This week sixteen doughty Atlassians joined Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and Warringah Council in a war on weeds. We revisited the site of our previous battle. I have to admit to some trepidation when planning this second expedition. What if we got to the site and saw all our previous work undone? What if the weeds had overrun the dunes, banishing the native Ozzie fauna and flora to the back of beyond?

The Long Reef dunes

We are delighted to report that we’re winning! It’s clear that CVA and Warringah Council have been doing great work in the two years since we were there last.

Here’s what one of the Atlassian volunteers said:

It was most impressive. A lot less weed-filled now. Last time we had to dig up roots, saw down some of the larger mature invasive shrubs and apply poison to the stumps. None of that was required this time around. It was also noticeably cleaner than last time with a lot less garbage dumped around the place. Could it be that previously it was in such a state folks thought the place resembled a rubbish dump and used it as such and since the cleanup has been regarded as proper shrub-land and respected now?

We were at point A on this map.

View Larger Map

The briefing

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Tom and Leah from CVA gave us an introduction to the work of the CVA, briefed us on the perils we were likely to encounter in the Ozzie bush, and took us through some essential calisthenics.

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Our assignment for the day was “targeted weeding”: going after a specific weed and eradicating it from the area. Jim from Warringah Council introduced us to the foe: Fleabane, a weed originally from America that grows profusely in New South Wales bush and gardens, smothering native plants and thus reducing the habitat of birds, insects and animals. Jim explained that our timing was perfect. The Fleabane was just about to seed. If left for a few more days, the area would soon be overrun again.

Into the fray!

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Overheard…

Let’s not beat about the bush:

It’s great to get out of the office. Shows you that there’s more to life. You can use your muscles.

From Jim at the briefing, telling us how much fun we were about to have:

The ground is very sandy. It’s a cunning way of fooling people that weeding is easy.

Getting down to grass roots:

You know what I’m going to be dreaming of tonight?
A white Christmas?
No. Weeds.

A bit later, in another neck of the woods:

Look, a little Banksia!
Are they supposed to be growing here?
Yes.
Oh, good.

Even later, as the sun just kept getting hotter:

Oh, I can’t wait for my swim later!

The goodies

We encountered a number of the birds, insects and of course the plants that benefit from our bush regeneration activities. Here are just a few of them.

A small water dragon:
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Porcupine grass (Spinifex), planted to help bind the dunes. It produces large spiky seed balls that roll around merrily in the breeze:
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Guinea flower (Hibbertia), another good ground cover:
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Bush tucker!

Leah from the CVA educated some of us about Dianella berries. I liked the texture. The taste was very subtle:

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Tom told us about the edible seed pods from Pigface (Carpobrotus). They taste a bit like a kiwi fruit, but fleshier:
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Lost!

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We misplaced Fabian somewhere between morning tea and lunch. After a ten-minute search, I found him waist-high in the Ozzie bush, tackling some giant Fleabane in their inexorable march towards the beach. What a gorgeous place to be lost! Here he is, emerging triumphant.

Atlassian Foundation

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How is it that sixteen Atlassians could spend a day on bush regeneration? Thanks to the Atlassian Foundation, each of us can spend up to five working days a year on the non-profit organisation of our choice. We chose to help Conservation Volunteers Australia in their work with local councils to save the Ozzie bush.

More fun and photos

Much fun was had by all. There are many more photos on Flickr.

Thank you to Atlassian, Conservation Volunteers Australia and Warringah Council. A number of the volunteers said they’d like to do a bush regeneration day more often. Me too!

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