Glenorie Environment Centre Looks for New Home

The Glenorie Environment and Creative Arts Centre has been asked by the school to vacate the current premises. After receiving the vacation notice a meeting between all community stakeholders was called to resolve the issues that have arisen. On the 14th January 2017, the ‘moving on’ meeting was held with the aim of determining how to move forward with the Environment Centre into the future.

The meeting was chaired by Councillor Michael Hutchence, deputy mayor of Hornsby Shire Council. Councillor Robyn Preston, deputy mayor of The Hills Shire Council was also in attendance.

The meeting was attended by approximately 50 community members. Volunteers were called for to help with documenting, packing and storing the contents of the Environment Centre for the move. As many specimens in the centre’s collection were donated by community members in good faith, the move must be undertaken with great care.

It was clear at the meeting that the community values having an Environment Centre however a new location is the subject of ongoing discussions.

The Glenorie Environment and Creative Arts Centre was established in 1998 in what was the old fire brigade building which is located in the grounds of Glenorie Public School. The principal Col Westcott worked hard to retain this building for the School after the fire brigade had moved out because he felt that the involvement of school and community working together for the purpose of environmental and science education would be for the benefit of everyone. And it has been for the past 19 years.

The Streamwatch Program became the back bone of the Environment Centre. It has been a wonderful program opening up opportunities for school and community to interact with other schools and communities through mutual water testing meetings and events.

Whilst the Environment Centre has been very busy over the years with creek visitations throughout the entire district, wetland visits, many community events and hosting guest visits to the very special places in our amazing area there are some particular things we are especially proud of.

One of them is the work that has been done with the Hills Shire Council to identify Council, land owner and environmental requirements towards listing The Broadwater Wetland as a Wetland of International Importance under the RAMSAR convention (The listing has not happened because of a change of Government Policy).

Another program of a different nature was the Crofton weed eradication program which included Streamwatch water testing to check pollution levels with a process of weed removal. This program involved the whole catchment of Maroota Forest and numerous landowners. School children and community worked together to rid the Blue Gum wetland in Maroota Forest of the Crofton weed that was threatening the wetland.

The Environment Centre worked with Hornsby Council to improve the water quality in Glenorie Creek. When testing first began, there were hundreds of thousands of faecal coliform bacteria found in samples from this Creek. This level was reduced over the years through education and awareness programs, drain stencilling, dye testing by Hornsby Council and the construction of water retention pits.

The Environment Centre itself has become a natural history museum with a collection of objects that have been found in the unique natural environment surrounding Glenorie or given by people who generously wanted their specimens to be enjoyed by the wider community.

There was a small exhibition of photographs, awards and specimens from the Environment Centre on the day of the community meeting.

The Environment Centre must be vacated by the end of January however an extension until the end of February has been requested in light of the amount of work to be undertaken for the move. An update on potential new locations will be published next month.

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