Bushcare – Shannon, West Pymble

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Residents in Minnamurra Ave, West Pymble, get together every month to look after their ‘oasis of greenery’ at Blackbutt Creek.

They’ve regenerated the bush and prevented erosion, making solid friendships along the way. Shannon from West Pymble has been involved since she moved to the street ten years ago.

How does Bushcare work?

We have a lovely and social group - there’s about six locals, of different ages and backgrounds, and we meet on a Sunday morning once a month. 

Council gives us a trolley and tools and sends out a trainer every couple of months who helps us identify the plants onsite and advise what to do. He’s fantastic but we are pretty lucky as we’ve got a few local volunteers with environmental skills, and a botanist, who helps us out when we need it.

Is it hard work?

The site is really too large for our little group to manage given we only meet for a couple of hours each month. We’ve been lucky enough to secure a Council grant to pay for a professional bush regeneration crew to do some of the harder clearing work from time to time.

We aim to only work where it’s safe and comfortable. We pick the sunny areas in winter and the shady ones in summer.

We do about two hours of weeding or planting and then we usually have a cuppa and a chat on the street or at someone’s house.

What made you get involved?

I joined when I moved here. It was a good way to meet the neighbours and do something worthwhile. I grew up in Blue Mountains so I think I’ve always felt at home surrounded by bush. It’s good to be ‘earthed’ and get outside for a few hours too.

What keeps you involved?

Blackbutt Creek Reserve is a little piece of paradise, right here on our doorstep. We’ve seen echidnas, tawny frogmouths, brush turkeys and possums – it’s a bonus when we spot them onsite.

The work is good for my physical and mental health and it’s simply a nice, sociable thing to do. The kids come and help and play while we work and it gives a positive community feel to our neighbourhood.

Biggest challenge?

The site itself is challenging site because of the steep slopes and the creek. In intense storm events the creek level and flow increases quite quickly, leading to erosion and that can be tricky to work with.

I guess our really big challenge is trying to build a resilient site for the future given the increasing development in the area and our proximity to Ryde Road.

Learn how you can volunteer a few hours of your time to help a local Bushcare group near you.