Page 1


Contents Introduction 1 Why Get Involved?

4

How to Start Your Club

7

Tips for Healthy Kids

9

Schedule and Calendar

10

Activity Check List 11 Growing My Family Nature Club

13

Tricky Questions 14 What Type of Vegetation is That?

16

Wild Activities 20 My Nature Diary

28

15 Things to Do Before You’re 12

40

20 Before You’re 20

41

Nature Treasure Hunt

42

Reserve Rambles

46

Exploring Our COSS

57

I’d Like to Learn More About Nature 58 Gosford City Council Programs and Activities 60 Tips for the Activity Sheets

61

Acknowledgements 63 References 64 Useful Documents 65 Exploded Rainbow Colour Sheet

79

Nature Diary Pictures

81

My Dream Forest 85 Colour-in 87

Gree

n tre

e fro

g by

Phil W

ood


COSS Family Nature Club is an initiative of Gosford City Council’s Open Space and Leisure Services Concept by Lisa Ford. Design by Marjo Pätäri. Printed and produced by Gosford City Council. 49 Mann St, Gosford, NSW 2250

All Council enquiries Tel: 02 4325 8222 Email: goscity@gosford.nsw.gov.au Website: www.gosford.nsw.gov.au Gosford City Council P.O. Box 21 Gosford NSW 2250 © Copyright Gosford City Council


Introduction Do you remember those endless summer days when you left the house in the morning and didn’t get home until dark? Those carefree days of hiding in trees watching the world go by, or cooling off in the local creek? Do you remember those feelings of freedom, of a sense of place, of belonging? For most of us, our lives have now changed. We’re busier, we have barricaded ourselves in, and we often find ourselves looking out from behind a window, a fence, or a windscreen. Would you like your kids to discover the world of your childhood, to explore their skills and abilities, gain confidence and a sense of freedom?

to nature. They also show that anyone who lives close to an accessible natural area has a better chance of coping with our fast-paced lifestyle. Natural areas calm us, they clean our air and water, and provide refuge for the plants and animals that live in our beautiful Central Coast.

Studies from around the world show that children who play in nature progress faster, and are more confident than those who have little or no access

1


The fut natu ure will b re-sm e art— long to fami t thos lies e ind he leade , busine ividu sses rs als, and unde who de polit velop rstan i cal d a de pow eper er of ing of th e the n balan atura transform ce th lw at e virt The more ual w orld and ive i high more -tech th the re who natu al. we b re w Richa ecom e ne rd Lo ed. e, th uv, L ast C e h ild In

The

Woo d

s

Coastal Open Space System (COSS) Our COSS consists of many bushland reserves which are set aside for plants and animals, nature-based recreation and to preserve the bushland character of Gosford. Our COSS includes woodland ridgelines, gallery rainforests, steep cliffs, wetlands and creeks. The COSS is a place for nature—for the plants and animals; and a place for people—to relax and reflect, to explore and discover, and to provide a green backdrop to our lives.

2

Our COSS includes reserves such as Rumbalara, Katandra, Kincumba Mountain, Berry’s Head, Mount Pleasant and Mount Ettalong. These reserves complement other public lands in the Gosford local government area such as: Brisbane Water and Bouddi National Parks, Cockle Bay, Rileys Island and Wambina Nature Reserves, and Strickland State Forest.


Family Nature Clubs COSS Family Nature Club is here to help Central Coast families connect with nature and build stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities. Family nature clubs are made up of people who come together to share the benefits of experiencing nature to teach their children life skills, creativity, problem solving and confidence. The members of family nature clubs may live in the same street, have children at the same school, or play the same sports. Family nature clubs are not new. Families have been getting out and having fun together in the US and parts of Australia for a number of years. These families have great stories to tell, and have changed their lives to be more active and happier. The first clubs were the Nature Clubs for Families started by Richard Louv, who has achieved international recognition for his work raising awareness of the link between nature and children’s health and development. He has since made popular the term nature-deficit disorder, which describes the way that children who do not have opportunities to interact in nature often display lower cognitive abilities, less selfconfidence and other negative physical and mental health effects.

introduce ideas on how you can explore nature around your home with your family. We have provided information to help you get started and ideas for activities, but you will soon discover the places you want to go and the activities you enjoy. The key message is that you can start now! All you need is your family and/or group of friends. Where you go, how often, and for how long, it’s up to you!

Our Home, Our Place The Central Coast has so many places to explore: our COSS reserves, the national parks and Strickland State Forest. We sit on the boundary of temperate (cool climate) and tropical communities. This means that we have a range of bushland areas from cool damp rainforest, to the dry ridgelands and colourful heath, to the wetlands and mangroves that sustain our fisheries. If your family is not used to being outdoors, it may take a little planning to introduce them to this new environment. We have provided fun activities that you can do with them to open their eyes to the many wonders of nature.

Your family nature club is your own club. The purpose of this Family Nature Club guide is to

3


Thin

king

spac

e by

Mika

ela C

lews

Why Get Involved? Health and Happiness Good health is about balance in your life: making sure you eat healthy food, get plenty of rest, exercise each day, and have healthy social interaction. Natural open spaces, such as reserves, have been proven to have positive health effects on people. Being out in nature lifts mood. Some people have even called nature Vitamin N. Studies that compare the effects of exercising in nature, compared to in a gym or other built environment, have shown that people who are active in nature feel more calm and perform better afterwards (Louv, 2011). Happiness can be found in doing the things you love to do—and most people say they love to spend time outdoors. Take the time to watch the sun set, walk through a forest, or gaze into a clear running creek. Even a view of natural vegetation from an office window has been shown to increase concentration, productivity and well-being. People who live close to natural areas have measurably better health and well-being compared to those who don’t (Louv, 2011). Studies have shown that children with ADHD can benefit from free time playing out in nature. Some families have said that they even moved

4

from a city to the country because it made such a difference to their child’s happiness. There is no period in our history where we have spent so much time sitting—watching TV, at the computer, in school. Kids have boundless energy, and this is particularly evident in those who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Getting out in nature and engaging in active, low supervision activities has been shown to help these children find their calm (Louv, 2011). Exercise also helps your body to release antioxidants, which helps fight many chronic diseases. When I’m in the woods, I feel like I’m in my mother’s shoes. It’s so peaceful out there and the air smells so good. For me, it’s completely different there. It’s your own time. Sometimes I go there when I’m mad—and then, just with the peacefulness, I’m better. I can come back home happy, and my Mom doesn’t even know why. I had a place. There was a big waterfall and a creek on one side of it. I’d dug a big hole there, and sometimes I’d take a tent back there, or a blanket, and just lay down in the hole, and look up at the trees and sky. Sometimes I’d fall asleep back in there. I just felt free; it was like my place, and I could do what I wanted, with nobody to stop me. I used to go down there almost every day. And then they just cut the woods down. It was like they cut down a part of me. Grade 5 child in The Nature Principle by Richard Louv


Brus

h-tail

Growing and Learning Nature play is good for everyone. Studies on children in pre-school settings show that structured activities lead to the stronger, more co-ordinated children dominating play. In naturally-landscaped free play environments, social interactions between children are found to be more balanced, with the quieter, more creative children having as much input as the more outgoing ones (Louv, 2005). Being out in nature gives your mind time to relax and focus, to work out problems. Having time in nature, such as going for a bushwalk, increases your mental capacity to solve problems, and come up with new ideas. Many famous writers and artists regularly took long walks in nature. Our modern day lives are often very visuallyfocussed—on a TV, a computer monitor, a mobile phone. Being outdoors in nature encourages us to use and develop all of our senses—to feel the wind on our skin, to hear the sound of it in the leaves. Children especially, need to develop awareness of their senses and surroundings. A recent discussion amongst the members of the Gosford Youth Council revealed that young people, especially teenagers, like to do with their friends the activities that they have already done with their families. This highlights that the things you introduce your children to now are the activities that they will have the confidence to explore and develop later in life.

ed p

ossu

m by

Rick

Wor

thy

There are an awful lot of programs out there trying to teach personal safety to children ... but the most important thing a parent can do is to have a good, supportive relationship with the child, because a child who has good self-esteem, good self-confidence, a closer relationship with the parents, is much less likely to be victimised. David Finklehor, Sociologist, University of New Hampshire in Last Child In The Woods

Low cost! Playing in nature is low-cost as well as healthy. Entry to COSS reserves is free and there are so many to explore. There are also a number of national parks in Gosford with low entry fees, and Strickland State Forest—where you can take the family pet for a walk with you—is also free entry. No time for anything? Just too busy to plan trips in nature? Try sitting down with your family and have each member make a list of the things they love to do. Compare and discuss the lists. You may be surprised to find out just what things make your family members happy, and it may help you to stop doing the things you do ‘to fit in with the crowd’, or because you think others expect it. If time in the garden, or long walks on the beach are what make you happy, do more of these things with your family. Take time to connect and relax, and feel your stress levels recede.

5


A Bright Future Phot

o by

ag ilit nsi y, co or ble att dina t itu de ion to risk res

vel

Learn about the world around them and how its parts are related

d

Lea rn pro to w ble ms ork t wit hrou ho g the h rs

an

h wit ers oth

De ve

ll we

Find the calm place inside themselves

y Pla

lop sel persi f-m st oti ence vat ion and

t en

by

h

an

Kids Who Play In Nature

Explore new ways of doing things

New

g rou h t lls g ski doin w e d n n g an r a n Le seei

da

ct f be or ot ing he r s

nd pe t e d n e in nfide m co co Be

De

pe

s

ng

ng

livi

res

thi

rn

ew

op

gn

rin

ove

isc

Lea

po

ed

Lov

Develop a sense of place and belonging

Kellie

...and grow into adults who care for nature.

6


Tree F

ern b

y Bre

nt Ev

ans

How to Start Your Club The key to enjoying your experience as the organiser of your family nature club is to be organised, enthusiastic and committed to sharing nature with family and friends. You don’t need to be an expert, or know all of the plants and animals. In fact, many people prefer to learn together rather than be told by an expert. Remember that you don’t have to do this alone. Find other like-minded people, and share out the planning tasks and responsibilities on your adventures. Invite grandparents too—they often know the area well, and have the time and resources to plan outdoor activities and invite other members. Council’s library staff can teach grandparents without computers how to send and receive emails. For your first few trips, visit places close to home. You will be surprised how interesting your local parks and bushland reserves can be. Schedule a variety of fun outdoor activities and invite others to join you. You can take your group on a series of one or two hour walks through familiar reserves. You may be amazed at how few families have ever visited them before.

Don’t be afraid to visit the same place often. You can then see the seasonal changes and become familiar and confident in that place. Walk slowly to allow children to run around and make their own discoveries. You’ll probably find that they will learn about and appreciate their environment in ways you never anticipated. If you are feeling more ambitious, consider longer walks, nature photography expeditions, fishing trips, BBQs, camping trips and nature restoration projects. Learn to track animals, go bird watching or start a neighbourhood garden. See the rest of this tool kit for more details. It is fun! If you are not used to bushwalking, why not try out the self-guided Reserve Rambles starting on page 46 using the Wild Activities from page 20. The role of this COSS Family Nature Club guide is to help build the children and nature movement; and to help parents and others learn about ways in which they can connect children to nature. Family nature clubs is an approach Gosford City Council wishes to encourage. The inherent risk in outdoor physical activities should be considered when organising, planning and participating in nature activity programs. Gosford City Council, whilst supporting and encouraging this program, does not accept any liability associated with injuries, accidents or loss/damage to property associated with members’ participation.

7


Quick-start Guide 1. Create a plan

3. Invite people

When, where, what, how often and for how long? Enlist some help—it might be the grandparents, a neighbour, or the parents of your children’s school friends. Over a morning tea, you can decide how often you might want to meet, and what sort of activities you might want to undertake. If you put a few ideas down in writing, it will be easier to plan things and keep people informed. If you circle a couple of dates on the calendar, you’re well on your way.

Ask a couple of friends to join you for a family bushwalk. You could also invite local families, your children’s classmates and/or members of their sports groups. Ask them for their email addresses and create an email group to keep in touch.

2. Check it out It’s a good idea to check out each location before you invite people to come along. That way, you can work out if there are any tricky areas for the very young or elderly, and the availability of facilities such as toilets and picnic spots. Also, you can decide where everyone should meet and what to do once there. Check out if you need permission for a large gathering (contact details are provided on page 75). If most people in your group do not have a car, make sure there is public transport close by. If they do have cars, ensure there is enough parking for everyone to park safely.

4. Make it easy Informed and prepared parents are happy parents. You’ll make it easy for them to say ‘Yes’ when you minimise their preparation time and maximise the fun by giving them a check list for hassle-free outings.

5. Ready set go! When you arrange to meet neighbours and other groups, don’t forget to start your adventure 10 or 15 minutes after the advertised start time to allow for latecomers. Record the number of participants at each event and collect contact information for new participants.

6. Spread the word... Advertise your family nature club in your school newsletter, and start your own blog to tell others about the adventures you’ve been having.

8


Tips for Healthy Kids In addition to walking to and from school, and reducing the time spent watching TV, what else can you do to encourage a more active lifestyle for your family? Green space and outside areas are important to children, creating opportunities for social interaction and developing a ‘sense of place’ and identity. Spark your children’s interest in outdoor activities by visiting your local reserves, and take them on fun adventures such as camping and bushwalking so they can find new favourite places. If you focus on nature close to home your children can form a sense of attachment to place. People value the things they recognise, so it is important to encourage children to learn the names of local plants and animals. Giving a name to something is a way of knowing and valuing it. Try and encourage your children’s school(s) to introduce more outdoor lessons. Promote your children’s learning through nature books and web sites, and then take them to a reserve or national park further from home. Reading also stimulates the development of imagination.

Plan family activities by scheduling a regular family walk. Take young children on short, easy walks close to home at first, as children in this age group often get bored long before they get tired. Don’t be discouraged if the weather is bad—dress for the conditions. This is a great way to pass on healthy habits to children, and to spend time together to create social bonds. Family involvement is a crucial factor in the extent of children’s participation in outdoor activities. You are the role model for your children. Try our self-guided Reserve Rambles (see page 46). These walks allow you to take your family somewhere in nature where everyone can learn about nature. During a self-guided walk younger children often enjoy looking for the next marker; whereas older children can learn about the plants and animals in the reserve, and take photos to record their experiences. Ensure the route is suitable for the ages of the children. If you are going to take young babies or toddlers, make sure you can carry them—as they get older, encourage them to walk part of the way. Whilst it is important to support and encourage your children to be physically active when experiencing nature, it is also important they be given the time and space to create and play their own games.

9


Schedule and Calendar Set a schedule that is fun and works for your family! Your adventures will be more fun, and more relaxing, if you are organised. Work out how often your family nature club meets. Will it be weekly, monthly, or, perhaps, seasonal? Take weather conditions into account when planning your activities. Don’t plan trips to creeks in winter, or walks along exposed ridgelines in the middle of the day in summer. If the weather on the day of your planned adventure is not as you planned, don’t let it put you off. Walking in the rain can be fun, as long as you are prepared for it. Make a list of possible places to explore and then schedule them into your calendar. Work out which activities you will do in each park or reserve. Use your own schedules and calendar, or use the ones we have provided on page 69 (extra copies can be downloaded from our web site).

Try to plan a year full of activities Date

10

Location

Activity

Time

My Family Nature Club Adventure Plan... We will go: 

Once a week on.............................................

The first ................................. of each month

The first ................................. of each season

Once a year on ..............................................

How long: 

............ hours, from ................ to ................


Activity Check List

              

Tawn

y fro

gmo

uth b

Travel time to location Convenient meeting point Public transport options Adequate parking for your group Family friendly activities Other activities (in case of severe weather) Educational opportunities Entry fees Water feature (lake, stream, pond, puddles) Food, water, toilets, picnic tables Weather-appropriate clothing Appropriate footwear Best time of year to visit to observe seasonal changes Safety issues for small children Check weather forecast

y Lisa

Ford

11


Safe, Fun and Hassle Free Be prepared. Safety is important. At the same time, recognise that appropriate risk-taking is good for children’s healthy development. Bee-stings, poisonous plants and allergies do not have to hold you back. Make sure you take a first aid kit and let everyone know where it is. Remind participants that the natural environment is full of surprises, and paying attention is part of getting to know nature. Use the buddy system if it helps, and be prepared to adjust activities for different age groups. When you send out invitations, make sure to mention any special supplies that people should bring beyond the basics of water, sunscreen and hats. If your group will be near a creek, a change of clothes is a good idea. If you are hiking in the bush, you may need to encourage tick and leech checks. This information helps parents be prepared. Prepared parents are happier parents. As your family nature club grows, you may have to consider notifying the land manager if you have more than 20 people in a national park, or more than 50 people in a council reserve. For more information on who to contact, refer to page 75.

12

Check List Essentials  Water  Clothes appropriate for weather  Backpack  Snacks or picnic lunch  Sunscreen  Hat  Insect repellent

Safety  Whistle  Mobile phone  First aid kit  Any medications people may need e.g. anti-histamines, asthma medication

Extras  Change of clothes  Pad and pencil  Magnifying glass  Binoculars  Field guides  Torch for night hikes


Growing My Family Nature Club Tips for starting your new family nature club Start with people that you already know. It might be your neighbours, parents from your children’s class, or work colleagues. Make a flyer with some basic information to give to people—your children may want to help you design it. How you design your flyer is up to you. This page includes some sample text that you may wish to use or adapt for your flyer. If you need more copies of the COSS Family Nature Club guide, please contact Gosford City Council on (02) 4325 8222.

Tips for expanding your family nature club

Sample text: COSS Family Nature Clubs are made up of families like mine who would like to introduce our children to the wonders of nature. We want our children to play outside, growing skills and confidence in the outdoor environment. Gosford City Council has given us some information on how to get started, but this is our club that we organise and run ourselves. We do the things we like to do, and go to the places we enjoy. My family will be exploring .................. on ................ Would you like to come adventuring with us?

When your family nature club is established, and you want to expand and invite more people on your adventures, you could try placing a notice in the local paper or on notice boards. You could advertise through the school newsletter or on local parenting web sites. You may want to consider inviting special guests to come and talk to your club about nature topics, or find local community groups who have a program of interesting talks that you can go to. Make sure that all notices and advertisements have the necessary contact details on them so people can contact you to find out more.

13


Tricky Questions Kids ask some unexpected questions! Here we have given the answers to tricky questions sourced from the book I Love Dirt! 52 Activities To Help You & Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature by Jennifer Ward, plus some of our own.

What is wind? Wind is just air. We can only feel air when it is moving, then it is called wind.

What are clouds made from? Clouds are made up of water vapour and tiny bits of ice. Clouds are white when the sun shines through them and reflects off the water droplets. If the clouds look grey, it is because the water vapour is so thick that light can’t easily get inside the cloud and be reflected.

Phot

o by

Hele

ne R

osan

ove

What makes the moon shine so brightly? The moon does not have any light of its own, but it has a light-coloured surface. The moon reflects sunlight down onto Earth. If the moon is just a tiny crescent, you may be lucky enough to see earthshine, when sunlight from Earth is reflected back to the dark side of the Moon.

What is dirt? Dirt is made up of lots of things that have broken down—rocks, minerals, plants and even bits of dead animals.

Why don’t spiders get caught in their own webs?

Why do mosquitoes bite me?

Spiders spin webs from special sticky silk that they make themselves. Spiders often have a special oil on their legs which stops them getting stuck. They also know exactly where to walk on their web to avoid getting tangled up.

Female mosquitoes suck the blood of animals to get the right proteins to make fertile eggs. They lay about 250 eggs in water, which hatch into mosquito larvae before they transform into adults.

14


How does a tree drink? Trees can absorb a little water through their leaves, but most is taken up through the roots. Water and nutrients travel up tubes of dead cells called xylem and are distributed throughout the plant. Sugars made by photosynthesis are transported back down trees to the roots and other storage areas in the living phloem cells.

What is sandstone? Sandstone is a type of sedimentary rock. This means that it is formed by large quantities of tiny pieces of broken down rock brought together and subjected to enormous pressure for many thousands of years. Depending on the types of grains, and the pressure they were under, some sandstones wear down faster than others. Rain and changes in temperature will slowly cause sandstone to break down, when it is washed down the creeks to the sea, where it forms our beautiful beaches.

Drum

stick

s by

Bren

t Eva

ns

How do birds fly? There are a few things that help birds fly. Birds are very light because they have hollow bones. They also have feathers and wings, which help them to catch the air and create lift so that they can stay up in the sky.

Where do the possums go during the day? Animals such as possums and gliders hide up high in tree hollows or nests called dreys during the daytime. They emerge at dusk to forage for food during the night when they are less vulnerable to predators (except for powerful owls whose main food is possums).

Why are plants green? Plants are green because they are full of a special chemical called chlorophyll, which is green. Chlorophyll helps the plant change energy from sunlight into food for the plant to grow.

Feath

er by

Lisa

Ford

15


What Type of Vegetation is That? Explore the many vegetation types that grow in our region and understand why they grow where they do.

Spin ife by A x at Wam nna Deeg beral Be an ach

Coastal Dunes Coastal dunes are a very harsh place for plants. They are exposed to the sun, wind and salt; and any rain that falls drains away in minutes. Dune vegetation grows in bands parallel to the beach. The first band is sand spinifex grassland, followed by banksias and casuarinas behind the foredune, and then either heathland in dry areas, or tea trees and paperbark wetland in the hind dunes. You can see good examples of sand dune vegetation at Putty Beach at Killcare and Wamberal Lagoon at Wamberal. Common dune plants include sand spinifex (Spinifex sericeus) and pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens).

Wetlands Wetlands form when the ground is at, or below, the level of the water table; or when a perched water table forms on top of impervious rocks. They include swamplands, billabongs, saltmarshes, lagoons, mangroves, lakes and wet heath. Wetland soils are covered by water, either part of the time or permanently. The water may be fresh, brackish or saline. Wetland plants have to cope with low nutrient soils that have very little oxygen in them. This anoxic soil is what gives them their distinct smell, as the bacteria creates sulphur gases. Wetlands are important for filtering nutrients and providing a nursery for young fish.

Wetla n by M d veget a arjo P채t채 tion at Ilu ri ka L

You can find good examples of wetlands around Brisbane Water in the form of saltmarshes and mangroves, coastal lagoons with paperbarks, and inland lagoons such as at Kahibah Creek with its various rushes and reeds. Common wetland plants include common reed (Phragmites australis) and broad-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia). agoo

16

n


Heat h Brisb land of W ane Wate arrah Trig r Nat , iona l Par k

Woodlands Woodlands are open communities where the tree canopies do not overlap. They form in areas of poor and shallow soils, and low rainfall. In our region, woodlands are generally found growing on the sides of the ridges where there is a eucalypt canopy with either a grassy or shrubby understorey. You can see good examples of woodland vegetation on the hillsides in Rumbalara and Kincumba Mountain Reserves.

Heathland Heathlands are characterised by thick, lowgrowing shrub vegetation. Heath vegetation can be found growing in low nutrient or shallow soils, or on wind-blasted hillsides.

Common woodland plants include rough-barked apple (Angophora floribunda), heath-leaved banksia (Banksia ericifolia) and bracken fern (Pteridium esculentum).

Heathland plants are tough, and often prickly. Their leathery leaves make them droughtresistant, and they are adapted to recover from fire. These plants are also well-known for producing beautiful wild flower displays in spring. You can see good examples of heath vegetation in Brisbane Water National Park, at Warrah Trig near Patonga and the Bulgandry Aboriginal Heritage Site near Kariong. Common heath plants include crowea (Crowea saligna) and leafy wedge pea (Gompholobium virgatum).

Ridg eli Rum ne wood balar a Re land vege serve t by Ph ation at il Wo od

17


Rain fo by Ph rest at K atan il Wo dra R od ese

rve

Forests Forests are more dense than woodlands with the tree canopies overlapping. Dry sclerophyll forests have a eucalypt canopy and dry shrubby or grassy understorey. Wet sclerophyll forests are very tall with eucalypts in the canopy and a rainforest understorey. Examples of forest can be found at Berry’s Head Reserve, Wyoming and at Katandra Reserve, Holgate. Common forest plants include turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera) and Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna).

Rainforest Rainforest is characterised by areas of high rainfall or mist and high soil fertility, where plant species which prefer more moist conditions thrive. The dense canopy is created by tall trees which block out the sunlight on the rainforest floor. Rainforests are dark, cool and moist and are found mostly in sheltered gullies. The canopy consists of tall trees such as figs, sassafras, lilly pillys and coachwood with palms, vines, creepers, epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants) and mosses. Examples of forest vegetation can be found along the Waterman Walk in Katandra Reserve, Holgate and along the Rainforest Walk in Rumbalara Reserve, East Gosford. Common rainforest plants include Bangalow palms and tree ferns.

Wet sc by Lis lerophyll a For fores d t in S

trick

18

land

State

Fore

st


Sund e by Jo w at Kin cum Taun ba M ton oun

tain

Where you can find the different vegetation types

Perched Swamp

Heath

Wet Sclerophyll Forest

Rainforest

Woodland

Wet Sclerophyll Forest

Wetland

Coastal Dunes

Heath

There is a progression of vegetation types from the coast to the hill tops. The deeper the soil, the higher the canopy. The richer the soil and wetter the climate, the bigger the leaves. Some rainforest soils are actually quite shallow with all the nutrients at the surface. In these places you will see many spreading surface roots.

Woodland

19


Wild Activities

The

Sometimes it can be difficult to engage children’s attention when exploring nature. Joseph Cornell is a well-known and popular nature teacher. Through his extensive experience with introducing both adults and children to nature, he has found that a method called Flow Learning helps people of all ages to become aware of, and feel a part of, nature.

Flow Learning So what is flow learning? Put simply, it looks at how our brains work and applies different activities in a certain order, so that we get the most out of our nature experience. You may find the activities in this section useful for your first few family nature club outings, to help the members of your club become more familiar with the natural world around them. If you are interested in finding out more about flow learning and many more fun activities, you can find them on Joseph Cornell’s web site www.sharingnature.com or in his books titled Sharing Nature With Children I and II. Flow learning recognises that to be open to the beauty of nature, we can take children through four stages of experience: Stage 1: Awaken Enthusiasm–these are fun and energetic activities that use up stored energy and raise mood.

20

joy o

f disc

over

y

Stage 2: Focus Attention–games that may still be quite energetic, but are a bridge between these and quieter games. Stage 3: Direct Experience–these activities require children to concentrate on one or more of their senses. Stage 4: Share Inspiration–a quieter time to share experiences and stories.


Stage 1 Activities Rain

bow

Animal Parts

lorik

eet b

y Bre

nt Ev

ans

This activity is for two or more people and can include a mix of adults and children. How to play: 1. Ask the children to think of an animal. 2. Now get everyone in the group to join together and act out that animal. For example, if you choose a goanna, one person can be the head, one person the two front legs, one person the two back legs and one the tail.

Exploded Rainbow This activity can be done with as many people as you have colour cards. How to play: 1. Cut out all of the squares on pages 79-80 of this guide and mix them up in a bag. 2. Ask each person to draw out one square and then search for something that matches that colour during the walk.

Acknowledgement: Animal Parts is adapted from Sharing Nature With Children II by Joseph Cornell.

Lace

mon

itor b

y Lisa

Ford

21


Stage 2 Activity Sound Maps Try making two sound maps—one at the entrance to your walking track where you can still hear cars and other noises; and the other in the middle of the reserve or national park where you can hear more sounds from the natural environment.

3. Swap your sound maps with someone else and explain them to each other. Did you feel any differently when you were sitting at the spot near the road to when you were sitting in the middle of the reserve? Acknowledgement: Sound Map is adapted from Sharing Nature With Children by Joseph Cornell

What you will need: • A pencil or pen • A walking track in a reserve or national park How to make your sound maps: 1. Find a spot to sit quietly—make sure you are comfortable and can sit here for a few minutes. On the next page, you will see a  symbol in the middle of the page with three circles around it—one for things nearby, one for things a little distance away and one for things far away. 2. Close your eyes and listen very carefully. What can you hear? Where is the sound? Open your eyes and mark on your page where the sound came from—was it close, a little distance or far away? Was it in front of or behind you? What sort of sound was it? Draw a little symbol to mark where the sound came from. (Hint: you could draw squiggly lines for the sound of running water, or arrows for the sound of the wind).

22

The

The

plop

of w

crash

ater

and

on le

rumb

aves

le of

thun

der


My Sound Map 1 ...................... Straight ahead

ay

me

clos et o

y

fur the ra wa

far far aw

ď Š

Behind me

23


My Sound Map 2 ..................... Straight ahead

ay

me

clos et o

y

fur the ra wa

far far aw

ď Š

24

Behind me


Stage 3 Activities Camera

Sounds You Can’t Hear

This is a game for two people. One person is the camera, and the other the photographer.

This is a game of imagination that concentrates the senses. How to play:

How to play: Choose a relatively flat walking track with no steps. Warn the `photographer’ that they will have to guide the `camera’ very carefully. The person who is to be the camera must close their eyes and keep them closed until asked to open them by the photographer. The photographer looks around to find something interesting. It might be a flower, or a colourful piece of bark or perhaps a beetle. They lead the camera (who has their eyes shut) to the point of interest, line up their head and then press the camera shutter gently for five seconds. The camera opens their eyes for five seconds only to see what the photographer wants them to see. You can decide where your shutter button may be—it could be an earlobe or just a tap on the shoulder (use one tap to open the eyes and two taps to close them). Encourage the photographer to look for interesting angles and perspectives.

You can either walk along a track, or sit in a comfortable place. Look at the plants and animals around you and then start to feel the environment. Imagine the sounds that you cannot hear and describe them. For example, what is the sound of a butterfly breathing, or the sap rising up the tree trunk, or the sound of sunrise? You can list your Sounds You Can’t Hear, or simply identify them. Acknowledgements: Camera is adapted from Sharing Nature With Children by Joseph Cornell Sounds You Can’t Hear was invented by Julia Fletcher in Louv, R. (2005), Last Child in the Woods

Sounds You Can’t Hear •

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

25


Stage 4 Activity Recipe for a Dream Forest What you will need: • Coloured pencils or crayons

My Forest Ingredients •

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

• A hard backing at least A4 size

....................................................

• A comfortable place to sit, especially one with a view

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

....................................................

• Extra copies of the My Dream Forest activity sheet for each child downloaded from our web site

How to create your dream forest: Tell your children that they have been given one square kilometre of land to create their own dream forest. They can have anything they want in the forest, and will be able to sculpt the land. 1. Ask them to write down their list of dream forest ingredients in the space provided. What does the landscape look like—does it have mountains, rivers, rocks, sand? What things live in their dream forest—elephants, wombats, butterflies? Does their dream forest have beautiful radiant elements like rainbows, waterfalls or windstorms? 2. Ask your children to draw their dream forest on page 85. This page can be torn out. 3. Compare and talk about the dream forests. Would they be able to sustain themselves year after year? If they have elephants, is there food for them? If they have shy animals, is there shelter? Do the butterflies have food plants for their caterpillars? Acknowledgement: My Dream Forest is adapted from Sharing Nature With Children by Joseph Cornell

26


Nature’s Seasons Be a nature detective!

Flann

el flo

wer

by Fio

Live closer to nature by tracking the seasonal changes around you. The first people to live on the Central Coast were the Aborigines. They lived close to the land, harvesting seasonal foods, and had a very close connection to nature—their lives depended on it. The passing of the seasons was marked by natural changes such as: • temperature, rainfall and wind

na La

mbe

ll

Summer The land starts to warm up for summer in midOctober, and this weather lasts until mid–late February. Summer is hot and mostly dry. It is bushfire season, when the creeks slow to a trickle, the leaves hang straight down on the trees, and the sandstone ridges bake under the hot sun.

• the length of night and day • which plants were flowering or fruiting • when migratory birds arrived and departed • which fish and oysters were most available. They used nature’s cues to know where and when to find food. The Aborigines measured the year in five main seasons, and an extra event each year—the howling westerly winds that come at the end of winter.

Spring Spring starts in mid-August and lasts to about mid-October. This season is known for its very pleasant weather—it’s not too hot, or too cold, and the westerly winds have blown away.

Late Summer Late summer is from late February to late March. It is hot and humid with rain and afternoon storms that rumble and shake the hills.

Autumn Autumn brings relief from the summer heat. This season is from late March to late May. The weather is calm and cooler, and still quite wet— this is the time of colourful fungi in the forests, and the fruit of plants that flowered in spring is mature.

Short Winter This season is from late May to August when it is cold, wet and windy. Days are short and the bush is drab, waiting to burst into bloom in spring.

27


My Nature Diary Can you discover and record the changes in the land for a year to create your own Nature Diary? You can use your own book or our template pages (starting on page 35) to make your nature diary. Your diary can include field notes, poems (your own or those by other people), photos, pressed and dried leaves and flowers, pictures (see pages 81 and 83), drawings and paintings. Try using nature’s seasons, as known by the Aborigines, as they are much easier to identify. The following pages describe some things to look out for and record in your nature diary, but you can find many more. If you make a note of the calendar dates of your entries, you will be able to compare them to other years. To make your diary more valuable, make a note of the place where you saw the plant or animal or event. These things can be very useful to people who are studying how our world is changing. For example, in some places butterflies are hatching two weeks earlier than they were 100 years ago. There are also migratory birds that are laying their eggs earlier. This may not seem to matter, but if the flowers or fruits they feed on are not mature yet, they have nothing to eat.

The Garden Within by Celia Berrell

There is a garden in my heart where beauty grows in fits and starts. Where smiles are petals from the flowers bestowed by others from their bowers. Nutritious hope reaps seeds to feed my spirit for its every need. With gratitude I’ll reach my goal. To touch the island of my soul.

28


SPRING

(mid-August to mid-October) Cicad

a by

What can I see? Look out! Magpies are defending their nests, and sometimes they think you might be a threat. It is a good idea to give them some space and walk a different route. Can you design a magpie hat?

Bren

t Eve

ns

What can I smell? The turpentine trees (Syncarpia glomulifera) are flowering—can you smell the nectar?

Hint: You can use an old 2L ice-cream container, and if you draw a face on the top, the magpie will think you are watching it, and should not swoop.

Flying foxes often hang out in large camps in spring. You can find them near wetlands, but you may smell and hear them first! The smell is a special perfume created by the males to attract the females.

The Gosford wattle (Acacia prominens) starts to flower. See if you can find one and count how many types of insects (such as bees, beetles and butterflies) are feeding on its pollen and nectar.

If it has been a dry winter it may be the start of the bushfire season. It is also the time when many people do planned burns to reduce the bushfire hazard. Can you smell smoke on the wind?

What can I hear? Cicada larvae crawl out from the earth under eucalypt trees and crawl up the trunks to hatch. Cicada grubs can live underground, feeding on roots, for up to seven years. See if you can find the empty skin cases of cicadas. Can you hear the adults calling on hot days?

Spring is when one of our most prevalent weeds is in flower—can you see and smell the clusters of tiny white privet flowers growing alongside the roads? Many people are sensitive to this smell and it makes them sneeze and sneeze. Birds love the black privet berries and eat them until their crops are full—then they fly away and drop the seeds in their faeces.

What can I feel? Ouch! Be careful in the sea—always check the conditions first because this is the time of year that many stinging jellyfish called bluebottles wash in. Walk along the tide line where you see the seaweed washed up and see if you can see any bluebottles—if you can see fresh brightlycoloured ones on the shore, you can expect them to be in the sea. Scrib

bly g

um b

y Ma

rjo P

ätäri

The smooth-barked eucalypts, such as the scribbly gums, shed their bark in summer. Feel the smooth new bark underneath.

29


SUMMER

(mid-October to mid to late February) Chan

nel-b

What can I see? When ants want to make a new nest, some of them grow wings and they take off in big swarms after rain when the soil is soft and damp. See if you can see flying ants at night after rain. Go for a walk in a rainforest where there are cabbage tree palms and see if you can see (and hear!) the topknot pigeons eating the fruit. Find a lake or wetland and sit by the edge where there are plants growing out of the water. If you are very still and quiet, you may see dragonflies mating. Dragonflies are fierce hunters who catch their prey whilst flying.

illed

Cuck

oo

What can I smell? Can you smell the rain on dry earth and grass as a storm sweeps in? Find a eucalypt forest and smell the eucalyptus oil in the leaves. The high levels of oil are one of the reasons that they burn so well in a bushfire. If you visit the beach you may be able to smell something dead! At this time of year, the wedgetailed shearwaters return from their breeding grounds in the North Pacific. They have to fly many thousands of kilometres. If they fly into bad weather, such as storms, they can end up being too exhausted to keep flying and end up dying on our beaches.

What can I feel? Drag

onfly

by B

rent

Evan

s

What can I hear? The channel-billed cuckoos and koels (also a type of cuckoo) arrive from New Guinea and Indonesia. channel-billed cuckoos like to eat fruits, seeds and insects, and lay their eggs in the nests of magpies and pied currawongs. Koels love to eat figs, and lay their eggs in the nests of wattlebirds and magpie-larks. You can find out more about these birds and listen to their calls on the Birds in Backyards web site (www.birdsinbackyards.net).

30

Itchy, itchy, itchy—mosquitoes are about, especially after wet weather. They are most active at dawn and dusk. Female mosquitoes feed on blood to get enough energy to lay their eggs which they deposit in water. Can you find their larvae in a pond or still water?

Chris

tmas

bells

by M

arjo

Pätä

ri


LATE SUMMER

(late February to late March)

What can I see?

Rain

bow

If you take a torch out at night, you may see brush-tailed and ring-tailed possums searching for food with their young. When the young are too big for the pouch, they travel on their mother’s back. The blackbutt trees (Eucalyptus pilularis) are in flower, attracting large numbers of lorikeets including the scaly-breasted and rainbow lorikeets. You can find blackbutt trees along the edges of rainforest. Spiders love the warm, humid weather. Can you find the web of a golden or garden orb weaver spider?

What can I hear? Can you hear the rumble of thunder? This is storm season when the heat builds up during the day and the evaporated water falls as wild storms in the afternoons and evenings. Birds are teaching their chicks how to find their own food. Can you hear the chicks calling to their parents?

Grey

-hea

ded

Flyin

g Fo

x by

Lisa

lorik

eet b

y Bay

den

Allen

What can I smell? Flying foxes are mating. The males have a very particular perfume that they use to attract a mate. We may not think it smells nice, but the female flying foxes love it! Flying foxes are very important animals—did you know that they pollinate many of our native trees, including the eucalypts and melaleucas? Flying fox numbers are declining as people like to build their towns in the places flying foxes make their camps. Can you imagine an Australia without eucalypts?

What can I feel? Hot! This is the hottest time of the year and the days are long. On hot sunny days the dry sand on the beach and rocks on the ridgelines can be too hot to walk on with bare feet—when you reach the sea or creek, take off your shoes and feel the coolness of the water seep into your skin.

Ford

31


AUTUMN

(late March to late May)

What can I see?

Agar

ic fu

Autumn is the season for fungi—mushrooms and toadstools. Visit a rainforest and look closely in the shady areas on the ground and on the tree trunks. How many different fungi can you see? Remember that many of these are very poisonous, so always wash your hands after touching them. This is the time of year that you are most likely to see falling stars (meteor showers). Ask your parents to take you to a place where it is very dark at night (when there are no clouds) and you can see lots of stars in the sky. Sit or lie down and watch the sky to see if you can spot any falling stars—make a wish for each one you see!

What can I hear? Can you hear the peep-peep-peep of baby birds? This is the time of year when noisy miners and rainbow lorikeets are busy feeding their chicks. If you go down to the southern parts of Gosford (such as Pearl Beach) you may hear a very strange, loud grunting at night. This is the male out looking for a female.

Cora

l fun

32

gi by

Rick

ngi b

y Ric

thy

rthy

What can I smell? The swamp mahogany trees (Eucalyptus robusta) are flowering. They grow in the low-lying wet areas, and are covered in masses of fluffy creamyyellow flowers—can you smell the honey-scented nectar?

What can I feel? This is the time of year that the prickly moses (Acacia ulicifolia) flowers. Prickly moses is a small, spindly shrub that grows in the ridgeline woodlands and heathlands. It has small, triangular leaves that are very sharp! The pale yellow pom-pom flowers grow close to the stem. See if you can find a prickly moses bush and very carefully feel the leaves. The days are still warm, but the nights are cooler. Watch out for March flies! These are biting flies that feed on our blood.

Prick

Wor

k Wo

ly mo

ses b

y Ma

rjo P

atari


SHORT WINTER (late May to August)

What can I see? The grasstrees (Xanthorrhoea spp.) flower around May. They have tall flower spikes covered in tiny white flowers full of nectar which are irresistible to birds and insects. If you find one early in the morning, you may be able to taste the nectar too.

What can I hear? Winter is the time when insects are less active, and the bush is quieter. Listen carefully—can you still hear the cicadas in the day time? Can you hear the crickets at night? Scratch, scratch, scratch ... can you hear the male brush turkeys building up their mounds in July? They scrape up as many dead leaves and small twigs as they can find to build a huge mound of composting vegetation. This is their nest—the females will lay their eggs in here and the heat of the compost will incubate them. When the young hatch, they have to fend for themselves.

Brow n Aust antechin ralian u Mus s by G Lit eum tle

©

What can I smell? Something stinky down the bottom of the garden? This is the time of year when you might find dead brown antechinus. They are a small marsupial that looks a bit like a mouse. The males grow very quickly and then die after mating— they don’t even live to be one year old!

What can I feel? Cold! June and July are our coldest months. Check the weather forecast and get up early on a frosty morning. Feel the grass crunching under your feet. Visit a creek and test how cold the water is with your hand. August can be a very windy time—can you feel the cold westerly winds blowing in from the desert?

Brus

h tur

key b

y Bre

nt Ev

ans Gras

stree

by M

arjo

Pätä

ri

33


. gh.. edom, u o e en e, fr not n i s h i s iving ave sun l t s Ju ust h ower. m e fl on ittle Anderson l a and Christian s

Han

34


Nature’s Spring (mid-August to mid-October)

Assa

ssin

bug

by Jo

Taun

ton

35


Nature’s Summer

(mid-October to late February)

Black

36

swan

by Fr

ank

Bain


Nature’s Late Summer (late February to late March)

Rain

fores

t ear

thwo

rm b

y Lisa

Ford

37


Nature’s Autumn (late March to late May)

Bank

sia se

38

rrata

by Lis

a For

d


Nature’s Short Winter (late May to August)

Gum le by Lis af skele tonis a For er ca d t

erpil

lars

39


o d o t s g n i h T 15 2 1 e ’r u o Y e r o f e B 

1. Play in a creek

2. Body surf a wav

3. Adopt a rock or

4. Make a treasure

5. Climb a tree

6. Jump in a pudd

7. Learn how to sw

8. Plant a seed an

you 9. Invent a game

10. Find a cicada

11. Build a sandca

e (start small!) a tree or a creek map

le im

d watch it grow

   

on a tree stle

healthier by oom happier and dr be ur yo e ak M 12. or plants growing some indo ur backyard) e stars (even in yo th r de un t ou p 13. Cam print it spot in the bush, ite ur vo fa ur yo of 14. Take a photo room ur yo and display in or local park rds in your garden bi e fiv of es m na 15. Learn the s on these ideas.

See page 61 for tip

40

sh

can play in the bu


20 Before You’re 20

1. Watch a sunrise

2. Go for a bush walk after rain

3. Grow your own vegetables (eve

4. Paddle in a creek

5. Build a possum home

6. Walk along the beach at full mo

 7. Shower in a waterfall

 8. Do a day mountain bike ride

along a fire trail—take a picnic

 9. Go camping with friends in a

local national park

n in a pot)

on

 10. Dance in the rain

 11. Choose a star for you and a

12. Be a volunteer for a weekend

13. Drift over seagrass in a kayak

14. Participate in Clean Up Austral

friend to call your own

or air mattress ia Day or the Take 3 Campaign

 15. Make a YouTube-style movie about your favourite spot in the bush

 17. Spot a platypus in the wild

 18. Build a humpy

 19. Go fishing

See page 61 for tips on these ideas.

16. Go snorkelling with friends

20. Spot a cave

41


Nature Treasure Hunt Suggested for 4

nd na

den

gol

l bel

e

Gre

to 7 year olds

is treasure hunt easures. Take th tr l ra tu na of ll es are fu easures you The COSS reserv see how many tr d an u yo h it w ard reserves d maybe a clipbo an sheet out to the il— nc pe or n pe forget to take a can find. (Don’t to lean on).

und

Find something ro

p your wings like fla or og fr ll be en and gold Jump like a green  atoo glossy-black cock n find? thest thing you ca oo sm e th is t ha W  d? st thing you can fin he ug ro e th is t Wha  bad! smells good ... or at th ng hi et m so Find  se can you hear? el t ha W . rd bi a r Listen fo  y to live al would be happ im an an re he w e Find a plac  n you see? fferent colours ca di y an m ow H  Find something th

Find something pr

ickly

Bank

sia e

42

a

at moves

ricifo

lia by

Barb

ara K

edzie

gb

fro

rski

ood

lW

hi yP


Nature Treasure Hunt Suggested for 8

l

bel

re a

’ You

b gru

by

am aL

n

Fio

to 10 year olds

this treasures. Take l ra tu na of ll fu es are see how The COSS Reserv es with you and rv se re e th to t eet ou pen or pencil— treasure hunt sh forget to take a ’t on (D . nd fi n you ca many treasures ). board to lean on and maybe a clip

, es—scratchy, soft av le of s pe ty t en Find five differ iry and smooth needle-shaped, ha

Find a pattern in

nature

ails leading you can see the tr if e se d an ll hi t Find an an  n’t get bitten! away from it—do les— ured rocks or pebb xt te d an ed ur lo t co ece or they could pi Find four differen nt ce  20 a an e no bigger th make sure they ar y be difficult to carr tals—can d one with five pe an ls ta pe ur fo Find a flower with  you draw them? ooth bark—can sm ith w e on d an ugh bark Find a tree with ro rk?  living under the ba s ct se in y an d fin you pes of birds three different ty ot sp d an r he itc Become a tw  hat

Find a fairy or elf

hat does Spy on a bug—w

it do, where does

it go?

rk—sit rve or national pa se re a in k ee cr a Go to visit it ings that live in or th e re th ot sp d still an

Bow

erbir

d bo

wer

by A

nna

Deeg

an

43


ty of u a e ill eb te th h that w a l p m gt onte of stren c o rves e wh sts. Thos find rese as life la h long eart s a e r endu n rso

l Ca

e Rach

44


Berry’s Head Reserve

Katandra Reserve

Gosford Rumbalara Reserve

Terrigal

Kincumba Mountain Reserve

Woy Woy

Com e our e and expl ore xpan s inclu ding es of gre en th Spac e Sys e Coast a t l Ope e park n s and m, natio nal state fores ts.

McPherson State Forest

Popran National Park

Strickland State Forest

Dharug National Park

Gosford Terrigal

COSS Council Reserves National Parks State Forest

Brisbane Water National Park

Woy Woy Bouddi National Park

Waterways

45


Reserve Rambles

We love the opportunity to get out on weekends to explore our reserves. In this section, there are detailed directions for a few of the walks that we enjoy. You may like to follow the same route, or find some favourite walks of your own.

Summer

The first walk is accessible from Gosford, and is suitable for people who do not have their own transport.

How many different types of birds can you hear calling?

The second two walks start from within the reserves, and you would need to drive to the starting point. Try doing your favourite walks more than once— maybe once in each season. How does each reserve change, what new things do you see?

Spring Look out for wild flowers. How many types and colours can you see? Can you find any insects on the flowers? You could play the Exploded Rainbow game (see page 21). Many plants have new leaves. Can you find some that have red new leaves? Feel them, do they feel different to the mature leaves? Can you describe how they feel?

46

Go for a walk on a warm sunny day. How much difference is there in the temperature between shady and sunny spots? How important do you think trees are for keeping our neighbourhoods cool?

Autumn Fungi—look carefully on the ground, especially in shady spots. How many fungi can you see? Look at all the different leaves growing on the plants along the path. How many of them are tough and prickly? This is an adaptation to a dry environment—if the plants do not get enough water the leaves don’t wilt and become damaged. How many different types of seed pods can you find?

Winter See if you can be up by dawn on a misty morning and at the top of the hill by sunrise. Enjoy watching the sun rise above the mist with all the houses hidden below the clouds. How does this make you feel? You could have a breakfast BBQ at Yaruga Lookout.


Casuarina Walk Rumbalara Reserve

View f

rom

The Casuarina Walk is a challenging 2.4 km walk suitable for energetic families. There are many steps both up and down the hill. It is advised that you do this walk on a cool day, and allow a minimum of one hour to complete the walk. You may like to follow our route, or choose your own walk in this reserve. What you will need: • water • walking shoes • insect repellent • hat and sunscreen • a compass

the t

op o

f Rum

balar

a Re

serve

There are a number of tree species along this walk. You may want to ask your children to find one capsule/cone/seed pod from each type along the way. You can put these into your treasure bag. Ask them only to pick up things from the ground, not live ones on the plants as they need to be able to drop their seeds to reproduce.

Walk to the top end of Donnison Street and up towards the platform. You will see an information sign with a large map just before the platform. If you look at the map, you will be doing the Casuarina Walk which is marked in pale blue.

Optional: • small bag for treasures • Exploded Rainbow activity colours in a small bag • Sound Map activity sheets for each child

If you are driving, park at the end of Donnison Street in the car park at Henry Wheeler Place. If you are going to play Exploded Rainbow on the walk, get each child (and adults if they are participating) to choose a colour from the bag. They will be looking for something that is the same colour along the walk.

Walk up the sandstone steps to the fire trail, and turn right onto the fire trail. As you walk along the trail, can you see the trees with rough, ridged bark and fine needle-like leaves? These are the casuarina trees that give the walk its name. Can you find a casuarina cone (seed pod)? You will also see lots of ferns growing along the side of the trail. Feel the fern fronds. There are some spots along the track where there is water seeping out of the hillside, where you may see delicate maidenhair ferns.

47


Hyac

inth

orch

id by

Lisa

Ford

Walk along the trail until you see a large tree with knobbly roots next to a steel staircase on the left. Turn off the fire trail and go up the steel stairs and sandstone steps. You will come to a track junction at the top of the steps. Turn left and continue up the hill past the information sign. Go up another set of sandstone steps and steel stairs. Pause at the top of the steel stairs in the small flat spot. Use your compass to find where north is, and then look through the trees to the west. Can you see the railway lines in Gosford?

Follow the track along the ridgeline. It is open and cleared up here. Look around at the surrounding hills and valleys. About 100 years ago, this whole area would have been very open with hardly any trees. The hills were cleared for grazing cattle, and the valleys were planted with orange orchards. Can you imagine trying to cut down all the trees on one of these steep hillsides? As you walk along, how many different birds can you hear? Who will be first to spot the sitting man?

Continue up the next set of sandstone steps that lead to the top of the ridge.

Keep walking along the ridgeline until you reach the bronze statue of Sturt the explorer.

As you walk up the steps, you will see a big sandstone outcrop on the left. Why do you think the rocks stick out at the top of the hill?

At his feet, you can see a map of the routes that he explored.

Can you find the little overhang beside the track? Try sitting in here and imagine sheltering from a storm. At the top of the sandstone steps, you will see two benches. Stop and have a rest. Use your compass to find north again, and then look south, where you can see Brisbane Water and in the distance Lion Island, which is at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. Look west down over Gosford.

48

Turn and look west, and you will look down over the Gosford Hospital. You could try doing a sound map here to compare to another area. How much noise can you hear from Gosford?


Slug

s eat

ing a

fig b

y Lisa

Ford

Keep walking along the ridgeline until the track starts to run uphill. At this point you will see a small track to the left and a sign for Casuarina Walk. Turn left along this small track and walk up the sandstone steps. At the top of the steps there is a large, smoothbarked tree. Feel the bark. Look at the trees around you. Imagine what it would be like to live as a tree up here. Would it be hot? How would you get water? What would it be like in a storm? How much soil is there? Continue along the track, up the next set of sandstone steps and to the little car park. At the car park, turn left, following the Casuarina Walk sign. A short way along, the track splits, with one track running down the hill with another Casuarina Walk sign. Follow the track down the hill to the place where it goes between two big rocks. Look at the mosses and lichens on the rocks. Very gently touch the mosses and lichens without damaging them. How do they feel?

Follow the track down three sets of steel stairs. Stop at the top of the 4th set of steel stairs and look down the hill. Can you see all the ferns? Can you see the black fire scars on the trees? This is an area that has been regularly set fire to by arsonists. Go down the steel stairs, and follow the track down past the next set of steel stairs. At the T-intersection, turn left down the hill. This track will soon be upgraded with stone steps and steel stairs. You will go down a fairly steep part of the hill. Where the track levels out for a few metres, you will find another track intersection. Turn left at this intersection. Walk along the hillside through the ferny forest. Use your compass to check which direction you are walking in. Follow the track all the way back to the platform at the end of Donnison Street where you started.

49


Red Gum Walk Rumbalara Reserve

Harle

quin

The Red Gum Walk is about 2.1 km and recommended for families with children who like bushwalking. You may like to follow our route or choose your own walk in this reserve. What you will need: • Drinking water • Good walking shoes

bug

by Lis

a For

d

Walk down the steps on the eastern or left hand side of the lookout and head down the hill. As you walk down around the second bend, can you see the big old blackbutt tree? Why do you think they are called blackbutts?

• Sun protection

Keep walking down to the steel steps.

• Insect repellent

Half way down the steel steps, stop at the bend where the smooth-barked apple tree (with the orange trunk) is growing. Feel the smooth bark on the tree. Is it cool or warm? Is it peeling off today? Why would the tree shed its bark?

Drive to Dolly Avenue, Springfield and follow it up the hill to Yaruga Lookout and Picnic Area. Park here and gather your things together for a walk of approximately 2 km. The walk has quite a few stairs. If you follow the route we have suggested, most of the stairs lead downwards.

Start from the car park at Yaruga Lookout. Your first point of interest is Yaruga Lookout, which has views over Brisbane Water. Can you imagine how this area would have looked before European settlement? If you were a ship’s captain, could you navigate a boat through all the twists and turns from the sea to Gosford?

50

Turn around and look at the big sandstone rock opposite the tree. What can you see growing on it? Walk to the bottom of the steel steps. At the bottom of the steps, look up to the cave. The soft sandstone has been worn away by the weather. Follow the track along the base of the big rocks and down the steel stairs. At the bottom of the steel stairs, stop and look at the ferns growing beside the track. Feel the fern fronds (leaves). Most of the ferns here feel very soft. They are called false bracken or soft bracken ferns. The smaller ferns with drier, rougher leaves are called Blechnum or hard fern.


Wate r

Keep walking along the track until you see the big tree fern growing on the lower or right hand side of the track. Near the big tree fern look at the sandstone rock face. Feel the rock. How was it made? What happens when the sandstone breaks down? Where does the sand go? It is washed down the hill, down the creek and out to sea where the currents slowly wash it up the coast and deposit it on the beaches of northern New South Wales and even Queensland. Keep walking, and go down the sandstone steps, and then the steel ones. Walk along the flat part of the track towards the next steel steps. Just before the steel steps is a big rock on the high or left hand side of the track. How many types of moss and lichen can you see on the rock?

fern

by M

arjo

Pätä

ri

Look at the tree growing at the base of the rock—feel the bark and look up at the leaves. It is a casuarina tree and the seeds of this tree are in little cones that are a favourite food for glossy black-cockatoos. Can you make a sound like a cockatoo calling? Keep walking over the steel steps and up the hill. Just before the track heads down again, look at the big tree growing on the rock. How does it hang on? Walk down the hill towards the next set of steel stairs. At the top of the stairs you can have a rest on the wooden bench. Sit and imagine using this shelter if it was raining. What else might seek shelter in these caves and overhangs? Walk down the steel stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, count the number of casuarina trees growing beside the track before the next stairs which go up the hill again. Walk along the stairs and long walkway.

View f

rom

Yaru g

a Loo

kout

Look down the hill. Can you see all the ferns? This is the habitat of the potoroo who loves to dig around in the soil for its favourite food: fungi.

51


Shed

ding

bark

by Fio

na La

mbe

ll

Walk along to the next wooden bench. This is a good spot to have a rest and a drink of water. If you are here in summer, can you hear the cicadas? They look like big bugs whilst they are in the trees making all their noise, but did you know that they spend most of their lives as large grubs under the ground, eating tree roots? Can you find the dried out skin of a cicada grub which has climbed up out of the soil and hatched into an adult on a tree trunk? Keep walking along and down the hill. Listen carefully. What is louder—the sounds of nature, or the sounds of traffic? After you go around the big corner, stop at the big tree stump on the left side of the track. Look down the slope into the gully. Can you see the palm trees at the bottom? This is where the rainforest grows, in the wet gullies along the creeks where it is protected from the wind and hot sun. Walk up towards where you can see the next steel walkway. Just before it you will find an intersection, turn left and go over the walkway and up the hill.

52

Can you see any diggings on the path? Bandicoots are little animals that come out at night and dig in the soil for tasty insects, earthworms and tubers. Did you know that many of the native lilies have bulbs like daffodils? These bulbs are a great source of food for many creatures. At the top of the hill, look to the right for two sandstone steps. Go up these steps towards Dolly Avenue. Look out for the track marker on your left, and turn right at this marker and walk across Dolly Avenue. Follow the sign on the other side of the road that says Mouat Walk. Follow the track for about 50 m until you see a small track on your left. Follow this track down the hill. Look out on the left side for a beautiful big smooth-barked apple with the dimpled orange trunk. Keep walking along the track. Feel the ferns growing beside it. They look the same as the ferns on the other side of the hill, but these ones are tougher, more sclerophyllous. These ferns are called bracken ferns, and they grow on the hotter, drier western side of the ridge. Sclerophyllous leaves have lots of lignin in them which is the main component of wood. Lots of lignin in the leaves means that they are stiff and leathery and don’t get damaged if it gets very dry and they wilt. The lignin supports the cells and stops them from collapsing and dying from lack of moisture. It gives the plant a chance to live longer and wait for rain, and is an adaptation to a dry environment.


Cabb

age

Follow the track up the sandstone stairs. At the top you will see a fallen tree with a big rock in its roots.

tree

palm

by Lis

a For

d

Keep following the track and stop at the Wannagan lookout. This is a good spot for a little break and a drink of water. As you look west from the lookout, which suburbs can you see? Can you see the sports field? Keep walking along the hill side (not up the track to the road). Can you see the big water reservoir tank on the left? This tank is filled from the main water supply and is a back-up for the coastal and Erina reservoirs in case one or more of them fails. There are two other water reservoirs in Rumbalara Reserve: one at the end of Bayview Avenue which services Springfield, and one at the end of Dolly Avenue which supplies North Gosford. Follow the track as it starts heading back down the hill. As you start heading back down the hill, can you see the banksia bushes? Feel the knobbly bark and look at the seed pods. These are special seed pods that stay tightly shut during a fire keeping the seeds safe, and then open after a fire releasing the seeds into the rich ash bed.

Keep walking along the hill side. Where the track goes near the edge you can see lots of young casuarina trees down the hill. In a few years, this may be a favourite spot for glossy black-cockatoos—as long as no one sets fire to them. These trees die in fires (unlike the eucalypts) and then the cockatoos go hungry. Follow the track up the hill. Can you see all the grass trees? You may also see some soft water ferns in sheltered spots where there is run-off from the rocks and a bit of shade from the sun. Keep walking until you reach the water tower track, cross this track to Dolly Avenue, cross on the pedestrian crossing and follow the road back to the picnic area.

53


Waterman Walk Katandra Reserve

Brow

n cu

The Waterman Walk is an easy walk of about 700 m suitable for most families, however, there are some steps. This walk is a favourite with bird watchers. You may like to follow our route, or choose your own walk in this reserve.

ckoo

-dov

e by

Lisa

Ford

Walk to the top of the car park to the information sign. You will see a large routed sign at the top of a walking track that reads:

What you will need:

Lookout 2800 m Waterman Walk Seymour Pond

• Drinking water

You will be doing the Waterman Walk.

• Good walking shoes

Follow the track down the hill. At the first bend, about 40 m down the track, look at the rocks beside the track.

• Sun protection and hat • Insect repellent • Picnic

Drive to Katandra Reserve via Katandra Road, Holgate and park in the car park.

How many types of mosses and lichens can you see? Did you know that lichens are not a plant, but are made up of combinations of fungi and algae? This is called a symbiotic relationship, where both of the species benefit from the relationship. Keep walking down the track, past the gate, down the steps and down the slope to the bend with a large, pale-trunked tree. Feel the smooth tree trunk. Is it warm or cool? Is there any bark peeling off? Why do you think the bark peels off? Walk down the steps.

Nativ

e fuc

54

hsia,

Gosf

ord C

ity’s

cultu

ral e

mble

As you walk down, what do you notice about the vegetation? Is it getting thicker as you go down the hill towards the rainforest? Can you hear the bell birds (bell miners)? When you reach the spot where the palms are growing beside the track, you have reached the rainforest. m


Stran

gler

fig o

n roc

k by

Marjo

P채t채

ri

Walk down the concrete steps into the rainforest and stop at the bottom. How many types of birds can you hear? Can you see any of them? Walk along the track to the clearing with the white beech plaque. What do you notice about the vegetation in the clearing? How is it different to the rainforest? The open canopy here lets more sunlight reach the ground so there is a thick groundcover of ferns and grasses. Follow the track down the steps into the gully and across the two wooden bridges to Seymour Pond. Seymour Pond is an old dam that was built to water the vegetable gardens of a local family who lived on the reserve before it was managed by Council.

At Seymour Pond, take the left track (with no gate) around the pond. As you walk along the track, look at the trees on the left with the vines growing up them. Why do the vines do this? They are called monkey rope vines and are an important food source for the caterpillars of the blue tiger and black crow butterflies. As you walk around the pond, keep an eye out for turtles. As they are reptiles, they like to climb out of the water and bask in the sun on logs and rocks. Follow the track along the edge of the pond to the platform. Look at the reeds growing out of the water. Can you see any dragonflies on them? Dragonflies are insects that lay their eggs in water. The eggs hatch into larvae that live in the water, eating other insects and even small fish if they can catch them. They then emerge from the water, climbing up a reed or stick and hatch out into an adult dragonfly. The adult dragonflies are predators too, zooming around above the water, looking out for prey with their well-developed eyes. Return to the walking track and keep walking to the wooden boardwalk section. This is at the top end of the dam called Seymour Pond.

Seym

our P

ond

by M

arjo

P채t채

ri

Can you see where the creek runs into it? What sort of bottom does the creek have? Where did all the sand come from?

55


Cora

l fun

gi by

Rick

Wor

thy

As you continue along the track, briefly stop at the wooden bridge with handrails. Listen to the sounds of the water running and the calls of the birds. Keep following the track to the bench by the bridge. Have a rest and a drink. This is a great spot to do a sound map. Keep walking along the track. As you walk keep an eye out for the many types of fungi that grow on old dead wood, living trees and on the ground. How many types can you find? You will also notice that there are lots of tree roots crossing the track. These are called spreading surface roots and are found in rainforests where the soils have low nutrients. Most of the goodness in the soil is in the top layer just under all the leaf litter, and the trees try to get as much food as they can by spreading their roots along this shallow layer. Keep following the track around the pond until you get to the intersection at the bottom end of the pond. Turn left along Toomey Walk to the steps. When you get to the steps, look at the strangler fig that looks like a network of roots with no middle. What happened here? A long time ago, a bird dropped a fig seed high in the canopy of a tree. The seed germinated and sent roots down the trunk of the tree, racing to the ground. When they reached the ground, they started sucking

56

up food and moisture, and more and more roots grew down from the little plant at the top. As the roots got bigger, they strangled the tree inside. It could no longer grow and expand, and eventually died and fell over. It has now rotted away completely, leaving just the strangler fig roots that were around it. Can you see the fig tree at the top of the hill where it is growing up into the sunlight? Follow the track and go up the long set of steps, and along the flat section. As you walk along the flat section, look out for the enormous tree on the left with the big bracket fungi growing out of the trunk. Follow the track and cross the creek three times over the little wooden bridges. After the third bridge, you will soon come to a platform built around a strangler fig on a rock. Have a close look at how the roots are growing around the rock. You have now come to the far end of your walk. Turn around and follow the track back to Seymour Pond (it is the low track as you leave the platform). At Seymour Pond you may want to have a rest and a picnic at the tables beside the pond. You will find that there are many birds down here, and you may even see one of the big skinks called land mullets. Walk back up the hill to the car park.


Exploring Our COSS Walks in the COSS There are many walks for you to discover in the COSS reserves. Check out www.reserves.mygosford.com.au for places to visit. Download a COSS reserve map from Gosford City Council’s main web site, pick one up from a local Tourist Information Centre or ask for one to be posted to you, call 4325 8222.

Beginners/Little Legs • • • •

Iron Bark Loop, Rumbalara Reserve Waterman Walk, Katandra Reserve Kanning Walk, Kincumba Mountain Reserve Jane Young Walk, Berrys Head Reserve

More Challenging • • • • •

Red Gum Track, Rumbalara Reserve Flannel Flower Walk, Rumbalara Reserve Glassons Walk, Kincumba Mountain Reserve Morelia Walk, Berrys Head Reserve Themeda Walk, Berrys Head Reserve

Long Walks • •

Railway to Rainforest Walk, Rumbalara/Katandra Reserves Sid Pulsford Track, Kincumba Mountain Reserve

Quar ry by M at Capp e arjo Pätä rs Gully, ri Rum

balar

a Re

serve

Things of Interest • • • •

Cappers Gully Quarry, Rumbalara Reserve Bronze statues, Rumbalara Reserve Seymour Pond, Katandra Reserve Fig on a rock, Katandra Reserve

Lookouts • • • •

Yaruga Lookout, Rumbalara Reserve Colin Watters Lookout, Kincumba Mountain Reserve St Johns Lookout, Katandra Reserve Marie Byles Lookout, Killcare Heights

Picnic Areas • • •

St Johns Picnic Area, Toohmeys Road, Katandra Reserve Yaruga Picnic Area, Dolly Avenue, Rumbalara Reserve Honemans Picnic Area, Island View Drive, Kincumba Mountain Reserve

57


I’d Like to Learn More About Nature

Web sites

Plants And Animals

Family Nature Clubs

Australian Museum www.australianmuseum.net.au/animals www.australianmuseum.net.au/Wild-Kids

Children & Nature Network www.childrenandnature.org/movement/naturalfamilies/clubs Nature Play WA www.natureplaywa.org.au/familynatureclubs Happy Trails Family Nature Club www.happytrailsclub.net Kids In The Valley Family Nature Club www.kidsadventuring.org/blog Sharing Nature www.sharingnature.com

Places To Go COSS Reserves www.reserves.mygosford.com.au

Backyard Buddies www.backyardbuddies.net.au Owl Calls www.owlpages.com/sounds Frogs www.frogs.org.au/frogs/of/New_South_Wales Birds In Backyards www.birdsinbackyards.net Butterfly House www.lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au Insects http://anic.ento.csiro.au/insectfamilies

Wild Walks www.wildwalks.com

Native Plants www.anpsa.org.au www.australianplants.org

National Parks www.environment.nsw.gov.au/nationalparks

Reference/Other

Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre www.ccmdc.org.au

Weather www.bom.gov.au

Royal Botanic Gardens – children’s activities

Fire Weather www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/education/children_and_families

58


I’d Like to Learn More About Nature

Places to Go, Things to Do Group Activities BushCare www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/recreation/natural_areas/bushcare NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Discovery Program www.environment.nsw.gov.au/tours/AllAboutDiscoveryWalksTalksAndTours.htm Ocean and Coastal Care Initiatives www.occi.org.au Discovery Walks www.environment.nsw.gov.au/NationalParks/Tours.aspx?region=central-coast#tours Earthwatch http://www.earthwatch.org/australia/our_work/education

Zoos and Parks Australian Reptile Park, Somersby www.reptilepark.com.au Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, Peats Ridge www.walkaboutpark.com.au Taronga Zoo, Sydney www.taronga.org.au/Zoo

59


Gosford City Council Programs and Activities When your Family Nature Club is not out exploring nature, here are some other activities you may want to get involved in. Gosford Regional Gallery

Parks and Playgrounds

The Gosford Regional Gallery and Art Centre at East Gosford runs many children’s activities and art classes in school holiday periods. The Gallery Shop also has low cost artists’ drawing kits for children to get started on their own art works.

Gosford City Council acknowledges the rights of children to play and grow in a stimulating and safe environment. Through the provision of parks, reserves, foreshores and playgrounds we aim to provide opportunities for recreation for our current and future generations.

Find out more about the gallery online at www. gosfordregionalgallery.com/artclasses.htm

www.playgrounds.mygosford.com.au

Swimming Pools Gosford Olympic Pool and the Peninsula Leisure Centre have lots of fun and exciting activities to choose from, as well as learn-to-swim lessons. Visit the pools on weekends and in school holidays for thrills and spills as you plunge down our splashtastic slippery slides. The Peninsula Leisure Centre also has fantastic holiday programs including soccer, netball and kids’ club. Having a birthday party? You can book Gosford Olympic Pool or Peninsula Leisure Centre for a day to remember.

60

www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/recreation/playgrounds

Environment Council’s Environment section runs environment and sustainability workshops and community education initiatives. The Environment section works closely with local schools on various environmental education topics. You can meet the Environment team at local events where they run sustainability workshops and help you find ways to save money on your electricity costs. Find out more about our Environment section online at www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/environment


Need Some Help? Tips for the Activity Sheets

15 Things to Do Before You’re 12 (page 40) 1.

Make sure the water is clean and safe, and enter

carefully.

5.

Try the internet for information on how to do this.

6.

Research when there is a full moon and check the

2.

Visit Terrigal Beach on a calm day.

tides for a low tide.

3.

Find your favourite feature at your local reserve.

7.

Research local waterfalls and plan a trip on a hot

summer day.

well-hidden!

8.

Try Kincumba Mountain Regional Reserve.

5.

9.

Try Brisbane Water or Bouddi National Parks. Don’t

forget to buy your camping permit.

10.

You won’t get cold if you do this in summer.

4.

Make the paper look old and the treasure

Find a tree with low branches and smooth bark.

6.

Go for a walk after rain.

7.

Join one of Council’s learn-to-swim programs at

Peninsula Leisure Centre or Gosford Pool.

11.

Pick a night with no clouds.

8.

Try growing something you can eat, such as a

12.

Try RSPCA, RFS, SES or Marine Studies Centre.

tomato, snow pea or pumpkin, or plant a sunflower

13.

Find a place where the water is clear and shallow,

and keep away from boating channels.

14.

Clean Up Australia Day is held in February or

March. www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au and

Take 3 Campaign www.3things.org.au

15.

Tell a story about why you love this place.

16.

Choose a place where the water is clear, calm and

seed. 9.

Find a good spot with lookouts and hiding places.

10.

Cicadas come out in summer.

11.

Try a local beach such as Avoca or Pearl Beach.

12.

Choose a plant that prefers low light and don’t

over-water. 13.

Take a star map or app to help you identify the

constellations. 14.

Nature photos work best around sunrise and

sunset. 15.

Look up common birds of the Central Coast.

20 Before You’re 20 (page 41) 1.

You will get a better view from the top of a hill.

2.

Notice the rain drops sparkling on the leaves.

3.

Choose something you like to eat. Tomatoes are

easy to grow when it is warm weather.

4.

Try searching for walks on the Wild Walks web site.

shallow. 17.

Try Erina Creek at Holgate or Matcham. The hour

just before sunset is a good time to spot them. If

the water is still they are easier to spot.

18.

Aboriginal Australians from the Brisbane area used

this word to refer to a temporary shelter made with

branches and bark.

19.

Don’t forget a fishing licence and learn about legal

sizes for your catch.

20.

Try the Kanning Walk at Kincumba Mountain

Reserve.

61


Need Some Help? Tips for the Colouring-in Sheets

Colouring-in Sheet 1

(page 87)

Stink

St An

drew

62

s cro

ss sp

ider

by Li

sa Fo

rd

bug

by B

rent

Evan

s

Colouring-in Sheet 2

(page 89)


Acknowledgements

The COSS Family Nature Club guide is derived from the inspirational work of Richard Louv, Children and Nature Network and the nature clubs they support. Much of the material in this guide has been adapted from the Nature Play WA Family Nature Club web site. Many of the activities come from Joseph Cornell’s books Sharing Nature With Children I and II.

Wara ta

h, th

e flo

ral e

mble

m of

NSW

63


References

1. Cornell, J. (1998). Sharing Nature With Children: the classic parents’ and teachers’ nature awareness guidebook. Second edition. DAWN Publications, Nevada City, CA. 2. Cornell, J. (1989). Sharing Nature With Children II. DAWN Publications, Nevada City, CA, USA. 3. Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods. Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. Atlantic Books, London.

Photo Credits

4. Louv, R. (2011). The Nature Principle. Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Page 3.

Nick Friend

Page 7.

Kelly Drover

5. Ward, J. (2008). I Love Dirt! 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature. Trumpeter Books, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Page 20. Lisa Ford

Page 12. Brent Evans

Page 34. Kellie Newby and Lisa Ford Page 44. Nick Friend and Lisa Ford Page 46. Marjo Pätäri Page 58. Kellie Newby Page 59. Donnelee Collins Page 60. Lisa Ford Page 61. Anna Deegan Page 64. Fiona Lambell Page 66. Lisa Ford Page 76. Kelly Drover and Lisa Ford

64


Useful Documents The information on the following pages will assist you in organising your family nature club outings. You will find a Schedule and Calendar, Destination Check List, Leader’s Check List, Large Group Activities information sheet and a Comments and Suggestions page. More copies of these forms, as well as activities sheets not included in this guide, can be downloaded from our web site at www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/recreation/natural_areas/COSS-familynature-club/family-nature-club-activities-and-downloads

65


s ain i p, r , s u licio ces us u eally e d r s bra e is only ine i r d h e n i s h n t w , Su ther . ing, arating; a h e s e w l r ref ther exhi as bad a e s i w snow h thing of good s uc no s nt kind re diffe skin John

66

Ru


Register Your Club Register your family nature club to get your free COSS T-shirts and stay informed about COSS Family Nature Club activities. To register, download, complete and email a registration form, or fill in this and the following page (if required) then scan and email to us at:

familynatureclub@gosford.nsw.gov.au

Alternatively, tear out the completed page(s) and post to: COSS Family Nature Club

Natural Open Space Unit Gosford City Council PO Box 21 GOSFORD NSW 2250

Family Nature Club Name: ...................................................................................... Organiser/Leader Name: ........................................................................................ Daytime Contact Phone Number: ........................................................................... Email: ........................................................................................................................

Club Members: Name:

Male/Female:

Age:

T-Shirt Size:

67


Name:

68

Male/Female:

Age:

T-Shirt Size:


Schedule and Calendar Once you and your first family nature club members and have completed one or two adventures, arrange a time to sit down together and plan more. Each trip will be more enjoyable and relaxed if you are organised. Decide how often you plan to go and for how long. Plan your trips based on the expected weather—active walks in winter, visits to creeks and beaches in summer.

How often: 

Once a week on ...............................................................................

The first .................................................................... of each month

The first .................................................................... of each season

Once a year on .................................................................................

Date:

Time:

Date:

Time:

Location:

Activity:

Location:

Activity:

Date:

Time:

Date:

Time:

Location:

Activity:

Location:

Activity:

69


Schedule and Calendar Once you and your first family nature club members and have completed one or two adventures, arrange a time to sit down together and plan more. Each trip will be more enjoyable and relaxed if you are organised. Decide how often you plan to go and for how long. Plan your trips based on the expected weather—active walks in winter, visits to creeks and beaches in summer.

How often: 

70

Once a week on ...............................................................................

The first .................................................................... of each month

The first .................................................................... of each season

Once a year on .................................................................................

Date:

Time:

Date:

Time:

Location:

Activity:

Location:

Activity:

Date:

Time:

Date:

Time:

Location:

Activity:

Location:

Activity:


Destination Check List Completing a check list before you go will help you and the other members of your club to be organised and prepared. • Travel time to destination ................ ............................................................

• Access fees Yes / No How much: $ .....................................

• Accessible by public transport Yes / No

• Water feature Lake Stream Pond

• Convenient meeting place ............... ............................................................

• Need permission for groups over 20 Yes / No

• Adequate parking for the group Yes / No

Puddles

• Public toilets Yes / No • Picnic tables Yes / No

• Family-friendly loop walking track Yes / No

• BBQs Yes / No

• Other activities ................................. ............................................................ • Educational opportunities ............... ............................................................ ............................................................

Plan B—You may need an alternate plan in case of park closures due to fire bans or bad weather Alternate destination .................................... Alternate meeting location ............................

Appropriate gear for being outdoors

 

 Hats  Swimmers

Boots Water

 

Sunscreen Insect Repellent

71


Destination Check List Completing a check list before you go will help you and the other members of your club to be organised and prepared. • Travel time to destination ............... ...........................................................

• Access fees Yes / No How much: $ .....................................

• Accessible by public transport Yes / No

• Water feature Lake Stream Pond

• Convenient meeting place .............. ...........................................................

• Need permission for groups over 20 Yes / No

• Adequate parking for the group Yes / No

Puddles

• Public toilets Yes / No • Picnic tables Yes / No

• Family-friendly loop walking track Yes / No

• BBQs Yes / No

• Other activities ................................. ........................................................... . • Educational opportunities ............... ........................................................... .....................................................

Plan B—You may need an alternate plan in case of park closures due to fire bans or bad weather Alternate destination .................................... Alternate meeting location ............................

Appropriate gear for being outdoors

 

72

 Hats  Swimmers

Boots Water

 

Sunscreen Insect Repellent


Leader’s Check List

Pens and pencils for sign-in sheet and forms

Sign-in sheets and other participant forms

All special equipment needed for the day’s activities (field guides, magnifying glasses, paper)

Extra water and snacks (just in case)

Leader’s first aid kit

Make sure that parents and guardians stay with their children at all times

Allocate tasks to different people to make the day run more easily for you

Have fun!

Downloadable Forms You can download extra forms and activity sheets from our web site: www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/recreation/natural_areas/COSS-family-nature-club/family-nature-club-activitiesand-downloads

To keep track of the contact details of your family nature club:

Activity sign-in sheet Leader’s check list Participant check list

Photo Release Forms If you plan to take photos and use them on your blog, flyers or other advertisements, you will need to get permission from participants who may be in those photos.

73


Leader’s Check List

Pens and pencils for sign-in sheet and forms

Sign-in sheets and other participant forms

All special equipment needed for the day’s activities (field guides, magnifying glasses, paper)

Extra water and snacks (just in case)

Leader’s first aid kit

Make sure that parents and guardians stay with their children at all times

Allocate tasks to different people to make the day run more easily for you

Have fun!

Downloadable Forms You can download extra forms and activity sheets from our web site: www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/recreation/natural_areas/COSS-family-nature-club/family-nature-clubactivities-and-downloads

To keep track of the contact details of your family nature club:

Activity sign-in sheet Leader’s check list Participant check list

Photo Release Forms If you plan to take photos and use them on your blog, flyers or other advertisements, you will need to get permission from participants who may be in those photos.

74


Large Group Activities You will not need permissions for most of your family nature club outings. However, if you have large groups you will need permission in some areas. It is important to notify the manager of the area that you will be in, as it helps them to plan and prepare e.g. ensuring that any amenities are clean and ready for a large group, and that they know that there is a large group, and that they know a large group is in the area if there is an emergency such as a bushfire.

Council Reserves If you plan to have a group of more than 50 people in a Gosford City Council reserve, you will need to fill out the application form at least 8 weeks before the event. Please call (02) 4325 8222 for more information. You can search for Council Reserves on www.reserves.mygosford.com.au

National Parks For groups of 20 or more visiting national parks in the Central Coast area, you will need a group activity permit. Please call (02) 4320 4200 for more information. You can search for national parks on www.environment.nsw.gov.au/NationalParks

Strickland State Forest There is no requirement to get a group activity permit in Strickland State Forest unless it is organised by an incorporated organisation. If you would like more information about Strickland State Forest, please call 1300 655 687.

You can find out more about Strickland State Forest on www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forests/locations/ strickland If you are unsure what to say when you ring or email the land manager, here are some suggestions to use or adapt: I am part of Gosford City Council’s COSS Family Nature Club Program. Our club is made up of local families who are interested in learning more about nature, and encouraging our children to develop their skills and abilities through free play. In July 2012, I started organising a family nature club through my children’s school to explore the natural areas on the Central Coast. I know that other families will be more likely to explore our natural areas if I invite them to join us and others for an adventure. We have selected your park/reserve to explore on our September club outing. I understand that we may need permission to conduct this activity as we have thirty people attending. Can you please let me know what I need to do to get a permit and/or permission for our activity? I am hoping that by introducing our club members to your park/reserve, it will lead to increased understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the Central Coast environment. If you have any brochures or other information that you would like me to give to our members, please send me a copy. If you would like more information about Gosford City Council’s COSS Family Nature Club Program, please contact the Natural Open Space Unit on (02) 4325 8222.

75


is ture a n re to al and u s o and sic xp y e n h t e r p c ild ire ... d ial for ‌ th of ch nt al esse onal he Louv ti o hard c i m R y e ds b ts. l Woo u e d h a nT Last

76

dI

Chil


Comments and Suggestions We welcome your family nature club stories, pictures, comments and suggestions. You can email us at:

familynatureclub@gosford.nsw.gov.au

or write your comments below, tear out this page and post to: COSS Family Nature Club Natural Open Space Unit Gosford City Council PO Box 21 GOSFORD NSW 2250

............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................... ..............................................................................................................................................................

77


78


Exploded Rainbow Colour Sheet Cut out all of the rectangles on this page and keep them in a container or bag to use for the Exploded Rainbow activity on page 21.

79


80


Nature Diary Pictures Cut out these animal and plant pictures to decorate your Nature Diary (see page 28) 2. 3. 1.

5. 4.

6. 7.

8.

1. Pink wax-flower 2. Grey-headed flying-fox 3. Waratah 4. Brown cuckoo-dove 5. Wedge-pea flower 6. Honey bee 7. Green and golden bell frog 8. Cicada exoskeleton.

81


82


Nature Diary Pictures Cut out these animal and plant pictures to decorate your Nature Diary (see page 28)

1.

3.

2.

5.

6.

4. 9.

7.

8.

1. Swamp wallaby 2. Kookaburra 3. Drumstick flower 4. Broad-tailed gecko 5. Bent-wing ghost moth 6. Tea tree flower 7. Eucalypt capsule 8. Wattle seed pod 9. Beetle.

83


84


My Dream Forest

85


86


Colour-in the Stink Bug!

Find the correct colours for this shield bug...

Choose your own colours or see page 62 to do it nature’s way.

87


88


Colour-in the Spider!

Choose your own colours or see page 62 to do it nature’s way.

89


90


Colour-in the scene and see if you can find the animals and flowers

Can you find the... Death Adder Long-eared Bat Lyrebird Sugar Glider

Bush-stone Curlew Koala Butterfly Flannel Flowers

91


92


Colour-in the scene and see if you can find the animals

Can you find the... Swamp Wallaby Platypus Rainbow Lorikeet

Green and Golden Bell Frog Bottlenose Dolphin Cockatoos

93


94


y l i m a F r Ou ! b u l C e r Natu


COSS Family Nature Club  

Gosford City Council's COSS Family Nature Club guide.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you