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Feb 012011
Bulimba Creek

Image source: Bulimba Creek Catchment Committee

Our region has some beautiful green areas, but how much time do we spend in them and how much do we understand about them? There’s a great opportunity for us to learn about and participate in our local natural environment through the Southside Sustainability Centre.

The Sustainability Centre is a project of the not-for-profit Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C). There’s a nursery, community gardens, native revegetation areas and plenty more.  And this weekend they are inviting you to their first open-day of 2011.

When: Feb 5, 2011 9:00am – midday.
Where: Southside Sustainability Centre, Cnr Old Cleveland Rd & Wright St, Carindale
Contact: Ph 3420 4800 / email

People of all ages and experience levels are welcome to come and see how the centre has survived the summer and recent conditions. You can also purchase seedlings and join in the volunteering activities.

I caught up with the Secretary of the Bulimba Creek Catchment Committee, Heather Barns.  Heather said the catchment suffered little impact from the recent flooding experienced in the Brisbane River catchment as little rain went into the catchment,  so the creek and feeder streams were able to cope with the load.  A couple of parkland areas and roads were cut for only a short time and there was actually much more water in the catchment after the heavy rains in December. I also asked Heather:

What sort of awareness do you believe exists by most local residents of their natural surroundings and environmental issues?

“I believe that most residents do not fully appreciate the environmental values of the parklands that Council has maintained in the flood plain areas.  These areas were not allowed to be built on as the floodplain is nature’s way of spreading out and slowing the water velocity after heavy rain events.

In areas where houses and industry have been allowed to build in very low-lying areas, we have seen the result of the river or creek breaking its bank and not having the necessary floodplain to spread.  In earlier Brisbane development, there was not the information available about flood modelling to show where areas might flood after heavy rain events both within the immediate area and upstream.

“The natural areas are refuges for animal life as well as providing oxygen, greenspace for recreation and in times of flood, areas that can cope with large volumes of water without major damage.”

Do you think local environmental knowledge/interest is changing?

“I believe that people are becoming more aware of the importance of natural areas, especially students.  We have been working in schools for over 10 years and each year we see that the student’s understanding of the environment and necessity of protecting and improving it is increasing.”

Why is the open day important?

“Our monthly open day provides a  safe environment for people to experience nature in a different way.  Many people don’t have the skills or land available for them to grow their own food or plants and by helping out on our open days they are able to experience new activities.

The open day also gives them an insight into bushcare activities.  Some people have joined local bushcare groups to help on various sites within our catchment with weeding and planting native species.”

The catchment committee has been doing some amazing work in recent years. I’m planning on going to the open day and hope to be able to provide more updates soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gen is the Founder of Carindale Connect (started in 2007). She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Queensland University of Technology and an internship from ABC Online. She's involved in a number of web projects, was the Website Manager for Chamber of Commerce and Industry QLD and the Editor of Wotnews (Australian news aggregator and search engine start-up). She also spent some time as a volunteer Community Correspondent for 612 ABC Brisbane. Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Gen now lives in Carindale. She loves her bicycle (but doesn't do lycra), the environment and art.
Genevieve Robey

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