Margaret Sheppard, a retired librarian and long-time member of the Society and our Subcommittee, died on 10 March surrounded by her family. A wake to celebrate Margaret’s life and to say thankyou to the community for being so kind to her over the years was held at Rothwell Lodge in Ferry Rd, the home of Robert Hannan and Peter Crawshaw, on Saturday 14 March 2020. In an extraordinary coincidence, on the day of Margaret’s death the Subcommittee received an email from Amelia Theodorakis, Communications and Marketing Manager at Red Room Poetry, trying to contact Margaret as they had received a request to publish her poem about blue wrens. As a tribute to Margaret we thought it appropriate to let members of the Society read her poem again:
Superb Fairy Wrens
A little bird,
Collar of brilliant blue
I’m looking for a mate,
Chocolate, coffee and cream coloured
After I find her, one, two or several,
After mating with one, two or more,
Eggs hatched, little ones flying,
I will moult,
I will shed my breeding plumage, all the brilliant blue,
I will assume her colours
No longer seen as a Blue Wren
I am properly a Superb Fairy Wren,
A splendid little bird.
© Margaret Sheppard
Norma Hawkins, a founding member of the Subcommittee and at 97 probably the oldest member of the Society, has made a generous donation to the Subcommittee to support its work. Norma particularly wishes to fund the continuation of the Craney Small Grants program for biodiversity projects in our local preschools and schools. The President has sent Norma a note of thanks on behalf of the Society.
Orphan School Creek Bushcare Group
Two short working bees were held on Wednesday afternoons in March with the focus on weeding and pruning. The rain has helped some of last year’s shrub plantings, as well as encouraging plenty of weed growth. A total of seven volunteers participated in the working bees. Jenny Kent, the City’s new Community Garden and Volunteer Coordinator, came along to the working bee on 11 March and toured the site and met volunteers. A date in April was discussed for a community planting around the playground area and Jenny has been investigating sources of native tube stock, as the Cornucopia Nursery in Gladesville has now closed. Due to COVID-19, however, the planting day has been postponed.
The part of the Orphan School Creek Reserve where the volunteers work has had a lot of disturbance in the last six months. Council rangers have been investigating encroachment and dumping by neighbours, including drainage onto the site by new building works. Several large trees have also fallen across the site, including across a key planted area. And there appears to be no immediate likelihood of the fenced areas of unremediated soil being restored. The National Trust bush regeneration team has now done some weed control in these fenced areas.
With all the current changes taking place to prevent us from contracting COVID-19, the Subcommittee has cancelled all face-to-face meetings but members will keep in contact via telephone, e-mail and Zoom. The work of our bushcare/landcare volunteers is curtailed as the Federal Government has stated that gathering in small groups in our parks should not occur. Jenny Kent, the City’s Community Garden and Volunteer Coordinator, has provided an extensive set of safety guidelines should Glebe’s volunteers wish to consider undertaking any projects in the parks. Our annual biodiversity lecture has been postponed. We will need to make a decision as to whether to go ahead with the award of the Craney Small Grants to support biodiversity projects in our local preschools and schools. Usually these applications are posted at the beginning of May with a closing date of 30 June. Presently, Federal Government policy is that schools remain open – at this stage we can delay a final decision about the grants for 2020 for a couple of months.
Blue Wren Subcommittee Convenor