Wild In Bayside - Making Room for Nature in our Urban Future

On 2nd October, the Bayside Friends of Native Wildlife hosted Dr Amy Hahs, urban ecologist, who presented ‘Making Room for Nature in our Urban Future’, to a large appreciative audience.

The biodiversity of Bayside contributes to a unique ‘sense of place’. We heard that recent research has shown the value of the sandbelt golf courses as most important regional wildlife habitat (even above gardens and remnant heathlands), because of their size, night darkness, and inclusion of mid-storey vegetation, that is largely missing from public parklands and streets. Mid-storey planting, especially of native vegetation, can also minimise the intrusion of exotic birds.

Biodiversity is expected to continue its decline with continued population growth and global climate change, while the size and density of urban areas expands. Some threatened species are more vulnerable to local extinction, by way of their integrated reliance on other organisms, viz. a large number of native orchid species. But urban areas offer opportunities for integration of biodiversity in careful design. There are opportunities to identify new habitats –as green roofs, connected corridors, water sensitive urban design in shopping centres, environmentally friendly sea walls, mid-storey planting, and the strategic selection of plant species. (On this last point, for example, we learnt that native bees have evolved with ‘short tongues’, and therefore require ‘shallow pools of nectar’ as provided by the flowers of tea trees, and other myrtaceae species.)

Urban conservation empowers people to take positive action in their own homes, workplaces and communities. Taken individually, these actions may seem small. But the combined effect can make a huge difference. There are many opportunities for practical co-operation between Bayside council, residents and Friends groups to continue making room for nature. Our venue for the talk offers one such opportunity – to create mid-storey planting and habitat along the front path that connects Beaumaris library and its car parks.

Dr Amy Hahs provided the additional web-link: https://lifeontheverge.net/2017/09/19/which-

Jill Orr-Young