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Your regular environmental news & updates
City of Newcastle to phase out all single use plastics, Cane Toad Alert for Lake Mac, and The Seeding is a start of something great

Now you're caught up,
Alec Roberts

Opportunity Calendar

  • 3 - Critical Mass bike ride, Civic Park
  • 4 - Help us clean the Mangroves, Bobs Farm
  • 4 - Sustainable Activism - Beginning With You, Hamilton
  • 5 - Hands across the sands, Nobbys Beach
  • 7 - How to get involved in your smart city, Newcastle
  • 11 - MAD About Dirt, Narara
  • 12 - How smart is your veggie patch?, Wallsend
  • 24-26 - HCEC Skill-Up, Hunter Valley
  • 25 - Cake, conversation and Council's Sustainability Strategy, Charlestown
  • 27 - Earth-Fest, Aberdeen
  • 13 - HEDG National Science Week - Destination Moon: more missions, more science.
  • 11 - We Need to Talk About Climate: The Hunter Climate Summit, Newcastle
  • 15 - HEDG Earth Science Week - Geoscience is for everyone.

April Green Drinks
When: Wednesday 17 April, 6:30 PM - 9 PM
Where: Greenroof, 71 Tudor St Hamilton
Cost: FREE

Hi all! This month we will be having our Green Drinks at the Greenroof in Hamilton! We're pleased to announce that we will have a representative from the beach clean-up group, Elasmo, coming to chat with us about all the great work they do and the pollution issues currently affecting our beaches. 

This is our regular (usually monthly) event. Attendance is free and open to everyone. Simply order and pay for your drinks/food from the friendly staff at this month's venue, The Greenroof. Look forward to seeing you there!

Climate emergency:facing extinction and what to do about it
When: Friday, 26 April 1 PM - 5 PM
Cost: FREE

As the earth heats up and tipping points pass, climate scientists are warning we risk ecosystem collapse and human extinction. 
  • It’s time to tell the truth about the danger we face. 
  • It’s time to declare a climate emergency. 
  • It’s time to rebel!
Jane Morton will describe the climate emergency and the Extinction Rebellion.  

The talk will be from 1.00pm till 3.00pm followed by afternoon tea and a workshop from 3.30pm till 5.00pm for those who would like more time for in-depth discussion and planning. 

Narara Ecovillage is a 20 min walk from Narara train station on the Newcastle - Sydney line. Or catch the train to Gosford and someone will collect you from the station. 

Many thanks to Lake Mac Council for this information.
Cane Toad Alert
There has been two confirmed cane toad sightings in the Lake Macquarie area. Residents are being asked to be alert and keep an eye out, particularly close to Eleebana, southern Warners Bay, Western Mount Hutton and Swansea.

Cane toads are a serious invasive pest, and would have devastating impacts on biodiversity if allowed to establish in our region.

If you suspect you've found a cane toad:
  • Always wear gloves and eye protection when handling potential cane toads. Cane toads extrude and sometimes squirt poison from glands positioned behind the head.
  • The animal should be collected and held in a closed, well-ventilated, non-toxic container, with some water.
  • Don't harm the animal until the species is confirmed. Cane toads can be confused with some native frogs.
  • Photograph the animal and report it to NSW Department of Primary Industries via their online form or email .

Climate Letters to Loved Ones
When: Saturday 27 April, 9 AM - 11:30 AM
Cost: FREE (Buy your own food and beverages)

On Saturday mornings between now and the Federal election some of us from NCCR will be holding a space in the back lane of Suspension for members of the public to bring a coffee and write a letter to a friend, family or loved one on the climate emergency, asking them to Vote Climate in the next election and to write a letter of their own.

Research shows that the most effective way to convince someone of something important to you is their personal connection with you. The letter can say anything you like; it could ask them to vote climate in the coming Federal Election, but the idea is mainly to inspire them with your passion, your honesty, and to name the emergency for what it is. We will provide the paper, the pens, the stamps and a few resources about the Climate Emergency if you need them (though your passion is more important than facts). Feel free to bring a coffee and your friends, We hope to see you there.

Fed Election: Health first Critical Mass bike ride
When: Friday, 3 May 6 PM - 8 PM
Cost: FREE

This months theme is for the Federal Election. Health and homes before obesity highways. Active transport is the key to reduce road congestion and help make society healthy (body and mind). Just follow world's best practice long term city planning. Or copy Sydney urban sprawl and have gridlock. Stop the wasteful money on highways that doesn't fix congestion long term and spend it on affordable homes.

We follow all the road rules so that we do not get any fines and to raise awareness among all road users that cyclists are legitimate road users too.

EvEry 1st FriDay of eVrRY mOntH! Never cancelled because we can always find a safe route.

Meet at 5:30pm for a 6.00pm pushbike ride. Community friendly, free, full inclusion, no discrimination! If anyone is late to the ride they can catch up to us on the return loop from at Nobby's lighthouse.

We cycle around Newcastle CBD / beaches for an hour or so at an easy pace. 
End at a dinner spot, usually at Beaumont St. (plant eaters and other dietary restrictions welcomed!) Usual route is 11.5km

Our city is great for bikes:
1. Safer back street shortcuts, 
2 Learn about confusing pushbike pictures & lane position/traffic skills. Assert your rights to ride on Newcastle's roads, away from opening car doors.

Critical Mass are world wide events to celebrate / promote cycling.

The start of something great at "The Seeding"
Thank you everyone who attended The Seeding last Saturday. It was our first time, so there were definitely a few things that could be improved, but it seems that overall everyone had a good time.

The Seeding is an opportunity for non-profit and community environmental groups to get to know each other. 

Initial numbers suggest attendance of around 70 people and 30 groups.

Congratulations go to ‎Frances O'Brien for a brilliant job putting this together.

Big thanks to Jo Hanna from Hunter Community Environment Centre and Rosie Caves for helping get the day together. Thank you to Dhuga Ray and Vahid Roser for their most generous donations for the raffle. Thanks also to Kath Teagle and Beyond Zero Emissions - Newcastle team for helping with the set up.

The Seeding is likely to become a permanent feature of Newcastle, so please keep your ears open.

See you again, Seeds 🌱
Sustainable Activism - Beginning With You
When: Saturday, 4 May 4 pm - 7:30 pm
Cost: FREE / Donation

Do you care about the world, the environment, animals, people? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the state of things?Then come along.
An opportunity to reflect on practice and build tools to become a more efficient less stressed activist while engaging in healing and release.
Free or you can make a donation to your favourite cause. 

This will utilise basic art therapy techniques such as using visual tools, practicing gratitude techniques and looking at language.

How to get involved in your smart city
When: Tuesday, 7 May 5:30 PM -7:30 PM
Cost: FREE

In this free event you’ll hear about how Newcastle is becoming more liveable, connected and sustainable through smart city tech, and discover some practical examples of how you can incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT) into your daily life.

Facilitated by Core Electronics, this workshop is designed for makers of all skill levels and features hands-on kinetic learning. There will be two projects, and everyone will have the opportunity to to explore internet-enabled technology with support along the way. Attendees will learn how to create a simple home automation system which connects their phone to projects around their house. We will also create an artistic project that combines hardware with internet services that you use everyday!

These workshops are designed to be interesting and inspire people to make their own Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Attendees need a smart-phone to get the most out of the projects, though no prior IoT/coding/electronics experience is needed.


This event is being run by the City of Newcastle as part of the 2019 Hunter Innovation Festival. Check out what else is on the program at the Hunter Innovation Festival web page.

MAD About Dirt
When: Saturday May 11, 9:30 AM - 4 PM
Where: 9.30 am to 1 pm: Narara Valley High School, Fountains and Pandala Roads, Narara,
Narara Ecovillage, 25 Research Road, Narara, NSW 2250.
1 to 4 pm: Narara Ecovillage, 25 Research Road, Narara,
Cost: FREE

Calling all dirt- and soil- worshipers, cultivators, regenerators, permaculturalists, composters and mud-lovers!

Date claimer: Saturday May 11 2019, 10 am to 4 pm. Put this not-to-missed event in your 2019 dairy now.

Narara Eco Living Network will present a fun and informative day dedicated to “dirt” (mainly soil!). 
• A day that celebrates the vitality and importance of soil-the living carpet we take for granted, totally rely on, and which we are losing much too fast! 
• A day of very practical information: soil science and analysis (testing and tasting!), composting and worm farms, permaculture and regenerative agriculture, chemistry and biology, and getting your hands into dirt.

Talks, demonstrations, hands-on experiences, and opportunities to talk with experts. Presenters include ABC television personalities Angus Stewart and Tino Carnevale, Simon Leake ( SESL, soils author), Prof. Mark Taylor (MacQuarie University), Peter Bacon (Woodlots and Wetlands), Permaculture experts and more.

Venues: Narara Valley High School and Narara Ecovillage, Narara

How smart is your veggie patch?
When: Sunday 12 May, 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Cost: FREE

he promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things in your yard and garden. Members of the RENEW (formerly called Alternative Technology Association) form a vibrant network of people actively reducing their impact on the environment by making tangible changes to their homes and lifestyles, and sharing skills with people in their area. The local Hunter Region Branch meets monthly at Wallsend Library and during this special Hunter Innovation Festival event they'll be looking at how you can enhance your backyard food production with technology.

Clean Seas campaign
City of Newcastle has endorsed the  UN Environment Clean Seas campaign to phase out all single-use plastic from City-managed enterprises, activities and events on City land by 2020. This included plastic straws, balloons, promotional paraphernalia, plastic signage and single-use water bottles.

Cake, conversation and Lake Mac Council's Sustainability Strategy
When: Saturday, 25 May 10 AM - 12:30 PM
Cost: FREE

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with Sustainable Neighbourhood volunteers from around the city of Lake Macquarie.

We’ll be hearing about Lake Mac Council’s revised Environmental Sustainability Strategy and have the opportunity to provide feedback.

We’ll also enjoy plenty of morning tea treats and a chance to catch up with our neighbours. All welcome - a great way to find out more about Sustainable Neighbourhoods.

HCEC Skill-Up
When: May 24-26
Where: Wildlife retreat in the Hunter Valley
Cost: TBA

Come along to a weekend skill-share in all things advocacy & activism with the HCEC network.

The Hunter Community Environment Centre was established in 2004 to encourage and facilitate environmental and social justice advocacy and education in the Hunter region.

Contact Jo Lynch for more details

Phytoremediation Workshop
When : Wednesday 19 Jun 8:30 am - 3 pm
Cost : $440

Harnessing Hyperaccumulator Plants to Phytoremediate Contaminated Mining Sites

Hyperaccumulator (HA) plants can take up huge amounts of metals in their shoots without showing any toxicity impacts on the plants.

Phytoremediation using HA plants is an exciting and promising biotechnology because of the following features: relatively inexpensive; considered an eco-friendly and sustainable technology; aesthetically pleasing; and ability to achieve complete breakdown of toxic materials. 

This workshop is presented by Dr Charles Lee, Senior Lecturer at University of Newcastle (Australia), Singapore​, and will provide participants with the theory and practical skills on how to use phytoremediation to cleanup mining sites that are contaminated with metals.

This workshop is part of the 2019 Mine Rehab Conference

School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Ph: +61 (0)2 4921 7037 | Email
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