape is quite a skill. City of Sydney Council has achieved this in my opinion.

Look towards another pond and the fencing is even harder to spot.

Look towards another pond and the fencing is even harder to spot.

7.  The dog pond Recently a ‘dog water station’ was created. Now that dogs cannot enter the ponds or wetlands, they have their own place to get cool. It’s great to see happy dogs enjoying themselves.   It’s also great entertainment for others who don’t have dogs.

One very happy dog enjoying the dog water station.   He was told to sit for the photo.

One very happy dog enjoying the dog water station. He was told to sit for the photo.  Out of view were two or three other dogs who were playing together before I took this photo.  They wanted to keep their privacy 🙂

8.  The water feature – Last year long terracotta half-pipes were installed to carry water to the ponds. Not only do they look good, but they also create a peaceful sound effect of falling water, which is very relaxing.  There are park benches around this area, so plenty of room for people to sit & chill out.  The vegetation in this area is growing well with new trees & lots of different plants.  The birds like this area too, presenting some great opportunities for photographers.

A small section of the terracotta pipes that pour water making a lovely sound.  These are in a number of places throughout the ponds. I like them very much.

A small section of the terracotta pipes that pour water making a lovely sound. These are in a number of places throughout the ponds. I like them very much.

9.  The AIDS Memorial Grove This is a forested area adjacent to Barwon Park Road. Every tree & plant here has been planted by volunteers since the Grove’s creation in 1994.  I am a huge fan of memorial trees as they represent life, growth & beauty & have great meaning to those who have lost someone they love.  The AIDS Memorial Grove is a wonderful & respectful way for the Council to acknowledge the huge numbers of people who have died because of AIDS-related illnesses.  This initiative also allows the community to participate in creating an area of peace & beauty, which I think is quite a healing opportunity that brings people together.

10.  The half-half hill – I call this the half-half hill because half of the hill is planted with native grasses & the other half is lawn.  It is creative & lovely to look at.  The hill offers duel use – one side for people & the other side for wildlife.  The native grass side leads to a valley that incorporates a large swale with thick planting along either side – perfect for wildlife, yet still visible for people.  You don’t need to stand still for long before you see birds in this area.

The Half Half Hill.  A simple, but creative idea that I have always liked.

The half half hill. A simple, but creative idea that I have always liked.  Obviously this is the lawn side, but you can see the native grasses creating a spine. 

11.  Seats I love that there are so many park benches & other places for people to sit in this park. I love that these seats are scattered everywhere meaning that we don’t all need to be corralled on top of each other.

There are seats in open places, park benches in secluded places, seats surrounded by plants & trees, seats at lookouts, seats under trees, seats in the sun, seats in the AIDS Memorial Grove, seats overlooking the ponds, seats beside the ponds, seats at the café, seats at the playground & even a park bench on top of the hill looking over the whole park.

Seats comprise of park benches, slabs of sandstone beside planted areas, concrete & wood structures, concrete ledges & even a small amphitheater of concrete steps built for people to comfortably sit.

Not everyone wants to or can sit on a blanket on the grass.  This is the realm of the young &/or healthy. People with physical disabilities find it difficult when there are no seats, so do the elderly or people who are unwell.  Sitting down on the ground can be a difficult option for those with a sore or restricted body.

Lots of seats allow people to walk a longer distance, knowing that there are places where they can stop & rest for a bit.  In my opinion, far too many of our parks are not set up to allow those that need seats to be able to use the parks because of the lack of seating.  I have been thrilled to see an elderly couple down at the river at Mackey Park sitting on one of the new park benches installed by Marrickville Council in 2015.  I’ve never seen them before, yet most evenings you can see them on the bench, watching the river & chatting to each other.

Seats allow people to get out of their homes because they offer safety.  Sick people & old people need parks & green spaces just as much as everyone else – more in my opinion.  However, the infrastructure is often not there to support them.  Generally, all that is offered is park benches in or near the playground & this is not the place people without children want to sit.

We all get old & most of us will find ourselves in need of places to sit at some stage in our life.  Being out in nature, in green spaces has been proven to have an enormous positive benefit on people’s physical, mental & spiritual health.   However, they have to be able to access it in a way that is safe for them to do so.  Plentiful seating provides this to a great degree.  The City of Sydney Council has, in my opinion, created a space that is open to everyone regardless of limitations.

On last thing – there are a number of park benches in Sydney Park that do not have a slab of concrete underneath them, which I really like.  I’ve never quite understood why so much concrete is needed to install a park bench.  Simple is good.

Here ends part 2 of why I love Sydney Park.  More later.

My favourite seat because it blends into the surrounding environment that I often miss it.  I counted 11 species of tree and shrubs, all within 2-3 metres of this park bench.  It is a quiet place away from the path.  People need places like this.

My favourite seat in Sydney Park.  It blends into the surrounding environment so well that I often miss it. Recently I counted 11 species of tree and shrubs, all within 2-3 metres of this park bench. It is a quiet place away from the path. People need places like this because they allow people to really slow down.  Parks should have peaceful areas.  

Not officially seats, but we have sat here on a number of occasions.  Seats don't always have to be formal and I am sure the council saw these sandstone blocks as potential seats when they installed them.

Not officially seats, but we have sat here on a number of occasions. Seats don’t always have to be formal and I am sure the council saw these sandstone blocks as potential seats when they installed them.

There are bench seats here with shade and privacy.  This kind of seat is common in areas where there is a view.

There are bench seats here with shade and privacy. This kind of seat is common in areas where there is a view.

There are also quite a few picnic table setups too.  I seem to remember that there are no more than two of these in each location, so we are all not piled up close to each other.  Another thing I like is that there are no barbecues - therefore no smoke and no piles of coals everywhere.

There are also quite a few picnic table setups too. I seem to remember that there are no more than two of these in each location, so we are all not piled up close to each other. Another thing I like is that there are no barbecues – therefore no smoke and no piles of coals everywhere.  

 

The City of Sydney Council has done much to make Sydney Park a truly excellent park.  From its history of being brick pits to a garbage landfill dump, it has been transformed into a sparkling jewel in the Inner West.  Nothing is stagnant in this park.  Every time I visit I see changes.  There is always new growth & new trees planted.  The council seems to plant trees all year round.  New public art appears, as do extra features, extra seats & new areas of plant cultivation. It’s an ever-changing landscape that I know is much appreciated by those that frequent this park.  I am not alone in thinking Sydney Park is special.

This will be a multiple set of posts because there is a lot I love about this park.

No nightlines here, except for along the path, yet no-one is scared. It is great to see real habitat like this, No nightlines here, except for along the path, yet no-one is scared. It is great to see real habitat like this, especially so close to the city. I stood here and counted 11 species of tree in this one location.

No n sightlines here, except for along the path, yet no-one is scared. It is great to see real habitat like this, especially so close to the city. I stood here and counted 11 species of tree in this one location.

  1. The trees – Instead of the usual fare of trees around the periphery or in patterns or rows, trees are everywhere. While there are large expanses of lawn, it appears to me that the City of Sydney is planning for biodiversity & shade.  There is no shortage of places to sit underneath a shady tree & you don’t need to be on top of each other to find this.  This is helped by the size of the park – a whopping 44 hectares, but the landscape design has obviously made strong decisions to allow people to find spaces alone or with others.  There is plenty of choice.

There is a huge variety of native trees, which produce food for wildlife.  There are also hundreds of Fig trees, which when mature are going to look stupendous.  Some were planted recently, while others were planted when the park was opened in 1991 or soon after.

Throughout the park are mini forests with thick understoreys that are filled with chattering birds.  Casuarina are not the dominant tree & have been kept in one forest.

The two National Tree Day planting sites are developing well.  It is really pleasing to see such large expanses transforming into forested areas when one has participated in the planting of these.

I love that there are trees outside the perimeter of the park, around the perimeter & also in areas all through the park.  Trees are a major feature of this park & for me it is excellent to spend time in such a heavily treed park.    There are some gorgeous trees in Sydney Park, even in the car park.

I also really like that the trees are so thick in the area opposite the roundabout that you cannot see into the park in this area.  I am used to see-through parks, where you can see the cars where you are & cars at the opposite side of the park & hear them as well.  Even at the edges of Sydney Park, there are areas where you can feel like you are away from roads & traffic.  Peace is a big aspect of Sydney Park.

  1. The understorey – It is obvious that much planning has gone into creating an understorey to create viable habitat & improve biodiversity. Instead of what we see along the Cooks River where small groups of trees have been thinned out & the understorey removed to provide absolute visibility from one side to the other, the City of Sydney Council seems to be unafraid of areas where sightlines are poor.  There are multiple shrubs, grasses & other plants growing under the many trees creating areas of thick, lush & viable habitat that must improve biodiversity by providing safe areas for wildlife.

People don’t appear to be afraid of these bushy areas either.  I’ve seen many women walking alone or with a young child.  People seem to respect these areas as well.  I have never seen people destroying these areas of bush.  That many areas are loosely fenced off may be helping by sending a subtle message to keep out.  Areas of recent regeneration are more formally fenced off with signs explaining why.  There is quite a bit of educational content in these signs as well.

One of the National Tree Day sites in Sydney Park - lovely thick understory lightly fenced off and respected by the community.

One of the National Tree Day sites in Sydney Park – lovely thick understory lightly fenced off and respected by the community.

  1. No graffiti & very little litter – I’ve long believed that if a place is beautiful, people will respect it & I think this is happening at Sydney Park. There is litter, but it is not obvious, nor is is much.  Tree trunks have not been tagged, nor have other structures like buildings, seats or paths, as far as I have seen.  I have not seen tree bark gouged out with people’s initials either, except on one very old Fig tree & this probably predates the formation of the park.
  1. The ponds – Central to Sydney Park is its pond system, which collects stormwater from the local areas, cleans it & creates a fresh water haven for waterbirds & other wildlife. Three ponds follow the slope of the land, while a fourth pond is tucked away in the lower corner surrounded by a circle of thick trees.

The stormwater harvesting system began in early 2013 & although already looking fabulous, is still a work in progress. Around 850-million litres of stormwater is captured & cleaned every year.  A bio-retention system collects water & filters it through plant roots & soil before it enters the ponds.  Water is also circulated to stop it going stagnant, creating a living vital space for wildlife.

The ponds themselves are beautiful creations & even more beautiful since the wetlands were added & planted last year.  There are a number of cairns that might offer homes for insects & lizards, while big logs & wooden piers offer natural perches for waterbirds.  The island has been left to grow wild, which is fantastic for the birds.  Dead trees have been placed hanging over the water, again offering a natural place for waterbirds.  Last week half a dozen little black cormorants were perched on one proving my point.   There are areas of thick reeds for nesting & for eating.

I love the viewing stations that allow people to interact with friendly waterbirds who come for a look.  I also love the new area where the water travels down the hill that has stepping stones allowing people to walk across the water.  This area is lush with plants & is exceptionally beautiful.

This area is exceptionally beautiful in my opinion. It is new so will only improve as the plants and trees grow.

This area is exceptionally beautiful in my opinion. It is new, so will only improve as the plants and trees grow.

Little black cormorants

Little black cormorants

I was admiring the artful placement of this log when a pelican hopped up and had a scratch.

I was admiring the artful placement of this log when a pelican hopped up and had a scratch.

Habitat for wildlife. A wren is perched on this log.

Habitat for wildlife. On the left you can just see a wren perched on this log. This log is one of many placed in the new wetland areas.

  1. Water for birds – It’s not hard for a bird to have a drink in Sydney Park. As a result, there are lots of birds because it is a nice safe place to live. There are lots of water bubblers scattered around the park & they all have a bowl at the bottom, ostensibly for dogs to have a drink, but it is not unusual to see birds drinking from this bowl either. To me not having access to fresh water for birds in parks is cruel & goes against every attempt to improve local biodiversity.  Councils can have statements & biodiversity policies, but if there is no fresh water available for wildlife in parks & along biodiversity corridors, then this is a token approach in my opinion.  Every living beings needs to be able to have a drink, including birds, insects & lizards & they need better & more reliable access than stormwater drains & puddles.
  2. It;s only a water bubbler, but the water at the bottom can mean life for a bird or other small animal.

    It’s only a water bubbler, but the water bowl at the bottom can mean life for a bird or other small animal.  Plus there are many of these throughout the park.

Map of area to be acquired for a construction area for WestConnex. Photo via Sunday Herald. The millet and mung bean meadow created to add nitrogen to the soil for the orchard is in this area.

Map of area to be acquired for a construction area for WestConnex. Image via Sunday Herald. The millet and mung bean meadow created to add nitrogen to the soil for the orchard is in this area, which is just below last year’s National Tree Day planting site.

Bad news for Sydney Park in the Sunday Herald newspaper today. See – http://bit.ly/1Ztiyoa

The WestConnex Authority is compulsorily acquiring 6,000 square metres of parkland along Campbell Street St Peters for use as a construction site while building the St Peters Interchange. This will require the removal of a whopping 350 trees.

According to the article, the WestConnex Authority has already earmarked 8000 square metres of Sydney Park to create wider roads, which will be a permanent loss of green space.

Sydney Motorway Corporation said the 6,000 square metres of parkland along Campbell Street will be “rehabilitated & returned for use as open space.” The expected completion date of WestConnex Motorway is 2023.

While at National Tree Day 2015 in Sydney Park, I talked to staff who were at the City Farm stall.  This very exciting project is to create a city farm with orchard in the south-west corner of Sydney Park, which I think is exactly where WestConnex now intends to take 6,000 square metres of land.  If so, this makes the news even more devastating.

 

A great crowd of adults & kids  planting 6,000 plants & trees in Sydney Park for National Tree Day.

A great crowd of adults & kids planting 6,000 plants & trees in Sydney Park for National Tree Day.

Costa Georgiadis teaching a young girl how to plant.

Costa Georgiadis teaching a young girl how to plant.

Once again the City of Sydney, Planet Ark & Toyota put on a terrific event for National Tree Day in Sydney Park.   The sun was shining & even the air smelt great with the wattle trees in bloom.

A new site, more in the middle of the park, was chosen to plant a whopping 6,000 plants & trees to create an Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub.  What a lovely area this will be once everything has grown & very important for wildlife.

The Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub is a nationally & state-listed Endangered Ecological Scrub & Heath Vegetation Community.   Over 97% of the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub has been lost in Sydney. 385 hectares of North Head is the largest remaining area of endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub left in Sydney.

Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub grows in nutrient poor soils, so City of Sydney council had prepared a sandstone soil to accommodate these plants in conditions that suit them. Planting was not easy, but no-one seemed to care.

At least 1,000 people registered to plant, but as always, more people came for the atmosphere & the exhibits. It’s a very family-friendly event with activities for kids – planting, face painting, nature crafts, kid’s yoga & this year, even a python with a handler who educated us all about snakes. People in green tree suits were walking around as in previous years & the synthetic turf lounge suite also made a return. Those in the suits need a medal – it must be so hot in there.

The lovely Costa Georgiadis (from Gardening Australia on ABC1) was showing children how to plant & planting with them.  I imagine this will be life-changing for some of them – something they will remember when they are adults.  Costa centers attention on the child & quietly instructs how to plant. It was nice to watch.

A handler educates about snakes.  I think this was a black headed python.

A handler educates about snakes. I think this was a black headed python.

The Yaama Boys (look them up on facebook) performed a number of traditional Indigenous dances much to my delight. They were very good & the dances were exciting. I liked also that they explained what the dances were about & their meaning, as this allowed a deeper understanding of what was happening.

Bush tucker tours were held every 30-minutes where people got to see & taste bush tucker growing in the park.   There was information about the upcoming City Farm, which sounds really exciting. I will write about this initiative in another post.

Hundreds of parsley plants were given away in ice-cream cones, which is a great way not to create garbage. There were also hundreds of Australian native tree seedlings, native shrubs & plants for anyone to take home to plant in their garden.

Each plant had really good information & photos about its growing needs, what height it would reach at maturity, what it looked like & everything else in-between.  Staff were available to assist & provide information about any plant people were interested in. All this helped people chose plants & trees that were suitable for their place, so hopefully they all get put in the ground & we see more trees & more green in the landscape.

For the first time that I am aware of, Porta-loos were provided & I was surprised at how clean they were. This made me think about litter, so I looked around & even though it was towards the end of the event & all the sausages & veggie burgers had been eaten, I did not see one bit of litter anywhere. Maybe tree-lovers are considerate to the environment.

National Tree Day is 20-years-old this year & is making quite an impact Australia-wide.  I love this event at Sydney Park.  It is always consistently good & the Council goes to a lot of trouble to cater for all needs, as well as passively educate on the value of trees & the environment.

If you didn’t go this year, put it in your diary for next year because you not only get to do some good for wildlife, but you will also enjoy yourself.

The wonderful Yaama Boys.

The wonderful Yaama Boys.

Hundreds of trees & shrubs  giveaways.  Thanks City of Sydney Council.

Hundreds of trees & shrubs giveaways. Thanks City of Sydney Council.

Planting had been happening for over two hours & still people were enthusiastically planting.

Planting had been happening for over two hours & still people were enthusiastically planting.

one of the tags hung from trees in Sydney Park on National Tree Day 2014

one of the tags hung from trees in Sydney Park on National Tree Day 2014

This Sunday 26th July is National Tree Day. There are two events happening locally.

Marrickville Council is holding an event in Tempe Recreation Reserve from 10am to 1pm. Volunteers will be planting local native trees, shrubs, grasses, ferns & groundcovers.

From Council’s website – “The revegetated area of the reserve will connect into existing native vegetation providing food and shelter for birds, microbats, insects and reptiles.”

Refreshments, snacks, gloves & trowels will be provided.  Signs will direct you to the planting site. Parking is available at the old Jet’s Sports Club car park, which is close to the event site.

WHERE: Tempe Recreation Reserve

TIME: 10am to 1pm.

The City of Sydney is once again planting in Sydney Park. The community can participate in the planting of 6,000 native seedlings to plant an endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub forest.   There will be educational activities, as well as a sausage/veggie sizzle.

WHERE: Sydney Park via Barwon Park Road near Campbell Road

TIME:  10am – 1pm.

From the City of Sydney’s website – The City is committed to increasing our urban canopy up to 50% by 2030. We have planted over 9,500 trees since 2005 and there are around 42,000 trees in our streets and parks across the local area.  Trees make our streets more beautiful, improve air quality and provide habitat for native birds and other wildlife. Increasing the canopy cover will improve the livability of our city by cooling and filtering the air and shading our houses and streets in summer.”

National Tree Day provides an opportunity for the community to get involved in greening an area & improving biodiversity for wildlife & for the future.  The events are fun.  Wear appropriate clothing & covered shoes.

View of part of the new works looking up the hill.

View of part of the new works looking up the hill.

The cascade area with permeable paths & seating scattered throughout.

The cascade area with permeable paths & seating scattered throughout.

We went to Sydney Park last weekend after a gap of a few months. The changes are astronomically good.  No wonder City of Sydney Council has been awarded a Green Flag for Sydney Park. They deserve it.

Sydney Park covers 44-hectares & a fair section of the park consists of a series of swales, ponds & lakes, that together harvest stormwater from surrounding streets. The harvested stormwater will be used to irrigate the park & top up the wetlands.

The Water Reuse Scheme commenced in April 2013 & appears to be nearing completion. The works will cost $10.5 million & harvest & clean a massive 850-million-litres of stormwater per year.

Even the work around the drains looks attractive.

Even the work around the drains looks attractive.

Stormwater is diverted through underground pipes
 & taken through pollutant traps & series of bio-retention beds to filter & clean it from all sorts of pollutants, such oil from roads.  
The water then travels to a retention pond that gradually fills the four lakes & wetlands further down the hill.

All this provides a wonderful habitat for a range of wildlife, especially waterbirds. Harvesting stormwater is not only sustainable, but also works towards preventing flooding in areas outside the park.

You only need to look around to see the extent of works done by City of Sydney Council around this project. There are many swales that travel beside the pathways throughout the park.  Even when there is not a swale beside the path, there is a groove at the side of the path that channels water to swales & then to small ponds or wetlands. The ponds & wetlands serve to clean the water before it reaches the lakes. They are fabulous little spots of biodiversity & very nice to look at.

Paths meander down to this new watercourse.  It looks to be that people will be able to cross on these sandstone platforms.  It's very beautiful.

Paths meander down to this new watercourse. It looks to be that people will be able to cross on these sandstone platforms. It’s very beautiful.

The large swale that was defined by the Cabbage palm trees is now a watercourse. I was pleased to see that the the palms were retained. A great deal of work has been done here.   Thousands of plants have been planted.  There are large wetland areas, new attractive seating, permeable paths, lookouts & areas where one can quietly reflect. Gabian walls are used everywhere.   They not only look attractive & act as retaining walls, but also provide habitat for insects & lizards.

The problem of dogs killing the black swans has been permanently fixed by fencing.  The Council has chosen fencing that is not intrusive to the eye.  It will keep both dogs & humans out, which is very good.  A dog water station is being installed for the dogs to cool off.

Every piece of furniture – seats, tables, benches, fencing, railings, bike racks, lighting & bins – is attractive.  City of Sydney Council has chosen carefully for durability & aesthetics.  These things make the park very attractive to me.

There are newly planted trees everywhere & they all seem to be Australian natives.  Trees are planted in groups together providing safer habitat for wildife & more visual impact for people. The trees also act as a wind break, as well as offer shade. I did not see one seating arrangement that did not include one to three shade trees planted around the seating. There is lots of seating dotted everywhere, especially where there is a nice view.

Huge log surrounded by vegetation offering good protection for wildlife.

Huge log surrounded by vegetation offering good protection for wildlife.

Everywhere are islands of dense planting, all with a variety of Australian native plants. Native grasses are used, but they are not the main plant used. Many of the bushes were in flower providing food for wildlife. Large logs are left in areas surrounded by lots of plants. An animal could be standing beside the log & you would likely not see them. Dead wood is great to leave in the environment.

Another thing we noticed was the lack of litter & the lack of coal fire barbeque smoke. There were no plastic bags flying around everywhere, no piles of coals, no balloons, string, toilet paper & other litter that I am so familiar with.  Sydney Park was exceptionally clean. There was no graffiti either.  This says to me that the community respects the beauty this park provides & with this respect comes a sense of responsibility. I wish this attitude could permeate all our parks.

View from the bottom path.  The poles have been here for years & birds are often seen perched on them.

View from the bottom path. The poles have been here for years & birds are often seen perched on them.  It is nice to see winter colour too.

The emphasis has obviously been on creating a park that has much beauty & really is a refuge for both people & wildlife. City of Sydney Council does not seem to be concerned with sightlines, which I think is great. Unless you are at the perimeter of the park or on the hill, you cannot see traffic. The odd airplane flies across, but this only adds an element of interest.

This park is a haven for both people & wildlife & something the City of Sydney should be exceptionally proud of.  The trees are still young & are still being planted, so I can only imagine just how beautiful it will be when the hundreds of Fig trees for example, grow to maturity.

If you haven’t been to Sydney Park for a while, I highly recommend a visit. There were thousands of people there last weekend, but the park is big enough to not feel crowded. There are many quiet places, as well as busy places like the playground – something for everyone.

Lastly, there is a volunteer bushcare group that work in Sydney Park from 9.30am – 2.30pm every Wednesday & some Saturdays. Some of their great work was visible around the wetlands. For more information email –sydney@conservationvolunteers.com.au

New walkway through the wetlands

New walkway through & around the new wetlands.  The original island was retained.

The new wetlands are very large & surround the lakes.  It's obvious how much work has gone into creating these.  Wildlife are going to benefit immensely.

The new wetlands are very large & surround the lakes. It’s obvious how much work has gone into creating these. Wildlife are going to benefit immensely.  There are channels to bring in water, as well as irrigatuion pipes for when needed. The pile of logs will offer perches for the birds.

Showing the forst retention pond in the background.  Note the nice seating, gabion wall & the new tree.

Showing the first retention pond in the background. Note the nice seating, permeable path, attractive fencing, gabion wall & the new tree.  Concrete is kept to a minimum.  

A range of seating offering privacy from others while surrounded by beauty & with a good view.

A range of seating offering privacy from others while surrounded by beauty & with a good view.

At every opportunity islands of green appear.  I think they look great.  Mini islands of biodiversity.

At every opportunity islands of green appear. I think they look great. Mini islands of biodiversity.

 

First sight of the habitat trees from across the lower pond.

First sight of the habitat trees from across the lower pond.

A closer view

A closer view. Both are still very tall trees.

City of Sydney Council has recently created two ‘habitat trees’ in Sydney Park. Both trees are Eucalypts & are located close to the lower pond.   They are surrounded by other tall trees & so would make attractive homes for wildlife.

A significant difference from the ‘habitat tree’ created by Marrickville Council in McNeilly Park is that the branches have not been ring-barked – at least it had not been done when I saw these trees.  It appears that Sydney Council has created more holes in each tree than the one in McNeilly Park.

Showing the damage on one of the trees.

Showing the damage on one of the trees.

Like Marrickville Council, the City of Sydney Council is also using these trees as a demonstration for professionals on to how to create nesting hollows for birds & animals.

I really like this movement to retain trees that would have been removed previously.   The idea is to mimic dead trees found in the bush.

The more I read about dead trees the more I realize how important these old dead trees are to the ecology of the environment.   Standing dead trees in the bush are called snags & stag trees.

Only old trees have hollows & these trees often need to be 100-150 years old before they start creating hollows.  Eucalypts start creating hollows after dropping branches & we know that once branch-dropping starts, the tree is removed for the safety of the human population.

“Australia-wide, 15% of all land birds use hollows. These 114 species include parrots, owls cockatoos & lorikeets, ducks, treecreepers, owls, owlet-nightjar, kingfishers, pardolotes, martins & woodswallows.”  ~ Sourced from Wildlife Notes, Department of Conservation & Management April 2005.

One of the least known characteristics of Australian animals is their high utilisation of tree hollows. For example, the proportion of Australian animals that use tree hollows is three times greater than in North America & twice as great as in South Africa.

About 350 Australian animals use hollows for either roosting or nesting. This includes:


  • half of our small bats,
  • nearly 90% of our parrots,
  • all of our gliders,
  • all but one of our owls
  • all of our tree-creepers.

Nearly 20% of our birds use hollows in some way. For 60% of these, hollows are essential.” http://www.ozbox.net.au/anim&holl.htm

Of the 22 species of bats that have been recorded to utilise tree hollows in NSW, 10 of these are listed as threatened. (Gibbons & Lindenmayer 1997).

Repurposing trees that would have been removed so that they become useful for wildlife is a great idea. Tree hollows in urban environments are very rare.  I look at trees all the time, but only know of three trees on public land in Marrickville LGA that have natural hollows. I applaud this move to help wildlife & improve on biodiversity by both Councils.   It will be interesting to see what wildlife do take up residence in these hollows.

Sign on tree

Educational sign on tree

The back of the nesting hollows.  To show the front would have meant facing the sun,

The back of the nesting hollows. To show the front would have meant photographing into the sun.

Another view.  It's hard to see the hollows, but the more I looked, the more I spotted.  They are on the tips of branches as well as multiple hollows along branches.

Another view. It’s hard to see the hollows, but the more I looked, the more I spotted. They are on the tips of branches as well as multiple hollows along branches.

A hollow has been made at he end of many of the branches.

A hollow has been made at he end of many of the branches.  It’s hard to see, but it is there.

 

View of some of the crowd who attended National Tree Day - taken from the lower pond.

View of some of the crowd who attended National Tree Day at Sydney Park – taken from the lower pond. The fence & the piles of soil is because of work happening to the lakes.

Two children finalise the planting of a 5-metre Gum tree. I bet they watch this tree as it grows with a sense of pride.

Two children finalise the planting of a 5-metre Gum tree. I bet they watch this tree as it grows with a sense of pride.

One group pf volunteers gets ready for the next stage of planting.

One group pf volunteers gets ready for the next stage of planting.

It was a beautiful sunny spring-like day & perfect to be out in a lovely park planting trees. We came in via the bottom car park & knew where to go because of the large crowds visible further up the hill.

The path was lined with large tags hung from trees. Each tag stated a tree fact garnered from the recent Planet Ark research, ‘Valuing Trees: What is Nature Worth?’ – see http://bit.ly/1yMGZm5

Just one of the many tags on trees

Just one of the many tags on trees

A few hundred people were at the top of the hill where Planet Ark & City of Sydney Council held National Tree Day this year & in 2013.  It was wonderful to see how well last year’s planting held up & how lovely the area looks now that the plants & trees have grown some.

There were lots of families, lots of children, loads of bicycles & quite a few happy dogs.  The line for the sausage/veggie pattie on a roll was impossibly long & only three Planet Ark National Tree Day promotional hats were left. Everyone who registered to plant was given a pair of gardening gloves, also with the National Tree Day logo. Some of us see these as collector’s items. I saw a few people wearing their national Tree Day t-shirt from last year.

There were ‘trees’ walking around for photo opportunities. Kudos to the men & women who were wearing the tree suits. For a winter’s day, the temperature was quite hot at around 23 degrees. I imagine it was boiling inside the suits.   Still, they looked terrific & the kids liked the walking talking trees a lot. So did I.

The gorgeous children’s television presenter ‘dirtgirl’ was there taking to the children about the benefits of trees & wildlife.  She also took groups of kids to plant trees with her.   I think this would have been ultra-exciting for the children & definitely something to talk about at school next week.

Cricket & soccer star Ellyse Perry, played a game of cricket with the community after the tree planting was finished.  Incredibly the last of five thousand trees & plants were being planted at 1pm, a full hour before the end of the event.

Planting

Planting

People came to plant & were taken in large groups to sections ready to be planted out. It was a very well organised event.  A City of Sydney Council worker gave each group a lesson on how to plant properly, explaining the process step-by-step. This in itself was a great opportunity for both children & adults to learn how to plant to minimize loss.

There were native animal displays & kids yoga with a heap of children displaying just how flexible they are. All the free plants for the community had found new owners. There were tents with free booklets about the urban forest, the green villages initiative, community gardening & how to improve & add to biodiversity.

There were also large posters with information about the works happening in Sydney Park, but I will write about this in another post.

Those who had finished planting gathered around the lounges, the café tables or on picnic blankets under the shade of a tree.

It really was a perfect day out. Well done to Planet Ark & City of Sydney Council.  It really does feel good to be able to plant trees in the park.  Planting trees is not something those living in the Inner West can do very often.  One thing that impresses us every time we visit Sydney Park is that the City of Sydney Council is always doing work to improve the park. It was not planted out & just left to survive – or not. There are no dead looking areas & there are trees everywhere.

I think Sydney Park is a very special place & feel very happy to have been given an opportunity to add to this beauty. May all the trees grow tall & strong.

Volunteers planting

Volunteers planting

A City of Sydney Council worker gives a step-by-step lesson on how to plant properly to ensure a greater chance of survival.

A City of Sydney Council worker gives a step-by-step lesson on how to plant properly to ensure a greater chance of survival.  Groups like this were happening in various locations.

dirtgirl talking to a group of children about biodiversity & the need for trees.

dirtgirl talking to a group of children about biodiversity & the need for trees. She was fun.

The only way I like synthetic turf to be used.

The only way I like synthetic turf to be used. 

Showing the wildlife

Showing the wildlife.

A walking talking tree

A walking talking tree – thumbs up.

Give-away plants in containers meant to go straight into the ground at last year's National Tree Day event at Sydney Park.

Give-away plants in containers meant to go straight into the ground at last year’s National Tree Day event at Sydney Park.

 

The City of Sydney Council & Planet Ark work is holding a National Tree Day at Sydney Park this Sunday 27th July 2014 from 10am – 2pm.  Meet at the southern end of Sydney Park.  

They plan for the community to plant between 4,000 & 5,000 trees. Hundreds of people attended this event last year, so I am confident the target will be reached.

Children’s television star ‘dirtgirl’ will be attending, as will cricket & soccer superstar, Ellyse Perry.  There will also be native animals, nature crafts, face painting & kids yoga. Children can also plant trees. There will be a plant giveaway & a sausage sizzle or vegie pattie for participants.

Last year’s event was fabulous. I think it is terrific that the community is given an opportunity to plant trees.  This kind of activity generates community pride & also fosters as respect for nature.  I can’t wait to see the trees in the ground & watch them grow.

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