Page 4085 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005
Greening Australia ACT and south east New South Wales executive officer, Mr Toby Jones, and environmental services manager, Ms Susie Wilson, outlined the extraordinary contribution ACT volunteers have made to Greening Australia’s recovery plantings. They explained that more than 2,800 community volunteers, supported by volunteer bushfire brigades and ACT emergency services, have participated in propagation, planting, watering and other activities. By mid-2005 more than 31,400 native trees, shrubs and grasses had been planted along riparian areas and steep parts of the landscape.
A new native revegetation guide has been published and 53,000 native plants grown. At the summit of Mount Stromlo, the director of the Mount Stromlo Observatory, Professor Penny Sackett, greeted the delegates, who learnt of the post-bushfire recovery works, including demolition, clearing and salvage works, new domes, and plans for the new advanced instrumentation and technology centre.
Delegates were then rotated in groups through various activities, including a guided tour of the Mount Stromlo Observatory, led by staff from the Australian National University’s research school of astronomy and astrophysics. Research/outreach officer, Mr Vince Ford, and publicity officer, Ms Natalie Aked, assisted. A presentation was given about the rebuilding of Stromlo Forest Park by renowned marathon runner Mr Robert de Castella and former Australian road cyclist and Atlanta Olympian Mr Stephen Hodges.
The Executive Director of Strategic Projects and Implementation of the Chief Minister’s Department, Mr George Tomlins, and CMD consultant Mr Ron Maginness assisted with those presentations. Many delegates also braved the inclement weather and participated in the planting of native saplings and seedlings with Greening Australia staff and volunteers before departing Mount Stromlo.
On the journey to and from Tidbinbilla nature reserve, delegates heard expert commentary from Ms Jocelyn Plovits, Senior Manager of the Shaping our Territory working group, about the impact of the fires on Canberra and recovery initiatives. At the conference dinner on Thursday evening at the national museum, John Mackay, who is the Chief Executive Officer of ActewAGL, spoke about ActewAGL and his personal experience following the 2003 bushfires. After dinner, several interstate and local delegates explored Canberra’s nightlife.
For the duration of the conference a sustainability and bushfire recovery conference display was mounted in the University House common room. This was open to the public on Wednesday 28 September and Thursday 29 September. Entry was free. Displays included the winning design for the Canberra international arboretum and gardens; the concept design for the ACT bushfire memorial and layout; Tidbinbilla redevelopments; plans for Stromlo Forest Park; the redevelopment of Uriarra and Stromlo villages; ecowise maps of recovery in catchments and by vegetation communities; information from the Australian Native Plants Society Canberra Region; Yarralumla Nursery display of fire-retardant plants; and information about Centrelink’s role in responding to emergencies.
On Friday 30 September delegates heard from Mr Jim Gould of the CSIRO, who also spoke on behalf of co-author Dr John Raison, about the likely increase in bushfires