October 16 - 22, 2011: Issue 28

Above and Below: Before and After Pictures for Riverwood Wetlands, just one DFE Project and also Port Botany, which may be the largest salt marsh planting in the world so far Ecotour:  Images Courtesy and Copyright of DFE.

Above: Selena's Before. Below: Vegetable Garden. Images Copyright Griffith Family. 

Above: Bilgola Plateau Chooks and Below: Vegetable Garden. Images Copyright BPS. 





Winners of the 2011 Pittwater Sustainability Awards were announced by Mayor Harvey Rose at a special presentation held on Sunday 9 October. Around 90 guests attended the function following Pittwater’s Sustainable Living Expo held at Mona Vale on the same day.


Mayor Harvey Rose said that while sustainability and climate change had become a political issue, it was important to remind the community how sustainability can be implemented into every day lives. “The awards were initiated by Council in 2009 to help demystify how businesses and homeowners can achieve sustainability in a practical sense, “said Mayor Rose.


Four winners and three highly commended were announced from nominees in the following categories; sustainability in design, sustainability in business, sustainability in landscaping and a new category for this year, sustainability in schools.


“We wanted to boost younger residents’ interest in the issue by introducing this new category,” said Mayor Rose.


Sustainability in design recognised a builder and architect who had developed an outstanding home using sustainable features. Sustainability in business offered an award to small businesses which had become more sustainable through innovations involving staff, resources or new business practices. The sustainability in landscaping category recognised homeowners who were committed to making Pittwater more sustainable through landscaping and gardening. Sustainability in schools recognised local schools who had implemented sustainability initiatives to create a better environment.


Each category winner was awarded a trophy made from recycled glass, with highly commended recipients receiving a framed certificate. Judging of the submissions was undertaken by a panel of experts which included Cr Jacqueline Townsend and local resident and sustainability advocate Ian Cleland, along with Council staff.


“My personal hope is that the Pittwater Sustainability Awards will continue to grow and serve as encouragement to others to follow a more sustainable lifestyle, both at work and at home,” Mayor Rose said. Further details about the awards and the criteria can be found at www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au 


Copyright Pittwater Online News, 2011 

Pittwater’s Sustainable Living 2011 Winners

Above: Green and Golden Bell Frog courtesy of Dragonfly Environmental

Pittwater Council has earned a well deserved reputation for promoting sustainable practices and for being protective of our beautiful natural environment.  This was well illustrated in Pittwater’s second Sustainable Living Expo held at Mona Vale Memorial Hall and Village Park last Sunday,  9th of  October.  A number of exhibitors, workshop presentations and speakers introduced and expanded on a wide range of earth, air and water friendly inventions and products and how to reduce energy costs in the home and at work. After this an Awards Ceremony, recognising resident schools, businesses and individuals who have best developed and demonstrated sustainable practices was held. The winners and those who were commended represent all aspects of Pittwater from the water to your own backyard. We contacted the winners this week for comments on their awards and to find out more about their works.

The winner for Sustainability in Design – Single Residential Dwellings – is RW Stidwill Constructions & Eastwood Design. Ryan Stidwell stated it was a good to gain recognition for their work and a credit to his team. Fourth year apprenctice Daniel Houlahand collected the award on his behalf, a young man who had spent a year and a half on the construction of the house named ‘Pitt Point Waters’ on Scotland Island.

Above: Winning Home Image courtesy of R W Stidwell Constructions Pty Ltd

From Pittwater Council Website: “The judges were impressed with this outstanding pavilion-style house on Scotland Island built mainly from recycled hardwoods. The design concept was to create a casual and relaxed waterfront home in harmony with the island. The house design gave careful consideration to the management of waste water and rainwater harvesting, with the home completely self-sufficient in these areas. The use of glass louvers to control airflow and capture precious natural light is another example of the homes sustainability credentials, along with extensive use of sandstone retained from the previous dwelling. In essence, this house is a showcase for quality sustainable design, offering stunning aesthetics as well as a liveable ambience.”The award  for Sustainability in Business went to Small Business Dragonfly Environmental. Mia Dalby Ball, when contacted sounded as happy with the recognition as Ryan had been and stated “I have found that winning the award has opened the doors to talking to more people directly about what can be done by all us to live more gently on the Earth and be responsible with resource use. So that’s a plus I hadn’t foreseen but will definitely continue with.”

Dragonfly Environmental is a group of Environmental Companies each specialising in an area of environmental restoration or management. DFE has been caring for the environment since 1985 and is a wholly Australian run and owned Company.

The DFE companies and their specialist areas are: DFE Wetlands and Waterway, DFE Environmental Reporting, DFE Advanced Planting, DFE Bush Regeneration, DFE Avalon Aquatics, and DFE Enviro-tours. Dragonfly Environmental has specialised in Ecological Restoration, Wetland Management, Riparian & Terrestrial corridor jobs in the Sydney Region over the past ten years. Within this time, it was clear that many of the nursery suppliers were not willing or did not have the experience to grow a diverse range of aquatic plants. Many of the plants required for planting jobs were substituted by Nurseries with “easier to grow” plants, time and time again, which reduced the plant diversity of the site. As a consequence Dragonfly Environmental opened up Avalon Aquatics in May 2007 to grow a diverse range of freshwater and salt tolerant aquatic plants to ensure plant diversity in ecological restoration projects.

Company directors Mia Dalby-Ball and André Olson are recognised Saltmarsh Ecologists with over ten years experience each. Together with the Dragonfly Environmental Team, we have the ability to fulfil projects from pre-work assessments, through design to construction and long-term maintenance with excellent project management skills.  This ability combined with our hands-on experience results in quality outcomes, on time, and within budget and ensures long term success of our projects. Dragonfly Environmental has an excellent track record in delivering on a wide range of projects throughout Australia.

We hope to bring you more detailed information on this excellent local business in the New Year. Meanwhile, Click on their logo to visit their website.

The winner for Sustainability in Landscaping is Selena Griffith, an academic who teaches Design and Social Innovation and also participates in our Community Garden and local Permaculture activities. Selena’s response to our query as to how it felt to win stated, “Very good, very nice. It’s important for Council to publicly recognise technologies and sustainable practices.”

From Council’s website; “Eighteen months ago Selena Griffith’s steep south east facing block in Elanora was covered in noxious weeds and non indigenous species including lantana, privet and camphor laurel. Her desire was to create a small productive garden with a minimal footprint. Priorities in the design included energy generation, water storage, local food production and material reuse. There was also a desire to open the garden to help others learn to live more sustainably. After taking three weeks to clear the large block by hand, the garden now boasts a variety of fruit tree clusters, vegetable patches and herbs providing food for Selena and her extended family and friends. The garden has a drip line irrigation system which runs from a 5000L rain water tank which also services the home’s toilets and washing machine. Organic waste from the house and garden is composted or fed to the free-range chooks, guinea pigs and quail. These animals provide valuable manure for feeding the garden as well as eggs for food. The garden continues to welcome a variety of visitors including echidnas, bandicoots, possums and many bird and frog species. The garden has also attracted many enthusiastic human visitors from of the local permaculture group.”

Selena spoke to us about a few future projects she has in mind and we hope to bring you details in the future.

The winner for Sustainability in Schools is Bilgola Plateau Public School. The Principal of Bilgola, Vicki Johnson, stated the Award recognised “the hard work of students, parents and teachers over the last two years.”

We have placed all the Information on their projects, kindly sent by Vicki, as great reading on our Youth page for this week. An extract; “Bilgola Plateau Public School students, with support from Pittwater Council, undertook an environment audit in 2009 which underpinned the writing of our School Environment Management Plan. Information gathered on waste, power and water was assessed and used as the basis of managing our school environment.

The focus in 2009 in the area of water was the total replacement of all schools taps, toilet cisterns and urinals, decreasing our water usage. Teachers and students were strongly encouraged to switch off power when not needed, particularly in high usage areas such as the hall. Class monitors were nominated to turn off fans, lights and interactive whiteboards during break times.

The reduction of waste management was encouraged through class fruit breaks, creating a reduction in packaging. All classes were supplied buckets and tongs to collect playground rubbish. Completion of the refurbishment of the K-2 playground was enhanced by planting a number of native plants to attract our wildlife and so increase our biodiversity.

Changes were made to ensure all years taught an environment component. We continued our link with the Peninsula Community of Schools where Year 5 students participated in:
•‘Cool Kids for a Cool Climate’ – sustainability program
•Excursions to Macquarie University to use NOVA and ICT to record environment observations which were then linked to our local environment at Avalon sand dunes.
•Constructing models of solar ovens, windmills and water wheels while investigating renewable energy with Barrenjoey High School students
•A study of Bilgola’s unique environment, including Duffy’s Forest.

In 2010 we established a vegetable garden and chicken coop involving parent, teacher and student working bees. Student participation in these projects instilled a sense of ownership, pride and responsibility for their school environment. The school received funding through The Northern Sydney Health Promoting Schools Seeding Grants (funded by Northern Sydney Health Promotion) to initiate our sustainability programs. Through a parent working bee we built and established a vegetable garden comprising of six 2mx2m patches and a large meshed area with two coops for our ten very contented chickens. Another ten chickens were purchased this year. We have six compost bins beside the vegetable patch and two worm farms. We have also three ‘no dig’ vegetable patches which are created entirely by recycled paper, mulch, compost and seeds. The vegetable patch successfully grows vegetables, and fruits and herbs which supports our canteen. The funding from the sale of our vegetable produce and eggs goes towards supporting the ongoing maintenance costs of the garden and chickens. New gardens have been planted where the focus is on establishing native gardens to attract our native wildlife and in doing so increase the biodiversity in the school grounds.

Those Highly Commended were: Sustainability in Schools Newport Public School, Sustainability in Landscaping Will & Chrissie Jephcott, clifftop garden in Newport, Sustainability in Business – Small Business Church Point Ferry, whose owners Penny Gleen and Simon Wastell have introduced a multi-trip Green Ticket in order to run a more sustainable service and have, during,  ‘the first six months of running the ‘green tickets’, the company has donated 40 ‘Trees for Carbon’ and have purchased 40 carbon credits.’ (from Pittwater Council Website)

Bilgola Plateau Public School;
DFE: www.dfe.net.au
RW Stidwell: http://www.rwstidwill.com.au/

Above:  Ecotour and Below: Port Botany Mudflat recreation:  Images Courtesy and Copyright of Dragonfly Environmental (DFE).