February 12 - 18, 2012: Issue 45

When Pittwater’s Sustainable Living 2011 Awards were presented last October the winner for Sustainability in Business went to Dragonfly Environmental, a dedicated team of passionate and knowledgeable professionals who are making a big difference to wetlands not only in Pittwater but elsewhere in New South Wales and Victoria.

As part of our ongoing focus on Wetlands they help us celebrate learning more about those who ensure the wetlands, creeks and lakes once lost are restored and continue as part of everyone's future. Part of this is education about and enjoyment of these unique environments; we recommend all read the section on DFE's Eco Tours.

There are so many stunning images to accompany this Profile that so deftly illustrate DFE's works that we have placed some more on the Pictures page this week for you to feast your eyes on and enjoy.

Visit Dragonfly Environmental's website by clicking on logo below:

Gymea Lillies at Mangrove Mountain Nursery

Striped Marsh Frog in Nursery 

Fern Creek, Warriewood





Moore Park Wetland Monitoring

Boat Work Wetland Monitoring

Fish Trap Wetland Monitoring

DFE Planting Green and Golden Bell Frog Habitat

Green and Golden Bell Frog

On Eco Tours you will Experience: 

On the water

In the water

Breathtaking views

Keeping fish in the environment

Epacris Longfolia

Indigenous Teachings

Bonnet Orchid

Eco Tour organisers Mia and Tina with Dick Smith

Eastern Curlew by Ricki Coughlan

Favourite Pittwater places:

McKay Reserve North end walkway

Seagrass beds at North Palm Beach, estuary side

Woodlands in flower

 Dragonfly Environmental

Dragonfly Environmental (DFE) is a group of environmentally based companies including, a Nursery (Avalon Aquatics), Advanced Planting (large scale planting projects), DFE Environmental Monitoring and Reporting, DFE Bush Regeneration, Wetlands and Urban Water Ways (design and restoration) plus DFE Eco-Tours.
DFE Company aim is to create:

Cared for and Restored Natural Areas Resulting in Improved Environments for Now and the Future.

DFE is a local business, with its head office in Avalon, depot and nursery in Elanora Heights and another large scale nursery at Mangrove Mountain. DFE has been in business over ten years, and we employ 11 staff, 9 of which live on the Northern Beaches.

A quick summary of what the three areas of our Business delivers:

DFE Ecological Rehabilitation and Planting

*Large scale planting projects
*Wetland and Waterway Creation and Rehabilitation Works
*Bush Regeneration

DFE Environmental Monitoring and Reporting

*Vegetation Surveys, Vegetation Management Plans, Flora and Fauna Surveys.
*Studies associated with Development including: Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and associated Seven Part Tests, Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE), Review of Environmental Factors (REF), Species Impact Statements (SIS), Environmental Management Plans (EMP).
*Wetland (including Saltmarsh and Mangrove)  Construction Design, Assessments and Rehabilitation Plans.
*Detailed GIS Mapping
*Planting and Landscape Plans for Environmental Works.
*Certification of Environmental Works
*Grant Writing for Environmental and Community Engagement Projects

DFE – Avalon Aquatics Nurseries

*Water plant specialists (native species) including large sizes
*Native terrestrial plants
*Seed collection
*Specialist growers of Saltmarsh Endangered Ecological Community

Our clients are chiefly Local Government, State Government Agencies and Developers.  DFE also collaborates with other businesses on projects requiring multiple skills sets.

DFE are recognised industry leaders in the area of Saltmarsh creation and rehabilitation, wetland management, construction and design plus with large-scale planting projects.  DFE planting section has planted over 900,000 plants in the 2010-2011 year alone.

We love the company and the projects we are involved in. It’s wonderful to see places transformed from weedy ditches to rehabilitated waterways with wide areas of native plants with small birds, frogs and blue tongue lizards moving in again. 

Many good things are occurring in the area of restoration and the large scale projects – such as the creation of mudflats, saltmarsh and roosting islands for migratory birds at Port Botany along with the conversion of 4 Ha. of Bitou Bush (noxious weed) to rehabilitated dunes. DFE was part of the team that was awarded ‘highly commended’ for the Port Botany Expansion Project at the Environmental Engineering Excellence Awards in October this year.

At DFE we know that places for people are also enhanced when the Natural Environment is healthy and the diversity of native animals and plants are high.  People do see the changes in the areas of their local Bushland and consequently become involved in Caring for these places.  It’s common that following works by DFE community bush care groups are formed and areas are changed for the long-term.

DFE was established by André Olson and is run by Andre and Mia Dalby-Ball, former Manager of Environment at Pittwater Council (2000 – 2009). 

As parents of Maja 9 and Kade 7 we are very aware of the importance of being stewards of the magnificent place that is the World and passing it on to the next generations.  Importantly our times with Indigenous Australian has taught us much about the deep importance of living in Harmony with the Natural World.  We have a deep appreciation for the 1000’s of years of care Australian Aboriginal Peoples have and continue to have for Australia’s landscapes. 

The DFE team are enthusiastic in caring for areas, seeing the plants grow and wildlife return to areas.  We often revisit sites, 2, 5 and 10 or more years later.  As a company we value the team highly and know that this award reflects the great work they do and the people they are. 

Recreating urban bushland and rehabilitating creeklines and wetlands is extremely rewarding.  Not only form the environmental side but form the social perspective as well.  Many of us grew up in the bits of bushland (that has gone from much of Sydney) so it’s our turn to get some of it back again and improve what’s remaining.

In addition to our field based work we are keen to provide opportunities for people to get out in nature.  Mia is a popular public speaker on the topic of Connecting to the Environment and has been presenting in Australia for the past 10 years and more recently in America.  Our Eco tours focus on facilitating great experiences in nature and hearing from Indigenous People.

Please tell us about your first Pittwater Project
Converting a concrete channel to a Living Creek
Fern Creek Warriewood Valley and Narrabeen Creek Detention Basin

Fern Creek is one of three main creek lines in the valley it flows past Marta Maria High School and through Warriewood Wetlands and the Valley before joining Narrabeen Lagoon. 

The section of Fern Creek above the Warriewood Wetlands was The Old Drive In.  Here the Creek had been piped and concreted over. The term for a re-created creek that has been piped is called daylighting. 

Once the engineering part of the day-lighting had been completed it was DFEs job to do the rest.  DFE added tonnes of soil and mulch recycled from local green-waste covering the areas where the concrete had been removed.  Locally native plants were planted with species being mainly those that would have naturally grown along the waterway.   220,000 tube stock, 10,000 6-8 inch pots, 300x25L, 250x75L plants were planted by DFE.  DFE also planted seven 3m tall Cabbage Tree Palms at the Fern Creek entrance off McPherson Street. 

Today Fern Creek has tall trees and thick understory of native grasses and ground covers and dense  shrubs for small birds.  The recreated habitat provides a home for many native animals.  Frogs, Water Dragons, Bandicoots, Fire-tailed Finches, Blue Wrens and Dragonflies are now abundant here.

One of the Pittwater Communities long-term plans is to have the waterways in Warriewood Valley rehabilitated – linking the Escarpment and the Lagoon.  This is echoed in Councils Planning documents.  Creek line rehabilitation has been occurring in conjunction with the residential land development in Warriewood Valley.  Fern Creek rehabilitation is one the of the Valleys success stories.

Your Eco Tours; what are they about, where do they go?

The aim of Eco-tours is to provide experiences that bring together: people, nature and those with specialist expertise such as in birds, native plants, photography, bush-tucker, kayaking and more. 

The Eco tours have a key focus on facilitating events where Indigenous Peoples can share their Wisdom with the broader community.  Eco-tours are principally around Pittwater in the bushland reserves, along the headlands, beaches and areas such as Careel Bay Saltmarsh and Mangrove Wetlands and over the Basin within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Many previous eco-tours have been partnerships with other organisations and partly grant funded they include:

The Bio-calendar project aims to reveal the changes in nature that occur through the seasons with season being the six seasons as per the Traditional Knowledge Holders. 

When the Waratas are in Bloom the Whales are migrating, when the Meat Ants put white rocks on their nest (early Spring) it is going to be a hot summer, when the Wattles are in Bloom the Mullet are moving up the Creeks…..and much more.  After a Bio-calendar Eco-tour you will see so much more of nature everywhere you look.

Learning is through experiencing nature so a key element of the Bio-calendar is the field days.  Six have already been held and were a terrific success (fully booked with long wait lists) and very positive feedback. 

Five more bio-calendar field days are planned for 2012.  The events are based on the idea of traditional seasons explained through traditional knowledge-holders. The events will engage people to see nature through ‘nature’s eyes’ i.e., actual seasonal shifts and changes, rather than calendar months.

It also includes an on-line calendar hosted on Pittwater Councils web site http://www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/environment/biocalendar

The calendar covers the area from Palm Beach to Wiseman’s Ferry. The Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority (HNCMA) provided the seed funding for field days and the on-line calendar.

Eco Ferry Cruises on Pittwater in conjunction with, Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority,  Ocean Watch, Pittwater Council and Tide Event Management.

Great family days with 4-6 experts on topics such as birds, fish, seagrass, oyster growing, eco-diving etc.  Very family friendly fun days.  Includes ferry ride from Palm Beach to Mackerel beach and or the Basin in Ku-ring-gai National Park all meals and activities. These days are fun and the variety of tours results in there being something for all ages with family specific events, more rugged events and pleasant days for any age. 

2012 Eco Tours

This year we will be running some eco-tours with out-door workshops  where we will take people to beautiful places in nature and have a presentation and / or workshop.– see 2012 future plans.  We are also extending from day trips to guided camping trips. DFE also custom designs eco-tours for groups such as gardening clubs, scouts, retirement villages, walking groups etc.

Presenters ready for 2012 include
1) Indigenous Knowledge Holders,
2) Native Animal Specialists,
3) Weaving and Nature Craft,
4) Energy in Nature.

After many requests we are also trialling Camping with Kids  which is a camping trip with families who may, or may not, have done much camping.  The two days and two nights will include fun nature based activities and guided walks, bush art, fire making, damper making, and how to identify animals scats (poo) tracks and calls, star watching and sharing stories of Australian Aboriginal stories of stars along with western traditional constellations, story writing and illustrating. Suitable for all age Children when accompanied by an Adult (care giver).  Great for parents too with some quite time to relax after dark.

Up Close to Wildlife – walks and workshops with native animals will be starting late in 2012.

What are Future Plans or Projects for DFE?

Wetlands and Urban Waterways - Plans

A key area of DFE expertise and passion is in restoring and creating water-ways and wetlands. Dragonfly Environmental plans to win more jobs that involve urban water-way rehabilitation as we are passionate about this and very good at it.

We are also keen on assisting Councils and other agencies and land-holders in managing their wetlands and assisting them to have contractors or staff trained to identify problems plants and animas and design defects so that maintenance or rectification can occur ASAP – saving time, money and the longevity of the asset (the wetland).

Wetlands and Urban Waterways – Projects 2012

*Mapping Saltmarsh along all Sydney Waters Tidal Assets (Throughout Sydney)
*Completing the Lake Gillawarna Wetland Rehabilitation Project (Blacktown) - Joint project with Equatica (Environmental Engineers) and Sprout (Landscape Architects)
*Completing the Mangrove Restoration Project for Jemena Asset Management at Mortlake
*Completing the Ecological and Wetland Design Work and Habitat Enhancement design for the City of Sydney’s Stormwater Reuse Project at Sydney Park – joint project with Turf Design and Environmental Partnerships (Landscape Architects) and Equatica.

Environmental Monitoring and Reporting

Environmental Monitoring and Reporting 2012 Plans
Reporting Associated with Development; DFE can provide expert Reporting relating to Developments (and submitting DAs).  We specialise in the local area (Pittwater, Warringah, Willoughby and Hornsby). 

It’s over 2 years now since Mia left Pittwater Council where she was the former Manger of the Environment Section for over 8 years.  Mia knows exactly what is required by Councils and DFE can produce:
*accurate cost effective reporting,
*on-ground environmental works and landscaping and
*certify that works are in accordance with DA conditions

Thus clients only have to deal with one Company from the planning stage right through to the sign off.  This saves them money, time and with DFE they get a high quality product.

As yet DFE has not advertised this service and have been working on referrals to date.  In 2012 we will be increasing work with local Architects, Developers, Home/Land Owners Estate Agents with a view to reducing their work required while achieving better outcomes for the environment.   All working in these fields are welcome to call to discuss how we can work together.


In 2011 DFE significantly increased its capacity to provide detailed accurate mapping of natural areas using Geographical Position Systems (GPS).  We are using this with current mapping jobs for Sydney Water and Newcastle Council and plan to win more contracts in this area.

Large Scale Planting

Planting – 2012 Plans
DFE is established in NSW and has contracts in Victoria and QLD.  In 2012 we are building our work in these states to improve environments along the Eastern Sea-board of Australia.

DFE has currently planted over 2 million native plants we want to continue bring back ecosystems particularly in degraded and highly urbanised areas. This involves expanding DFE planting in other states. 

DFE’s goal is to get 10 million native plants in the ground and growing before 2020.

Planting – Current Projects
Currently DFE has planting jobs throughout the wider Sydney area particular in areas associated with new housing developments as it is here that degraded creek-lines have to be rehabilitated in association with development approvals.

Other work include plant supply and planting as remediation works along parts of the de-salination plant in Victoria
Bush Regeneration.

At DFE we know that places for people are also enhanced when the Natural Environment is healthy and the diversity of native animals and plants are high.  People do see the changes in the areas of their local Bushland and consequently become involved in Caring for these places.  It’s common that following works by DFE community bush care groups are formed and areas are changed for the long-term

Bush Regeneration – Current Projects

DFE has bush regeneration contracts on the northern beaches as well as Hornsby and throughout the wider Sydney Region.  Some of DFE’s Pittwater bush regeneration includes Care of Warriewood Wetlands and Irrawong Reserve.  Other Major contracts include the Care for the recently rehabilitated lands around Port Botany – associated with the Port Expansion.

Bush Regeneration – Plan 2012
We are keen to reduce the use of herbicide in all of our Bush regeneration projects.  Hence we will continue experimenting with new techniques to manage weeds with less/no herbicide.  We will be continuing to trial the effectiveness of the flame weeder especially on aquatic weeds and Tradescantia. 

DFE aims to know and use the most effective Bush Regeneration techniques and advanced equipment for effective weed management with no/minimal chemicals.  We also want to share this with other Companies so that overall the industry can reduce herbicide use and improve natural areas.

We are also expanding our work with Bush Care Volunteer Groups – currently DFE has Bush Care Supervisors contracted to three councils in Sydney.  DFE team enjoy working with the Volunteers and take pride in doing more than expected to make projects a success.

Aquatic Weed Management

Aquatic Weed Management – 2012 Plans
DFE are leaders in Aquatic Weed Management – we know wetlands and their weeds.  We currently maintain wetlands throughout Sydney and work in partnership with companies that have specialise equipment for large scale projects.  Keeping herbicide out of waterways is important to us so we have studies and experimented to determine what works with minimal impact. 

2012 is our year to further refine and trial our techniques so we continue to be experts in innovative and effective management techniques of Aquatic Weeds with minimal herbicide use. 

2012 will also see DFE produce more data about how to design constructed wetlands and what to plant them with to minimise habitat for Aquatic Weeds and to make it easy to treat them should they get established.   Often we work in older wetlands that are lacking key design elements resulting in difficult and costly Aquatic Weed Management.  

This year DFE will be working with the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority to produce information on wetland management for use by local government and wetland  land owners.

DFE Aquatic Weed management is effective because we can:
•Identify weed seeding and treat them early
•We know what works best for each type of weed

Aquatic Weed Management – Current Works in Pittwater
A key weed we target in Pittwater (and Warringah) is Ludwigia peruviana a Noxious Aquatic Weed – that left unchecked will grow densely along banks and into and over shallow open water.  Ludwigia suppresses the survival of native species and closes open water thus removing habitat for some species including waterbirds. In Pittwater we are currently working in Warriewood Wetlands and Irrawong Reserve.

One of our tools is a flame weeder – it produces a flame that burns weeds – it’s great on succulent weeds such as Tradescantia (Trad – also called Wandering Jew and Creeping Christian!! – so I call it Trad.).  The Flame weeder is of some assistance in managing aquatic weeds however it’s not enough to burn the weeds once as most aquatic weeds have large underground tubers (Rhizomes = underground stems) that keep supplying the plant with resources so it can re-grow.

Nurseries at Elanora and Mangrove Mountain
Our nurseries are great with frogs callings, red-browed fire-tail finches flitting through and Water Dragons around the pots – that’s our pest control squad.  Water tanks provide much of the water used and for the water-plants we have large pots that we fill with water then leave for weeks.

Our specialty is Native Waterplants and we grow them in a range of sizes including “AquaPots”(c) which are 10 inch pots with no holes. The plants grow tall and have a large root mass. 

AquaPot(c) plants are perfect for planting in wetlands that are already established and need rehabilitation (additional planting), or wetlands with no water level control or lots of Swamp Hens and other water birds that pull out smaller planted water plants (looking for insects and eating the new plant growth). Most of our plants are commissioned to jobs but we do supply the native waterplants for freshwater-ponds in the Local Area. Plus locally native terrestrial species.

Material to be published in 2012 
*Releasing Chapter on Saltmarsh, Seagrass and Mangrove rehabilitation in Estuary Plants  by Sainty and Associates in press
*A Dragon in the Pond - Creating Wildlife Friendly Gardens, Parks and Urban Land Releases – illustrated book
*What to Grow and Where to Get It - Native Water Plants for Dams, Ponds and Water Features
*What makes a Constructed Wetland Work – essential tips
*Updates to the on-line Bio-calendar

*Blog and Weekly Web-radio broadcast about great things in Nature – and where to go to see it

If given 10 trillion dollars to restore wetlands, where would you begin and what would you do ?

Supporting Existing Successful Projects
Number one would be supporting, growing and publicising existing successful globally wetland projects.  DFE is aware of successful wetland projects in Australia, China, Korea, Brittan, USA, Vietnam, Japan, Amazon Delta, Africa and other places – a key element of successful project is the initial motivation for doing the project, the passion of the key people running the projects and the engagement with the broader community.  When wetland sustainability and health can look lost at a regional or global level these smaller projects are shining lights that can lead many back to action and behaviour change moved by emotion rather than just information.

Though celebrating and growing the successes of existing projects we would use Social Media to link groups and share data and successes (as does World Wetlands Day).   With a change in knowledge, behaviour and attitudes at the ground level then there can be policy changes and whole cultural changes that support rehabilitation, retention and sustainable use of wetlands. 

Making Decisions Appropriate for the Long-term
An important change to achieve is to get management decisions and funding to be based on long-term sustainability of resources and systems.  Long-term being 100 + years not 2 or 5).  Any law, decision, Policy etc would have to ask how many of the following areas it benefits.  With areas to be considered including: 1) individuals, 2) groups (such as a town, business, corporation, bird watching groups, water supply company, farmers, government etc), 3) all humans, 4) all other living things – plants and animals etc, 5) the physical landforms (e.g. wetlands the things seen as not-living), 6) the cultural happiness of a place.  

When applying this test to laws and policies of today it can been seen that many only tick the areas of individuals or groups and have become overly focused on the immediate needs of individuals/companies with low or no emphasis placed on the 50 to 100+ year time frames and what would decision would have the best outcome for 50 – 100 years in to the future.   

Causes of Decline Wetland Health
Funds would also be used to halt causes of wetland decline with major factors globally, including Australia, being:
•water extraction
•deforestation and siltation
•reclamation of intertidal areas

Climate Change
What I have not listed above is the major ramifications of global climate change. My reason for this is that 10 Trillion dollars cannot change this – no money can change this.  We live in a changing world – a planet that has changed many times – but what we can do is change our level of responsibility and respect for the Planet and all its diversity.  With this we can evolve from being dominated by materialism to a way where happiness is derived intrinsically from doing good. Many have already experienced how good it feels to be part of a productive group that has positive outcomes (like the growing number of Community Garden Groups). 

With enough ground-swell momentum ‘We’ can embrace new technologies in energy supply, water recycling, housing materials etc. and live more sustainably and through this reduce the need for resources that is directly destroying wetlands (e.g. water extraction from cash-crops) and those contributing to Climate Change.

What money can assist with is facilitating peoples knowing and desire for systems based on responsible use and reuse of resources and of global equity with resources.  In addition it can facilitate a swell of people knowing there are alternative ways and technologies for supplying the physical and energy requirements of the global population with a fraction of the drain on resources.

So this is where the 10 trillion would be started.

Other more immediately tangible actions include:

Buy back land, land parcels, water licenses
Buying back land and changing land-uses that result in wetland degradation.  In Australia this would include:
*the removal of high water and pesticide using crops such as cotton from inland areas such as around the Macquarie Marshes. 
*removing cattle and other live stock from wetlands and have watering places for them away from the fragile areas.  E.g work with land owners on the lower Murray River to change land use form grazing / dairy to reforestation.
*Removing water extraction activities that are resulting in increases in salination of freshwater wetlands and soil and / or acidification of soil and wetlands.  In coastal area water extraction is leading to highly productive wetlands becoming acid wetlands as acid sulphate soils are exposed to air resulting in the conversion of the locked up acid to acid water killing plants and animals and leaving barren wetlands.  In many cases that is because neighbouring properties have grazing rights or extraction rights for watering small crops of fruits such as mandarins.  Is the loss of wetland worth it to the greater community?

Implement works with existing agencies, communities, NGOS who have proven on-ground results

Set up Eco-Friendly Investments to generate ongoing wetland Care funding

Asia – incentives for keeping mangroves etc and (keeping intertidal zones) not doing land reclamation
Management of Coastal Processes to move from 1, 2 and 5 year time frames to 50-100+ year time frames.  Redirect the focus on Coastal Planning from ‘protection of property’ to sustaining the long-term.

Funding would also be used on the Northern Beaches to rehabilitate and provide engaging information on:

Saltmarshes and Seagrasses – especially Careel Bay.  Here people need to know that some of their actions are resulting in direct physical damage and removal of Saltmarshes and Seagrasses and there are alternative ways to do what they need to without damaging these special places.

Freshwater Lagoons – Help reverse some of the intense pollution in Curl Curl and Dee Why Lagoons and re-create the riparian vegetation around these Lagoons.

Warriewood wetlands – providing funding for extensive and complete management of Noxious Aquatic Weeds in the wetland and set up a trust to providing funding for on-going maintenance.

Education though Existing Social Media and Games
I’d have additions made to popular games – like Farmville (or whatever one comes next) where there are consequences for adding too much fertiliser (the wetlands die and you run out of water for 2 days loosing those crops) or you replant trees along the creek-line and bring in birds that eat the bugs on your crops and you get a higher yield of fruit – more points.

.....do I have any money left?.......

What is your favourite place in Pittwater and why?

Ah hmmm difficult as there are so many.  Best way to answer is to know where we first take visitors from overseas, where we go with the Children for family time, plus favourite childhood places.

So starting with Childhood first – for Mia – who grew up in Avalon. 

Angophora Reserve (Avalon) – sitting on the large sandstone boulders and ‘talking’ screeching to the White Cockatoos.  Yes there were many Cockatoos here 30 years ago as well.  A wonderful place to explore as a Child (and now!).

Bilgola Headland  (Bilgola) in front of the Water tanks at the end of Wollombi Road– again a great childhood place – a bit wild with the wind whipping up from the sea over the headland.  Squirming through the narrow tunnels made by the low-growing Tea-trees.

Where we take visitors
The majestic McKay Reserve (Palm Beach) off Ebor Road with the reserves natural entrance of curved Gums framing the outlook over Stokes Point.  Again a place to sit and appreciate the beauty here not only of the views but of the small things – the ants with golden abdomens, the tiny flowers and curved flaky lichen on the grey sandstone, to listen to the birds – and when you’re lucky see an Echidna.

Then to The Basin within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Parkthis is certainly a must visit place. Standing on the little beach that faces west and looking over the water and up to the densely vegetated Sandstone Hills it’s easy to imagine the rest of Pittwater pre urban development.  Angophora Trees here are huge with big twisty orange limbs that glow at sun-set.  Large Monitor Lizards (Goannas) that roam the picnic areas, dense sea-grass patches to snorkel over and watch fish in.  Plus the ferry ride from Palm Beach alone is pretty nice.
Places that are special to us and we take the kids – and other peoples kids

Irrawong Reserve (Narrabeen) The rainforest like bushland through Irrawong Reserve and opening to the Waterfall is a very special place.  It always feels sacred and the kids have so much self-directed fun here.  As a teenage I walk-up the waterfall area and the creek with friends and read the Hobbit by JR Tolkin – a very fitting place to do so amongst the big mossy boulders in the low light under the closed canopy by the creek.

Bilarong Reserve - Narrabeen Lagoon (Narrabeen) Whenever we come here it’s to meet up with others.  A traditional meeting place for the Indigenous Peoples it continues to be a place for meeting.  This is a favourite with the kids who love swimming in the shallows.  Billarong Reserve has great examples of Lagoon foreshore vegetation with the water’s edge Sea Rush, Juncus kraussii and Common Reed, Phragmities australis leading back to She-oaks and a diversity of understory plants.

Bangalay Headland (Avalon)
A place for writing stories. Early mornings the kids and I and any kids who have had a sleep over walk up to Bangalley Headland.  There on the flat rocks (away from the cliff edge) we sit and write stories, watch whales and look over to the Central Coast.  Plus the vegetation up there is stunning – in that Australian way. High diversity and a number of different plant communities in a small place.  On example is an ancient Mistletoe Plant growing into and out of a big old Banksia.

Avalon Beach – swimming, Surfing, Exploring the fossils at the northern end....then over to Careel Bay Saltmarsh and intertidal area at sunset.  Watching Migratory Birds that have flown all the way from Siberia – see them feeding in sandworms and other things in the mud at low-tide.

Palm Beach Headland the wide seagrass beds on the Estuary side and up by the Light House. This is one of Andre’s favourite places as the views are vast, the bushland varied and the kids love the rock-hopping up and down.

That’s just a few...

What is DFE's 'motto for life' or a favourite phrase you try to live by ?

DFE Company Motto is:

Cared for and Restored Environments for Now and the Future

This is our Company Product – Cared for and Restored Environments is what we want to leave behind. 

We also have the motto of Exchange in Abundance as we aim to deliver a better product than our Clients expect.

When DFE takes on a project we make sure we can fully deliver the clients brief and that the work will have a lasting positive environmental outcome. 

Caring for Places is a high motivation – seeing nature come back, in the form of self seeding native plants and animals moving back into areas, is very rewarding.

It’s also great to create areas where people and nature come together such as with some of the creek line restoration jobs that are combined with bike tracks etc.  Or where there are viewing areas over a wetland.

Indigenous People have and continue to Care for Place – Care for the Land the Earth.  I think a place feels different when it’s Cared for in a way that respects the natural ecosystem – that is all the elements and how they interact and work together. 

Nature’s like a puzzle with so many connected pieces and we are part of that.  To have the opportunity to step back and appreciate even a fraction of what is going on is wonderful. To have work that assists in retaining or bringing back the natural diversity of a place is very rewarding. 

Working in Wetlands and Waterways will always be a favourite as these areas are teaming with life and respond very well to appropriate management.

While our core work is on large projects we love to work locally so feel free to contact us our office is in Avalon and you can reach us on 9918 4486 or info@dfe.net.au for advice with your native gardens or ponds or to order native trees, shrubs, grasses and aquatic plants that are local to you area.

You can see the DFE team in action rehabilitating the coastal dunes for Warringah Council. Works are currently being undertaken at North & South Narrabeen, Collaroy, Long Reef and Dee Why Dunes.

 All Images Copyright Ricki Coughlan, Mia Dalby-Ball and DFE and Words Copyright Mia Dalby-Ball

DFE Pictorial

More Favourite Places:

Avalon Beach

Avalon Beach North End


Irrawong Reserve

Mc Carrs Creek

Seagrass Palm Beach

Stokes Point from McKay Reserve

Waterfall Overhang Escarpment