In 2015, Addison Road Community Centre Organisation created an Urban Habitats program to foster wildlife habitat in the urban environment and enhance the benefits of green space that exists at our community centre. The program is centred around our Urban Habitat Tree, with interlinking research, education and arts components.
The Urban Habitat Tree was created from a Sydney Blue Gum that required removal due to safety concerns. Rather than removing the tree, we had branches removed to make it safe, and artificial tree hollows were then created to replicate a ‘dead tree’, much like those you would find in the bush. It takes 120 -200 years for hollows to form, and many native animals and birds can’t live without them. As most of the original forest cover in NSW has been cleared since 1788, most trees are too young to have hollows, exacerbating our already high extinction rates.
Unfortunately, these trees are lacking in the urban environment as they are removed for safety concerns or aesthetic values. The Habitat Tree has helped to change this perception and the practice is catching on, with locals choosing to create habitat trees in their backyards.
We set up motion-activated cameras in our Habitat Tree, to see what the residents are up to! Monitoring helps with hollow design to increase up-take and improve this emerging environmental tool. Thanks to Inner West Council & Sydney Arbor Trees for their ongoing support in this project!
In 2015-16, we ran Nocturnal Microbat Monitoring sessions, involving local residents as ‘citizen scientists’ to use echo-location devices to pick up microbat calls. We detected Goulds and Eastern Bent-wing onsite, and contributed valuable data on these under-researched species.
Schools Art & Sustainability Program
The habitat tree was the core inspiration for the theme of our first Public Schools Arts Festival – ‘Out of the Habit, into the Habitat’ – encouraging students to think about creative environmental solutions to increase habitat in urban environments.
Students from twelve schools created in the mediums of sculpture, photography, painting, theatre, film and music, and exhibited at Addison Road Community Centre’s StirrUP Gallery – located opposite the Urban Habitat Tree.