Facebook Join My List Logo
Your regular environmental news & updates
Become a citizen scientist and adopt a smart sensor, Exciting Electric Vehicle Science on show at Newcastle Show, Meet the new NUSEC Presidents, Women in STEM seminar, Stay in touch for Mine Rehab 2019, and Funding available for Landcare Groups

Now you're caught up,
Alec Roberts
Opportunity Calendar
  • 13 - HEDG National Science Week - Destination Moon: more missions, more science.
  • 15 - HEDG Earth Science Week - Geoscience is for everyone.
Birdlife of Belmont Lagoon
When: Friday 15 March, 10 am - 11 am
Cost: FREE

Join a local bird enthusiast who will provide insight into the amazing diversity of birds who visit Belmont Lagoon throughout the year. Hear about the human history of the lagoon; and the birds' resilience as their home territory changes over time. Bookings essential. 

Campaign Starter Session: Power-stations
When: Tuesday March 19, 4pm
Where: 167 Parry Street, Hamilton East (Hunter Community Environment Centre)
Cost: FREE

Come along to HCEC HQ, to get casually updated, or completely involved in HCEC's campaign to improve the regulation of coal-power stations!

Community Meeting: Towards Transition
When: Thursday March 21 5:45 pm - 7:30 pm
Where: Morisset Multi-Purpose Centre
Cost: FREE
Hosted by HCEC.

Following on from the Preparing for Power Station Closure forum and the release of Out of the Ashes by the HCEC, the Lake Macquarie and Central coast community are invited to converge, to plan the next steps towards addressing heavy metal pollution from coal-ash waste dumps on the shores of Lake Macquarie.

There will also be an opportunity to learn more about the findings of Out of the Ashes: Water Pollution and Lake Macquarie's aging coal-fired power stations, get to know one another and take steps to see regulations around coal-ash management improve. 

Tea and coffee provided.

Autonomous Vehicles: Fact Vs. Fiction
When: Thursday 21 March, 5 pm - 7:30 pm
Where: Newcastle Conservatorium, Cnr Laman & Auckland St, Newcastle
Cost: FREE

We are delighted to invite you to the first New Professors Talk of 2019 presented by Professor Kristen Pammer, Head of the School of Psychology. In this free public lecture, Professor Pammer will explore the extraordinary potential, risks and benefits of autonomous vehicles.

The New Professors Talk public lecture series is a chance for our community to hear firsthand from the University of Newcastle's world-leading researchers and subject-matter experts speaking on topics that affect us all.

We look forward to seeing you soon and celebrating the world class research of our University.

State Election Soiree - Fundraiser for the Hunter Community Environment Centre, Hamilton
When: Saturday 23 March 5pm
Where: 167 Parry Street, Hamilton East (Hunter Community Environment Centre)
Cost: $10

Join us on the evening of the NSW state election, as we discover which pollies will be thrust into leadership positions - we predict it will be equal parts celebration and despair, all the better in the presence of good company. $10 entry, all prooceeds go to the HCEC campaigns and community centre in Hamilton. Food and bevs provided!

Plant trees to earn carbon offset dollars.
If you have land you can be paid to plant trees to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Seth Williams, a remarkable young UON alumnus, has set up a platform that increases the benefits and accessibility of climate change action for landholders and businesses. 

Seth created MySequester , a platform that connects businesses and the community in an initiative to offset carbon in the atmosphere through tree planting projects. 

This approach is unique in that it allows people to earn money for tree planting projects of any size without having to commit huge resources to the massively large mainstream offset projects. 

Organisations and businesses will be able to directly impact their community while gaining recognition and exposure for their positive contribution to the environment.

Smoking gun: Mount Erebus, active volcano in the Trans Antarctic Mountains volcanic province
Professor Silvia Frisia
Roshni Sharma
HEI Seminar: Women in STEM
When: Friday 27th March 5pm - 7pm
Cost: $0 - $25

Celebrating Women in STEM, the Hunter Environmental Institute is proud to present three outstanding women in their field.

Professor Silvia Frisia is an expert in all things carbonates…because carbonate minerals and Life are strictly associated! Silvia will present "Volcanoes, Water and Life Under Thick Antarctic Ice"

Mary-Ellen Feeney is Asia Pacific Technical Director of GIS at Jacobs, and a passionate advocate for STEM education, who is actively involved in promoting women in the surveying and spatial information professions. Following her month-long expedition to Antarctica, Mary-Ellen will present "Women Leaders’ Stem Expedition to Antarctica"

Roshni Sharma is a GIS Specialist with a background in both research and industry in environmental science and management and spatial information. Roshni is excited to talk with you about how the Australian geospatial industry is an integral part of the work that you do every day in her talk "How Does ‘Where’ Fit Into The Future Of The Environment?", and how the developments in the next few years may evolve the way you think about the world and your work as an environmental consulting professional. She was recently invited to attend the United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress in Deqing, China, and has brought back many insights, ideas and thinks to think about. 

This event is brought to you by the  Hunter Environmental Institute  and sponsored by  The University of Newcastle, Australia and Umwelt (Australia)

Mary-Ellen Feeney at Paradise Bay, Antarctica
Invitation to Participate in the 2019 Electric Vehicle Festival

This STEM Project that covers school curriculum in NSW and offers prizes in total of more than $5,000
The Hunter Science and Innovation Hub is once again hosting the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival in it’s ninth year. This year the EV prize and Mini EV Prize events are to held at Cameron Park Race Track same as last year. The Mini EV Prize is open to all high schools and primary schools and the competition has a High School Division and a Primary School Division. The Race Day for the Mini EV is Wednesday 27th November 2019. Entry fee for registration and participating in the Mini EV event is FREE.

The 2019 EV Prize is will be held at Cameron Park Race Track as a High School event ONLY on Wednesday 27th November 2019. Entry fee for registration and participating in the EV Prize event is FREE.

Please refer to Save the Date flyer for promotion in primary and high schools.

For teachers looking for support to participate in either the Mini EV Prize and/or the EV Prize events – we are hosting a Teacher Workshop on Wednesday 27th March 2019 as an integrated workshop that covers the Mini EV Prize and the EV Prize competition. The workshop is to be held at the IDC Building at the UoN’s Callaghan Campus. Teachers interested to attend this FREE Workshop please register your interest on Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/EVWorkshop2019.

$5,000 worth of Prizes!!!

Looking forward to working with you and your students towards another eventful year.


Tim and Latha

Installing a Microclimate Sensor at Lake Mac Council
The Things Network mapper showing relative signal strength for LoRaWAN in the Charlestown area. The red dots depict best reception and are followed by orange, yellow, green, light blue and blue.
Become a citizen scientist and adopt a smart sensor
In partnership with the University of Technology Sydney, Lake Macquarie City Council is running a pilot project called Adopt a Sensor. The project is part of Councils Smart City/Suburbs Strategy and aims to investigate the use of LoRaWAN technology to deliver usable insights to plan more effectively for climate change.

The project aims to distribute the Microclimate One sensor to interested private residential candidates to monitor micro climate conditions and take part in Citizen Science in the Charlestown area. The climate data gathered will be uploaded using the Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) to an online open source platform that will contribute to our (Council and community) understanding of how micro climates respond to a range of factors including the built and non-built environment. There is also potential to actuate the data to communicate with an art piece physically located in Charlestown (Yet to be confirmed).

Potential residential candidates will need to be located in an area that has good reception where the sensor device can talk to the gateway (receiver) which is located at Charlestown oval. While Council does have a signal strength testing device (MDOT BOX) to gain clarity in this respect, to give you a visual perspective of good locations the map below is produced from TTN mapper (The Things Network) which is associated with the devices. The red dots depict best reception and are followed by orange, yellow, green, light blue and blue.

Successful candidates will host the Microclimate one Sensor for approximately 3 months. Council will provide each candidate with a sensor installation kit. The kit includes:
  • Microclimate one Sensor
  • Star Picket
  • Two heavy duty cable ties
  • Bamboo length
Note: Total height should be approximately 3m from ground level.

If you are interested in hosting a sensor at your house and would like more information please email Council planning@lakemac.nsw.gov.au with the heading Adopt a Sensor or ring Council on 4921 0333 and ask for Kent Plasto in the Integrated Planning Department.
Earth Hour
When: Saturday March 30 8:30 pm
Where: Everywhere
Cost: FREE

The fight for our planet’s future is on!

Australia is home to some of the world’s most iconic and breathtaking natural landscapes and wildlife. But just like many of the natural wonders across our blue-green planet, we’re facing massive threats to our biodiversity due to climate change.

That’s why millions of people in over 180 countries are switching off their lights for Earth Hour as a symbolic gesture to show the need for stronger climate action. Are you ready to join the movement, Australia?

It’s time to switch off and #Connect2Earth.

Exciting Electric Vehicle Science at Newcastle Show
Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts and long-time Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival (HVEVF) organiser Ms Latha Lewis organised an exciting and highly successful Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) display and mini Electric Vehicle (EV) building workshop at the three days of the Newcastle Show in early March. The major financial support for this workshop activity came from The Port of Newcastle Community Fund.

​Some quotes from visitors young and old:
  • This is the best exhibit of the whole Show
  • Great to have a chance for the kids to build their own machines
  • We could only stay for 30 minutes but would have liked to stay for 3 hours.
  • I will get my school to take part in the EV competition in November

​Approximately 2,000 people (mostly families) visited our exhibition, demonstration and workshop in total – It was a very rewarding experience and many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who made it all possible and to the curious children that lured their parents into our space to build a car for them to race.

Seeding - Newcastle Environment Groups Gathering
When:  Saturday April 13, From 8:45

Newcastle is a hotbed of activity. There are so many environmental groups, some working in isolation, many unaware of the work being carried out by others, thereby potentially missing opportunities to lend and borrow resources (information, skills, physical materials, volunteers), collaborate or spread their reach.

The Seeding is an opportunity for you all to get to know each other. Groups taking part are invited to bring promotional and informative materials, as well as merchandise for fundraising. You can also prepare 'wanted' ads - want people to attend an event? Looking for someone with a particular skill? Need training? Bring your 'ad' and we will display it for other groups to see and respond to.

Finish the day with live musical accompaniment while you explore the community garden or chat to other attendees.

If there are any environmental groups you feel should be invited to this event, please share this event with them. Please be mindful that the current ambit of this event encompasses only environmental groups in the Newcastle region.

We're really looking forward to seeing you there, plus all the amazing ideas and collaborations that are sure to come out of this!

Meet the new NUSEC Presidents!
NUSEC is the Newcastle University Student Environment Club. NUSEC is a group for those passionate about the environment and looking to get involved with clean ups, campaigning and conservation projects. We help out local organisations cleaning up our rivers and beaches, assist the National Parks and Wildlife Service with bush regeneration in some of the state's most beautiful nature reserves, and join in on important environmental campaigns to help spread the word about sustainability.
My name is Liz and I am currently finishing the final subjects of my environmental engineering degree and working part time as a coastal engineer. I have been involved with NUSEC since 2016 and with the NUSEC exec since 2017. This year with NUSEC I hope to continue our success in beach clean and landcare activities as well as promoting and implementing sustainable practices on campus.
Hi I’m Michael, I’m in my 4th year of a civil engineering degree. I got involved in NUSEC after my work at a landfill, witnessing the amount of waste our community produces. I saw an opportunity in NUSEC to help promote waste reduction and reach young people who will have a big impact on the future. I’m looking forward to our South West Rocks trip in July to work with local land care groups tackling invasive weeds.

Funding for Landcare Groups
The Australian Government is offering grants funding for small-scale, community-led projects that conserve, protect and sustainably manage our environment.

The Australian Government is investing more than $22 million in 2019-20 to deliver a wide range of on-ground projects that conserve, protect and sustainably manage our environment.

Under the Communities Environment Program, each federal electorate can receive up to $150,000 in grant funding for small-scale, community-led projects – nominated by the local Member of Parliament in consultation with the community – with a focus on environmental priorities such as:
  • waste and litter reduction
  • protecting native animals, including our threatened species
  • addressing weeds and pest animals
  • restoring and improving coasts, wetlands, riverbanks and waterways
  • greening parks and urban areas.

This program aims to support the environmental priorities of local community and environment groups in their regions and neighbourhoods. It aims to not only recover and strengthen our environment, but also to build and strengthen our communities.

Each electorate can receive funding for up to 20 projects, with the minimum grant amount being $2500 and the maximum grant amount set at $20,000. Sitting Members of Parliament will consult with their community to identify potential projects for their respective electorates.

This is a fantastic opportunity for Landcare groups.

For more information... or please contact your local Member of Parliament.
FLORA OF THE HUNTER REGION: Endemic Trees and Larger Shrubs
by Stephen Bell, Christine Rockley, Anne Llewellyn
Flora of the Hunter Region is a botanical identification guide which combines art and science to describe the 54 endemic trees and large shrubs of the Hunter region.

The Hunter Region, between the Hawkesbury and Manning rivers in eastern New South Wales, hosts a rich diversity of vegetation, with many species found nowhere else. Spanning an area from the coast to the tablelands and slopes, its rainforests, wet and dry sclerophyll forests, woodlands, heathlands, grasslands and swamps are known for their beauty and ecological significance.

Flora of the Hunter Region describes 54 endemic trees and large shrubs, combining art and science in a manner rarely seen in botanical identification guides. Species accounts provide information on distribution, habitat, flowering, key diagnostic features and conservation status, along with complete taxonomic descriptions. Each account includes stunning botanical illustrations produced by graduates of the University of Newcastle's Bachelor of Natural History Illustration program. The illustrations depict key diagnostic features and allow complete identification of each species.

This publication will be a valuable resource for those interested in the plants of the region, including researchers, environmental consultants, horticulturalists and gardeners, bush walkers, herbaria, and others involved in land management.

Flora of the Hunter Region is being launched this week in Newcastle.

Applications now open - Regional Community Energy
NSW Government has established a Regional Community Energy Fund under the Regional Community Energy program, which is now open for grant applications.

The fund is designed to support the growth of the regional community energy sector and improve the reliability and affordability of energy for communities in regional NSW.

The fund will award a total of $20 million over three and a half years for capital expenditure with two funding rounds. Each funding round is expected to provide up to $10 million of grant funding.

The deadline for submitting applications for round one is 23:59 (AEST) 3 May 2019.

More information about the fund and the application process can be found at energy.nsw.gov.au/regional-community-energy

Should you have any questions please email the team at communityenergy.program@planning.nsw.gov.au .

Keep in touch for Mine Rehab Conference
Dear Mine Rehab colleagues [sponsors, exhibitors, delegates, and presenters]

                In a nutshell:     CRC CARE wants to be able to contact you regarding Mine Rehab 2019 .

As you are aware, the Tom Farrell Institute of the University of Newcastle, NSW, has run eight consecutive conferences titled “Best Practice Ecological Rehabilitation of Mined Lands” or Mine Rehab [2011 to 2018]. The table below shows images of the front page of each conference’s delegate handbook, and some photos from Mine Rehab 2018.

The conference is well recognised by people in the mining and allied sectors in Australia, and also overseas. The success of this conference is because of the support and participation of stakeholders like industry, government, academics, and most importantly, you.

This year the 9  th   Mine Rehabilitation Conference (2019) will continue, as the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (  CRC CARE  ) has kindly agreed to take over the organisation of the conference.

"Established in 2005, CRC CARE is a unique collaboration between industry, government departments, environmental regulators and agencies, environmental consultants, and researchers. As well as running a program to demonstrate remediation technologies at mine sites, CRC CARE is leading a bid to establish a new Cooperative Research Centre on resource sector environmental issues, including mine rehabilitation, mine voids, mine closure and relinquishment, and mine-related environmental contamination."

The University of Newcastle has an ongoing close relationship with CRC CARE. And CRC CARE has frequently engaged with past Mine Rehab conferences.

As the Mine Rehabilitation Conference is undergoing transition, the Organising Committee cordially invites you to participate in 9  th   Mine Rehabilitation Conference and associated activities, to be held on Wed. 19  th   -21 June 2019 in Newcastle. We would like to request your continued interest in the conference as in previous years.   CRC CARE will need your permission to contact you directly, regarding this conference. Please click the button below to link you to CRC CARE’s contact page for the conference.

Please note  CRC CARE’s Privacy Policy can be found at https://www.crccare.com/footer/privacy.
Questions or concerns in relation to the how CRC CARE protects the privacy of your personal information should be directed to CRC CARE.

Tim, Alec, and Nigel, the folk that you may remember from previous Mine Rehab events, are still having a strong involvement in Mine Rehab 2019. However   CRC CARE will be the organiser of the next (2019) Mine Rehab conference  .

Please, do choose to keep your engagement with the Mine Rehab conference.   Visit  https://minedlandrehab.weebly.com/contact.html      if you want to stay up to date with the Mine Rehab conference in 2019 and beyond.

Please, do choose to keep your engagement with the Mine Rehab conference. 
Yours faithfully
Tim Roberts,
Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts    School of Environmental & Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle, NSW 2308, Australia. Room SR280, Social Sciences Building, Callaghan Campus, The University of Newcastle (UON); University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308 Australia.   Office: +61 2 49217037. Mobile: +61 418 205 664. Fax: +61 2 49215033.  CRICOS Provider 00109J.   www.newcastle.edu.au/

9  th   Annual Mine Rehabilitation Conference   will be held on 19  th   June 2019 in Newcastle    http://minerehab2019.crccare.com/
Sign up   here   to receive our latest news. 
Director:   The Australian Landscape Science Institute   Ltd   www.tals.org.au
Organiser of the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival 27 November 2019
Organiser   https://hish.org.au/   Hunter Innovation and Science Hub Inc
Committee Member Hunter Environmental Institute   https://www.hei.org.au/   
Committee Member Richmond Vale Rail Trail Inc   https://www.facebook.com/richmondrailtrail/
CRICOS Provider 00109J
Ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world by QS World University Rankings 2017/18 
CRICOS Provider 00109J
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Ph: +61 (0)2 4921 5700 | Email
CRICOS Provide 00109J