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News items 2005 to 2010 - older items at the bottom.

Please see specific topics below for updates with regards to projects.

Invasive Vine Removal - Greenwood Park, North Ryde

A donation from Johnson Controls Australia in Macquarie Park for $1,000 USD ($1136 AUD) has been earmarked for urgently need invasive vine control at Greenwood Park, in partnership with City of Ryde. Vines being targeted are Morning Glory and Blackberry. The National Trust will be employed via Council to undertake this work. It is anticipated that the works will be undertaken in October / November 2010. Johnson Controls have already also donated their time to start this vine removal. Thank you Johnson Controls Australia for the interest, energy and donation.

Habitat Network - update 2010

Corridors and connections
In order to extend our project and habitat corridors we need a source of affordable and suitable local native plants. We have been working on establishing a community nursery in Ryde since late 2008. We are getting closer, we now have a location at Santa Rosa Park, Quarry Road, Ryde approved by Ryde Council. The next step is to get water connected and a fence! See more detail below.

Ryde and Hunter's Hill Councils (supported by us and other groups) have won a grant to create 2 native plant / habitat corridors to connect the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers - the project is called "River to River". We are part of the reference group for this project. Our small bird surveys and work on creating corridors augment this project.

Throughout 2010 we have continued to run interactive presentations and assist students in planning how to incorporate or extend "Habitat Havens" in their school grounds. It is always a pleasure to talk to the teachers and students about their vision for their school. Whenever possible we also assist local schools by providing plants.

It was also with great pleasure that we gave a talk about habitat in relation to schools to a group of teachers during a development day run by the Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre in August.

Stalls, displays and materials
For National Tree Day this year we ran a stall at Riverglade Reserve. This gave us an opportunity to talk about habitat to people who were passing. We also had fun days talking to people visiting our stalls at the Field of Mars Discovery Afternoon, Lane Cove Tourist Park, Eden Gardens and the Bohemia Festival at Bondi. Our brochures and materials are also on display at other events as we have distributed our materials to a number of councils, National Parks, Birds Australia, the Greenways team for the Summerhill Food Festival and other community groups. If anyone would like some of our brochures please contact us at [email protected] .

Walks, talks and home visits
Our local councils have been busy running walks and talks this year and so we have helped to promote these rather than running too many of our own. However having discovered a flying fox camp in Riverglade Reserve in May we did run a walk and talk at the camp, with a special guest speaker, John Martin, from the Botanic Gardens. The camp was inhabitated by around 170 flying foxes. And in January we ran a Twilight Twitter lead by Kurtis Lindsay around the Field of Mars Reserve.

By invitation we gave talks for the National Womens Council of Australia and Easy Care Gardening earlier in the year.

It has also been a delight to visit a number of homes to talk about gardens, weeds, natives and of course habitat and food plants.

Ecological Restoration magazine - June 2010

Our article entitled "Networking, Habitat Restoration, and Restoration Education in Sydney, Australia" (813 KB) was published in the US Ecological Restoration magazine, June 2010 special education issue.

Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority - grant won - June 2010

Sydney CMA funding will help us to further develop, print and distribute "Creating small bird habitat haven" posters and "Weed removal and Habitat" brochures. These resources in their current form can be found on our Habitat Network website. We will let you know about our progress in developing these resources. We are excited by the prospect of working with Virginia Bear again. Virginia is the wonderful graphic artist who designed our Habitat Network logo and associated drawings used in our brochures and for promotions.

Habitat Network Website

One of the outcomes of our Restoring Natural Capital grant project (read more below) was the creation of the Habitat Network. This is such a popular project that it deserved its own website please visit - www.habitatnetwork.org - which is a complementary resource to our IEWF website.

IEWF has resigned from ACFID

After almost 3 years as an ACFID Code of Conduct Signatory we have resigned. The focus of ACFID on Asia and the detailed levels of documentation required are not compatible with the size of our organisation and objectives. We still commit to the professional Code of Conduct espoused by ACFID however we are no longer a signatory.

Small Bird Surveys

Important elements of our Habitat Network project are small bird surveys and mapping. We are being assisted by Andrew Allen (lecturer at Macquarie University), Kurtis Lindsay and other students from Macquarie University. These naturalists with their wealth of knowledge about native birds and plants are assisting us with regular surveys within Riverglade Reserve, Field of Mars Reserve and Bedlam Bay. These surveys provide us with base data to monitor the effectiveness of some of the Habitat Network's and our partner's activities. We are also recording and mapping all small bird locations in Ryde and Hunter's Hill and are in the process of ground truthing previously recorded locations and adding new sightings.

Community Native Plant Nursery and Community Gardens for Ryde and Hunter's Hill

In talking to the community about our Habitat Network project it has become obvious that Ryde and Hunter's Hill need a community native plant nursery and also community gardens for demonstrating practical uses of native plants and their integration into sustainable gardens (which include habitat and edible plants). The community also wants to learn more about our local native plants and to help in producing them for our garden habitat areas.

We are working with the Councils toward developing these practical projects. A number of community groups, organisations and schools are supporting us with advancing these projects. In January 2010 we formed a group called the "Ryde Growing Community Network" to combine the efforts of all local groups in an endeavour to get approval to commence community gardens and a native plant nursery in the area.

On 24 August 2010 we were given approval to commence a community nursery in Santa Rosa Park, Ryde by City of Ryde. We have applied for several grants in order to fund establishing the nursery. Amongst other things we have to connect water to the site and erect a fence - before we can get started. We are hoping for news of the grant decisions in November.

January 2010 - Passing of "a good old weed" one of IEWF's founding members - Brendan Hannelly AO

We are saddened by the passing of one of our founding members who unstintingly provided his support to IEWF. Brendan took great delight in referring to himself as "the good old weed" and I think felt our Foundation reflected his character. Brendan was a giving person and loved to network with people from all walks of life - from politics and the IT industry to universities and schools. He will be missed.

Australian Government (formerly Envirofund Round 9) grant - completed in December 2009.

"Restoring Natural Capital for Community and Landscape Level Benefits"
and the Habitat Network - and landscape level RNC project.

We were delighted to hear (May 2008) that we won a grant for $29,300 for expanding the Restoring Natural Capital Workshop program and doing associated on-ground activites in partnership with City of Ryde, Hunter's Hill Council, the Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre and with Ryde - Hunter's Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society and the local community. This project is developing natural capital restoration activities with the community, schools, youth groups and building strategic community partnerships within the area.

This project is focusing on building (and planting) a Habitat Network throughout Ryde and Hunter's Hill and beyond. A habitat network is a practical way to have many people involved in restoring our natural capital for the benefit of the people and the environment.

Our first RNC workshop for this project focused on the mid section of Buffalo Creek catchment and was run August 30 2008. Also in August we put on a display at Moocooboola Festival which was good fun and we talked to many people about our "RNC Habitat Network" project and helped identify local weeds.

We have run several community days at the Pamplin block in the Field of Mars Reserve.The Pamplin block is a grassed area in the middle of good bushland and is currently infested with rabbits. The first tasks were to erect rabbit proof fencing and do other site preparation works. March 2009 we started planting habitat plants selected especially to favour small birds. These plants are being grown from local provenance seed. The Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre is directly involved with this part of the project through National Tree Day and around the Education Centre with their students on an on-going basis.

Taronga Park Zoo was going to be involved in sustainably using the bamboo which borders some of the grass area at the Pamplin Block. Unfortunately their collection vehicle is not appropriate to the terrain.

In October 2008 we finished developing an RNC Habitat network program for primary schools. During 4th term 2008 the invitation to participate and the PowerPoint presentation including script was distributed to 16 local schools. Some schools during 4th term ran through the presentation with their classes and assessed habitat sites. In 1st term 2009 the teachers from 4 schools did project activities including some habitat planting and had students participate in a logo drawing competition to help us design a logo for the Habitat Network. In May 2009 The Hon Maxine McKew MP presented the prizes to the winning students at an awards ceremony at Ryde East Primary School. A wonderful logo for the Habitat Network has been produced using inspiration from the winning entries.

Our first "RNC Habitat Network" workshop for Hunter's Hill was run October 19 2008 with a follow-on event which was a guided walk and talk along Tarban Creek on November 29th. This walk was very interesting covering history, discussions of regeneration and also some invasive vine identification. For National tree Day we ran a big planting day at Tarban Creek near Huntleys Cove.

In November 2008 we ran another workshop for Ryde, this time at the top of the Buffalo Creek catchment. Northern District Times newspaper promoted this event for us. A community planting day along the top of Buffalo Creek was also held May 30 2009.

Throughout this project we have actively promoted and reinforced the local councils' bushcare programs.

In January 2009 we adapted our schools presentation for wider use within Australia and made it available free of charge via this website, see Home page for more information.

Early in 2009 we developed a brochure focused on educating people about invasive vines, encouraging the removal of these vines and the replacement with native habitat plants. Also with the help of the Tzu Chi Foundation we have translated it into Mandarin and are running a program with their Foundation. See our Home page to download copies of these brochures.

During 2009 with the help of bird experts Sue Stevens and Steve Anyon-Smith we developed a brochure "Weed removal & habitat - Before you start... look listen & consider" - see our Home page for links to this brochure. We thank Sue and Steve for their support in creating this brochure. We hope to produce a more detailed booklet later in 2010.

We wish to thank Cornucopia (Mars Inc) for growing all of the local provenance habitat plants for this project.

During 2009 a number of primary schools carried our Habitat Planting Days at their schools. We have experimented with innovative ways of planting in school grounds, we will produce a paper on this later in 2010.

As an integral part of this project we also ran visits to Cornucopia Nursery, bird viewing walks, twilight twitters and a number of talks for various groups. Andre Clewel from the USA RNC Alliance also did talks for us at several events.

Stalls and our website have proven to be very successful in attracting new members to the Habitat Network, as they allow us to reach people from all walks of life. We now have over 350 members in our Habitat Network - the smallest member is a household and they range up in size to aged care facilites, gardening groups, schools and religious groups.

The grant funding finished December 2009 but by no means has this project stopped growing! Thank you to the Australian Federal Government, City of Ryde, Hunter's Hill Council, the Field of Mars Environmental Education centre, the Ryde - Hunter's Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society and all of our members and friends for making this project such a success.

For more information or to get involved or for a schools presentation for your school contact Bev at [email protected].

January 2009 - University Alfredo Peréz Guerrero extensión Gualaceo, Ecuador - new course started

The environmental sciences degree course, which is presented as an Engineering Degree Course in the Restoration of Natural Capital, has been launched and with a full complement of students in January 2009. This course with its primary focus on Restoring Natural Capital is the first of its kind and is already attracting interest from all over the world.

Our next focus in Ecuador was to work with Ecuagenera Nursery to establish an Environmental Research Station at one of the Ecuagenera Reserves. As of mid 2010 this is no longer a possibility however we will continue to assist them in their conservation efforts.

October 2008, New Green Waste brochures featuring IEWF photos

The Bureau of Rural Sciences has recently produced a pair of brochures to promote best practice processing of green waste, to minimise weed spread.

Google Grants Program

In July 2008, IEWF was selected to participate in the Google Grants program on the basis that our organisation had the potential to benefit from free Google AdWords advertising. Thank you Google! Try entering some relevant key words in Google to see our ads. Let us know what you think should have worked and why you think those key words are relevant.

Know Your Gardens Natives and Gardening Australia

The NSW Government through it's Environmental Trust extended the reach of our Know Your Gardens Natives project by assisting with a reprint of the "Your Hidden Native Garden" booklets and providing 25,000 copies to be distributed with the July 2008 Gardening Australia magazine. We hope you all got your copy!

Restoring Natural Capital Workshops - Ecuador May 2008

RNC Alliance members from France, USA and Australia met up in Ecuador and ran workshops in Cuenca and Gualaceo and lectured at the university in Yantzaza. Many interesting discussions took place with various government and non government people regarding starting an RNC youth project and lending support to other projects. We were delighted to be shown around the Gualaceo catchment, Cajas National Park and the proposed Botanic Gardens site in Cuenca. There are many wonderful projects underway in this exceptional part of the world.

We are continuing to work with University Alfredo Peréz Guerrero extensión Gualaceo to push forward the launch of what will become the RNC centre for excellence. The new course is due to start in January 2009.

Restoring Natural Capital presentation for orchid growers

March 2008 an introductory RNC presentation was run for Berowra Orchid Society. And in July 2008 a revised presentation was run for Orchid S.P.E.C.I.E.S. (NSW). This presentation looks at why RNC and how it relates to orchid growers.

Catchment Connections Project & Restoring Natural Capital Workshops

We have been invited to participate in the Catchment Connections Project being undertaken by Ryde, Hunter's Hill and Hornsby Councils. We have already run a demonstration RNC Workshop for this project. This workshop will lead into a bush friendly neighbours program and link into our Habitat Network from our grant detailed above.

Restoring Natural Capital Workshops

Our RNC Workshop launched in November 2007 and now being run in Australia and Ecuador. Workshop materials are available in English and Spanish. Shorter presentations and workshops are also available - see our Workshops page.

The RNC Workshop is free and runs for a full day or can run over 2 days if you have the time. The workshop is designed to look at local landscape issues (relating to water, soils, people, culture, production systems, flora, fauna and the natural environment), to build (and build upon) local community groups and to develop strategic landscape restoration projects planned and run (with guidance) by the community. This workshop is recommended to Councils, CMAs, Landcare groups and any community organisation to run for their local communities. We also run introductory presentations for clubs and community groups.

IEWF accepted as a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct, October 2007

As a not for profit NGO we have a commitment to restoring degraded ecosystems for the benefit of man and the environment. As our projects focus on working with communities we felt that it was important to adopt a code of conduct which highlights the importance of community, culture and human wellbeing. We are therefore honoured to be accepted by the ACFID Code of Conduct committee.

Guest lecturer at University of Sydney, August 2007

For the third year running Bev Debrincat gave a guest lecture at University of Sydney as an introduction for 1st year students enrolled in a variety of courses related to agriculture, veterinary sciences and the environment. The lecture cover plant identification, the use of modern key systems and introuduced the concepts of Restoring Natural Capital.

CITES sponsorship for co-ordinator of University Alfredo Peréz Guerrero extensión Gualaceo, Ecuador (UNAP) environmental sciences course

IEWF provided $1000USD sponsorship for Mariana Mites (a lecturer and co-ordinator with UNAP) to attend the CITES conference as the elected member of the Scientific Committee for Flora For South America and the Carrabean held in the Hague, The Netherlands, from June 3rd to June 15th 2007. This was and is a great honour for the university and for Mariana.

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that the international trade of specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Green Circles Project

Grant funding for the Green Circles Project is being sought with the Natural Resources Advisory Council. Ryde City Council (RCC) is leading the way and they are being supported by Ryde Environmental Education Network, Field of Mars Education Centre, Ryde - Hunter's Hill Flora & Fauna Preservation Society and IEWF.

This is a sustainability education project which involves interactive school natural resource management workshops based on educating the three levels of community members found in schools: teachers, parents and students. For more information contact Sarah Kinsela at [email protected] or Bev at [email protected]

Local News Article

View Bev's Garden, Northern District Times, 28 February, 2007.

University Alfredo Peréz Guerrero extensión Gualaceo, Ecuador

During 2006 and in 2007 IEWF has been assisting with the establishment of an Environmental Sciences degree course at this brand new university in the Andes, Ecuador.

Two of our Directors, by invitation, are Founding Members of this university.

It has been our pleasure to be involved in the opening of the university and we are helping facilitate the introduction of the Environmental Sciences course which should commence in October 2008.

In the interim an environmental research station is being established. If you are a qualified builder, ecologist, bush regenerator, restorationist or environmental scientist who would like to experience the Andes forests first hand and be involved in establishing a research station please contact Bev at [email protected]

Through the involvement of the RNC Alliance and the collaboration of a number of special people in Ecuador, the USA and Europe a very innovative course has been put together for the Environmental Science Course, which will provide many interesting and practical career choices for the students completing this course.

This university will sponsor many students who would normally be unable to afford to attend university in Ecuador. It will also provide a more accessible university for students to the east of the Andes.

This project will need a lot of financial assistance for everything from specialist teachers, tools, books, accommodation and student sponsorship. If you can help with even a small donation - it would be great!
For more information please send us an email.

RNC Alliance

IEWF is now the co-ordinator for the Pacific region for the RNC Alliance, which is a world-wide voluntary alliance working towards restoring natural capital for the benefit of the environment and communities.

Know Your Garden's Natives

In February 2005 the NSW Government through it's Environmental Trust gave us a grant for $AUD24,997 to develop this exciting education project in the urban environment. The aim is to get the wider community involved in seeking out those remnant native treasures that may be hiding in corners of their backyards. Why not get involved in looking for those hidden natives in your backyard? When you find them you can email us photos and a short story (a couple of paragraphs max) about your garden and we will include it on our website (at our descretion).

Identification & Educational Projects

Our first project with the University of Sydney, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, led by Dr Daniel Tan, has completed its first key for 30 common environmental weeds of the natural area at Lansdowne Farm in Cobbitty.

The first year students 2004 took part in this key building project by constructing Fact Sheets for specific weeds some of which are used in this Local Area Weed Key for the farm. Two students 1 from University of Sydney and 1 from Baptist University in Hong Kong built this key. It went live on 1 August 2005.

An extension of this project is the Web Weed Lookup, which is constantly evolving and features weed fact sheets for Cobbitty, Ryde and other areas.

An educational identification project is being undertaken by Dingo Creek Rainforest Nursery in Littoral Rainforest pockets near Crescent Head, NSW. Thank you Dingo Creek Rainforest Nursery.

Another project is for Black Head Lagoon, NSW and is being undertaken by Taree TAFE Conservation and Land Management Certificate 2 and 3 students. It involves the identification and observation of plants in the area. Thank you Kim.

The Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre located within the Field Of Mars Wildlife Refuge is working on a project to improve students skills in the art of observation. Thank you Steve.

TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney Institute – Ryde College – Environment is working on an identification project in Blue Gum High Forest near Ryde Hospital which is known as Florence’s Forest project. Thank you Frank.


One of our Directors was a community representative on City of Ryde's Community Environmental Strategies Committee for 4 years looking at sustainable solutions for Ryde Local Government Area and is currently on it's Bushland and Environs Committee.

Conservation Projects

An on-going conservation project which we have been involved is the "For Rest" project . This is a classic example of bush regeneration of a natural area at its best!

Environmental Register

As of 13 February 2007 we are offically on the Register of Environmental Organisations. All donations to IEWF are tax deductible.

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