Council's environment centres offer an Australian Curriculum integrated school learning program designed to cater for all grades from Prep through to Year 12 and university bridging courses.
Brisbane has three environment centres at Boondall Wetlands, Downfall Creek and Karawatha Forest. Each natural area is unique, and the centres provide opportunities for visitors to:
- relax, increase mindfulness, improve mental health and play in a natural setting with family and friends
- learn about our incredible native flora and fauna in Australia's most diverse city
- participate in free or low-cost activities, such as canoeing, guided walks, bird watching and sustainable living workshops
- volunteer their time as guides or greeters
- encourage outside learning with excursions through Brisbane City Council's School Learning Program.
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Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre
Downfall Creek Bushland Centre
Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre
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Well, I love it here because of all the bushland, and our children, who are off playing, love it because it is… there’s no actual play equipment, it’s all-natural setting with rocks and logs to climb on, which is really nice ‘cause they never get bored, it’s all imagination based. Which is what we like to do.
Karawatha, I’ve been coming here for quite some time, and this is probably one of the sort of one of the last remnants of bush, close to the city.
Just like to kick back and relax and have a drink of cold water and watch the kids play, and you know, that’s what it’s for.
This is a special place to me because I can be connected to people, I can be connected to nature, and with myself as well.
I do feel connected to nature when I go in the forest it makes me feel calmer and less stressed.
So whenever I see any animals, it just makes me smile.
I do feel a bit of the spirit of the bush around me and it makes me feel a little bit whole for a while.
It makes me feel wild, happy and free.
When you see nature, it just like when you dive into the ocean, after feeling hot for the day, you just get connected to it, and it’s hard to explain, you just feel at home. Basically.
Hi, I’m Fiona from Brisbane City Councils environment centres.
I’ve come today to Raven Street Reserve to our flying fox camp to talk to you all about flying foxes.
In this camp here we have two types of flying foxes most of the time. We have the grey headed flying fox, and also the black flying fox. But the camps do change a fair bit so sometimes at certain times of the year we might even have little red flying foxes in the camp as well.
We are very lucky here in Brisbane that we have a really high level of biodiversity. One of the most biodiverse capital cities in Australia.
So this can mean we have a lot of different interactions with wildlife, and bats are definitely one of those. So our bats are pretty amazing creatures. The bats are the only mammal in the world that can actually fly, and they can fly quite long distances. They do this by using a hand that’s covered in skin, so it’s sort of got a very stretchy soft membrane on it that allows them to fly. Because they are flying, and very heavy animals compared to birds, they do consume quite a lot of food, and this actually gets passed through their system very quickly as well. Now the flying foxes don’t actually eat solid food so much, the way they feed is by chewing up the food, crushing it in their specially adapted mouth, the roof of their mouth is quite rigid, like a little juicing machine, they suck all the juice out and then it comes out pretty much both ends. So they will spit the pulp out their mouth and obviously lots of mess out the other end. And it can only take about 20 minutes to go through their digestive tract.
So one of the really important roles that bats play is in pollinating and seed dispersal. So the bats can fly quite long distances and spread the pollen to various different plants. A lot of our Australian plants rely heavily on flying foxes for pollinating or dispersing the seeds of their plants.
So flying foxes communicate with each other using actually quite complex sounds and there’s been at least 20 different recordings of their language that they use to talk to each other, so it can make them quite noisy, specially at different times of the year including the breeding season.
In spring, which is now, we have a lot of the mothers carrying their babies, so they might carry their babies for round about three weeks attached to their belly, and the babies just cling on. And then after that the babies get left behind in the camp while the mother goes out foraging for food. After about three months the babies will start to fly and follow their mothers and learn about what sort of foods they can eat.
When they go to the toilet it’s an interesting thing to watch, they actually hang up round our right way, they hang up with the little hooks on their thumbs, go to the toilet, do a little dance and out it comes.
So Brisbane City Council manages around about 20 permanent camps for the flying foxes and also some temporary ones as well. Due to loss of habitat and urban encroachment can sometimes lead to some problems with interactions between the residents and the bats.
Like all native animals, flying foxes are protected under the Queensland Conservation Act. Under this legislation it is an offence to harm the animals, or to disturb their camps. Additional protection is given to them when they have dependent young. The grey headed flying fox is afforded further protection because of their declining numbers. This species is listed as Vulnerable in the Commonwealth, under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act.
Some tips that might be given to residents that are encountering bats, is to just do some simple things around the home that can help. One of those might be bringing in their washing at night-time or early evenings so it doesn’t get pooed on. Or covering their pool or their car as well, cause that can get quite messy as well.
The most important thing that council does around the flying foxes is to educate people about them and about their importance.
So flying fox camps can vary in size depending on all sorts of reasons, such as the time of the year, the breeding season, and migration patterns for different species. The little red flying foxes, for example, follow the flowering of eucalypts down the coast and can travel on mass sometime millions of animals are moving in together.
The grey headed flying foxes are both permanent residents and visitors to Brisbane. Some coming here from down south during the winter and again following the flowering native vegetation. Can also be affected by climate change, such as bushfires wiping out habitat, drought impacts and heat waves, which flying foxes are very susceptible to.
These bats are really important pollinators and seed dispersers and they’re really under pressure from urban development, urban sprawl, climate change and things like that so we really need them and it’s important that we do our best to manage them and look after them.
We have so many different cultures here in Australia and that’s something to be proud of.
We’re here celebrating Harmony Day, diversity day, multicultural day! Let’s all sing together...from our hearts.
I am here to share culture with the community and show off some Indigenous skills. I’m so happy about Australia being a multicultural society. Multiculturalism just means to me people of different races, people of the planet, earthlings, all getting together.
Coming together and celebrating different cultures, whatever they are.
I’m here today because we’re having a very lovely Harmony Day, which is getting everyone together, and having fun and sharing cultures and diversities.
I think it’s a great day to acknowledge just how diverse Australia is, and celebrate all different cultures and obviously teach the kids as well to respect everyone, no matter what colour, shape or size they are.