Environmental Education

Kids Photography Competition

Show us your nature photography skills and have your photos judged by the team at Hornsby Heights Camera Club.

Competition Rules

  • There are two age groups: 8 to 12 years and 13 to 17 years.
  • The photo should be of nature, wildlife or landscape.
  • Each person is limited to one entry.
  • The entrant must live or attend school in the Hornsby Shire. 
  • The closing date for entries will be Friday 8 March 2024.
  • The photo should not have been taken more than 1 year ago and should be taken by the entrant.
  • Entries should be no larger than 10MB and be at least 300dpi, and should be submitted as a JPEG file.
  • Permitted digital adjustments include tone and contrast, cropping, burning, sharpening, dodging, noise reduction, minor cleaning work, HDR, stitched panoramas, and/or within-camera focus stacking using multiple exposure taken at the same location at the same time.
  • The addition or removal of any animals or parts of animals, plants, people, objects, etc. is not allowed.
  • AI is not allowed.


  • Prize will be Gift Voucher for family to visit the Sydney Wildlife Walkabout Park – 2 adults 2 children. Each finalist will receive a certificate.
  • 10 Finalists from each age group will be printed and displayed at the Berowra Fauna Fair Berowra Community and Cultural Centre The Gully Rd Berowra.
  • The winner for each age group will be announced at the Fair on 17 March 2024 and will receive their prize.
  • If they are not there to receive it then they will be notified by email or phone and the prize dropped off to them.

Environmental Education Fauna Walks and Talks

Berowra Fauna Fair 2024

Friends of Berowra Valley, a community group committed to protecting our precious bushland and local environment, will be running the Berowra Fauna Fair on Sunday 17th March from 10am to 3pm, at the Berowra Community and Cultural Facility (Berowra Community Centre).  With the support of Hornsby Shire Council we will be celebrating  the marvellous wildlife found in our bushland shire.

Come and experience live snakes, lizards, turtles, echidnas, birds and flying foxes and learn how to live near them safely and how to protect them. There will be fun activities for the kids including a didgeridoo performance from 1 to 2pm, nature walks and plenty of stalls to learn about how to protect our local wildlife so that their habitat is around for future generations. Apex will be running a BBQ plus the Berowra Sustainability Co-op will be bringing some electric cars to view.

There will be a series of talks including our local birds, orchids, brush turkeys, spiders and marine life. Confused on climate science? We have an expert in the field who will help us all understand this existential crisis. Learn how to become a citizen scientist and the eDNA initiatives being run by your local council. Plants will be on sale from the Australian Plant Society and the Berowra Garden Club.

The Hornsby Heights Camera Club will have an amazing selection of nature photography on display.  We are also running a nature photography competition for kids with two age groups, 8-12 and 13-17 with the 10 finalists from each category displayed. The overall winner will be announced on the day. For more details on how to enter see

Speaker Programme

  • 10am to 10.30am iNaturalist Petra Holland HSC Bushland Manager: Learn how to be a Citizen Scientist and record the amazing biodiversity in the Hornsby Shire.
  • 10.30am to 11am Spiders Dr Helen Smith Australia Museum: Learn about the benefits of those beautiful spiders we live with every day.
  • 11am to 11.30am Native Orchids Wendy Grimm Australian Plant Society: Learn all about one of the most fascinating and beautiful plants in our local ecosystems.
  • 11.30am to 12pm Amazing annoying birds – living with Australian brush turkeys: Dr Ann Goeth is a science teacher with a PhD on brush turkeys.
  • 12.00pm to 1pm Ecopella singing group and announcement of winners of the Kids Photography competition
  • 1pm to 1.30pm EagleCam Project Judy Harrington Birdlife Australia.
  • 1.30pm to 2pm Hornsby Shire Council’s eDNA Projects: Dave Bolton HSC Catchment Remediation.
  • 2pm to 2.30pm Marine Life with David Booth and Gigi Beretta Marine Scientists UTS and FOBV members.
  • 2.30pm to 3pm Why are we warming? With Alex Sen Gupta research scientist and lecturer at the Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) and the Centre For Marine Science and Innovation (CMSI) UNSW.


  • Jabiru Snake Pit with the “World’s most Venomous Snakes!” + “Remarkable Reptiles!” including a large demonstration pit with multiple presentations showcasing Australia’s most venomous snakes, including snake safety and first aid demonstrations. “Friendly” reptiles on either side of the presentation that can be patted and photographed.
  • Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park and Sydney Bats 2 hours 10am to 12pm will bring a selection of snakes, lizards, turtles, echidna and flying foxes.
  • Australian Wildlife Displays 2 hours 12.30 to 2.30 will bring a python, a crocodile, lizards (blue tongue/shingleback), possum, bird(s) including a kookaburra and/or tawny frog mouth and a frog.
  • Brenden Moore (with Friends of Berowra Valley) 1pm to 2pm Didgeridoo player and kids entertainment.
  • Hornsby Shire Council Bushland Management Team – learn about how to volunteer with Council and help care for our bushland.
  • Australian Plant Society – native plants.
  • Apex BBQ, coffee van and Sunflower Caterers.
  • Berowra Garden Club
  • Berowra Men’s Shed (with Friends of Berowra Valley) – nest boxes.
  • Berowra Sustainability Co-op (with Friends of Berowra Valley) – electric cars and other sustainability initiatives.
  • Birdlife Australia (with Friends of Berowra Valley)
  • Friends of Berowra Valley – fabulous tree, guess the native animal and win a prize.
  • Hornsby Heights Camera Club (with Friends of Berowra Valley) – nature photography display and Kids Photography Competition finalists
  • Dark Sky (with Friends of Berowra Valley) – learn about night habitats and creating wildlife friendly lighting around your home.
  • Nature Know Australia (with Friends of Berowra Valley) – insects and nature walks.
  • Sydney Wildlife Rescue (with Friends of Berowra Valley) – learn how to become a wildlife rescuer.
  • Magical Megs – face painting fun.
Guide to the Berowra Valley National Park


By Noel Rosten Reviewed by Wendy Grimm Australian Plant Society

Orchids are herbaceous plants. More than thirty species have been found in the Park. At least seven species use trees or rocks as hosts (epiphytes). They use their host only as support, not for food. The remainder are orchids that grow in the ground (terrestrials). Spring is the main flowering time but every month will find one or two in bloom.

Fauna Guide to the Berowra Valley National Park

Some Common Spiders

By Dr Mike Gray and updated by Dr Helen Smith, Australian Museum

An enormous variety of spiders can be seen in the Berowra Valley region. Some of the more obvious are the web builders, especially the orb-web weaving families.


Cats in the Hornsby Shire

Cats are cherished members of the family but they unfortunately come with a significant downside for our wildlife. The impact of cats on native wildlife is one of the most significant conservation issues in Australia.

Advocacy Environmental Education

Report Illegal MTB Trails in BVNP

If you see illegal mountain bike trails in a National Park then open up Google Maps on your phone, do a long press and this will create a Dropped Pin which shows the coordinates where you are. Share the pin with your email and also take a photo of the damage.

Create an email and include the GPS coordinates in the dropped pin and photo to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and tell them that you are unhappy with the destruction you are witnessing.

Or you can notify the NPWS directly on 1300 361 967’re-combatting-illegal-activities

This sends a powerful message to NPWS and the state government that we are sick of seeing illegal MTB trails being created in healthy bushland. 

  • They destroy habitat
  • They cause erosion
  • They reduce biodiversity 

The email will help the one ranger that NPWS has allocated to the Berowra Valley National Park know where the trails are. If they have the resources and are working already in that area they can remove the MTB trails.

Bush Regeneration Environmental Education

How to Create a Wild Meadow

Have you ever thought about converting your lawn into a wild meadow?

Here are some very powerful reasons why you could consider this:

  • Native grasses and insects have co-evolved over millennia and they need each other to survive.
  • A healthy insect population means a healthy bird, amphibian, reptile and mammal population.
  • A meadow of native grasses frees you from relentless mowing, fertilising and applying pesticides.
  • Surrounding yourself with a healthy, diverse ecosystem will push back on the loss of precious habitat and the dramatic increase in threatened species currently threatening our biodiversity.
Walks and Talks

What a Wonderful Day – Berowra Fauna Fair

On Sunday the 12th March , at the Berowra Community and Cultural Facility (Berowra Community Centre) we held the Berowra Fauna Fair.

The Fair opened with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by Uncle Laurie a Traditional Owner in the local area.

Uncle Laurie smoking ceremony

The event was designed to engage all ages in experiencing our native wildlife and also to learn from experts in their field on 30 min talks ranging from fungi, spiders, koalas and platypus, marine life, birds, native bees and native orchids.

Australian Wildlife Walkabout Park with an echidna
Jabiru Wildlife with a red-bellied black snake
Sydney Bats with an endangered Flying Fox

Over 350 people enjoyed the stalls featuring many organisations that work with our local flora and fauna. The greater Hornsby area is a native animal hot spot and home to some of Australia’s most iconic animals. Learning about these animals is a great step towards making sure they are still here for future generations to enjoy.

A big thank you to Uncle Laurie and all of our speakers:

  • Vanessa McPherson and Michael Gillings, School of Natural Sciences, Macquarie University who spoke on Fungi.
  • Wendy Grimm from the Australian Native Plant Society on Native Orchids.
  • Jenny Sistrom from Sydney Wildlife Rescue on The Benefits of Wildlife in our Gardens.
  • Dr Helen Smith from Australia Museum on The Secret Life of Spiders.
  • Judy Harrington from Birdlife Australia on our local threatened species the Glossies and Powerful Owls as well as some of the other local birds people can see in their backyards or surrounding bushland.
  • Sue Martin and Pat Schwartz from CHEN and Glenorie Environment Centre and Hills – Hornsby Rural Koala Project on detecting Platypus and Koalas in the local area.
  • David Booth and Gigi Beretta, Marine Ecologists from UTS on Sydney as a major hub of marine biodiversity but also a hotspot for climate change. They discussed their work in Sydney on seadragons, seahorses, invading tropical fishes and new subtropical coral beds off Sydney
  • Abbie from Kids Connecting Nature on our local native bee species and who also ran a workshop on how to make bee hotels that work.

We were also very fortunate to have many fabulous organisations contribute their local wildlife including:

Other stalls included:

Hornsby Shire Council Bushcare team
Fantastic Hollow Tree built by Friends of Berowra Valley

A very special thanks to Hornsby Shire Council for the community event grant that made the fair so much easier to run and Apex for contributing their entire takings on the day. Also to all of the members of Friends of Berowra Valley who contributed their time and effort in organising and running this community event.

Advocacy Westleigh Park

State Election Coming Up – No Plants No People

As the state election nears it is time to vote for a government that protects nature and stops the war on our natural environment.

The current state government implemented the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. This act puts a value on our wildlife and natural environment and then lets it be destroyed anyway.

Did you know that one koala offset is currently worth $399, if a developer is destroying koala habitat then the number of offsets is determined, money paid and away you go.

The current state legislation is doing nothing to protect our natural environment.

Yet 7.7 million hectares of threatened species habitat was destroyed in Australia between 2000 and 2017, according to independent research commissioned by ACF. This is an area of forest and woodland larger than Tasmania!

Australia’s threatened bird species declined in abundance by an average of 44% from 2000 to 2016.

So why is Hornsby Shire Council ignoring all ecological advice and planning to sanction illegally built mountain bike trails through sensitive bushland at Westleigh Park?  This includes the critically endangered Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and the endangered Duffys Forest.

The council has published the trails to be built, reducing the current ‘illegal’ 9km network to 7km. These trails apart from 2 are not shared, therefore excluding the local community from enjoying their own bushland. The vast majority of mountain bikers will not be from the local area.

Rather than working within the site constraints, such as sensitive bushland, critical infrastructure in the form a dam and traffic bottlenecks, council wants to build a regional sporting venue. This regional sporting venue will have three platforms, two platforms will hold 2 sporting fields each and one platform will be an athletics track.

Friends of Berowra Valley have been fighting this through helping to create Save Westleigh Park. Please help by voting for a state member with ecological literacy.

Walks and Talks

Berowra Fauna Fair

The Berowra Fauna Fair is coming up, bigger and better than ever. With the support of Hornsby Shire Council we will be celebrating all of the marvellous wildlife with whom we share our bushland home.

On Sunday the 12th March from 10am to 4pm, at the Berowra Community and Cultural Facility (Berowra Community Centre), The Gully Road Berowra, we will commence with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by Uncle Laurie. The centre will be a hub of fauna based activity including native animals, information from wildlife rescue, local plants for sale, a workshop on building a bee hotel and a BBQ run by Apex.  Throughout the event there will be continuous 30-minute talks by experts on bats, birds, frogs, fungi, marine animals, koalas and more. There will be plenty of opportunity to share experiences and ask questions, or just to sit back and learn something new.

The greater Hornsby area is a native animal hot spot and home to some of Australia’s most iconic animals such as the echidna, and threatened species such as the platypus and koala. Learning about these animals is a great step towards making sure they are still here for future generations to enjoy. Other familiar friends, including bandicoots, sugar gliders and glossy black cockatoos, will also be featured in talks at the event.

Speaker Programme

Time Talk
10am – 10.30am Uncle Laurie

Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony

10.30am -11am Fungi Biodiversity

Vanessa McPherson and Michael Gillings
School of Natural Sciences, Macquarie University

Learn about one of our most important ecosystem engineers in a fascinating talk about Fungi Biodiversity.

11am -11.30am Native Orchids

Wendy Grimm
Australian Native Plant Society

Genoplesium baueri  R.Br. (family Orchidaceae) is an endangered terrestrial orchid species endemic to the Sydney Basin, New South Wales, Australia. Genoplesium baueri was spotted by Wendy Grimm in 2009, as an isolated plant growing along a fire-trail in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, near Mount Colah with members of the Australian Plants Society North Shore Group. G. baueri was previously recorded in the 1940’s around Cowan and Mt Colah.

Wendy went on to monitor several populations of the rare orchid 2009-22 in local National Parks and nature reserves and published the results in Cunninghamia and was awarded a MPhil for her studies. Wendy has been part of the APS NSG Walks & Talks program at Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden since retiring as a hospital scientist in 2007 and has enjoyed a life-long enthusiasm for geology, flora & fauna and conservation of the environment.

11.30am -12pm Wildlife in our Gardens – the Benefits

Jenny Sistrom
Sydney Wildlife Rescue

12pm – 12.30pm The Secret Life of Spiders

Dr Helen Smith
Australia Museum

Helen Smith works behind the scenes at the Australian Museum in Sydney where she helps to look after one of the largest spider collections in the southern hemisphere. These spider specimens are for research, so they are carefully preserved and labelled. But Helen also loves to get out and about to see what spiders and other little animals are up to in their day-to-day lives. Have you ever wondered why there are silk lines across the bushes glistening in the sun, or marvelled as a huntsman spider defies gravity to run across a smooth window? Or maybe you spotted a white speck moving in your lawn then realised it was attached to a camouflaged spider – what was that all about?
Come for a peep into the secret world of our 8-legged friends and find out about some of the astonishing things they do every day as they live their spidery lives.

12.30pm –
Come Fly with Me

Judy Harrington
Birdlife Australia

A talk about your special Glossies and Powerful Owls as well as some of the other local birds people can see in the backyards or the surrounding bushland. Plus some hints on attracting birds to your gardens

1pm – 1.30pm Platypus and Koalas

Sue Martin and Pat Schwartz
CHEN and Glenorie Environment Centre and Hills – Hornsby Rural Koala Project

An update on the wonderful work in the local area to detect platypus and koalas in our local bushland.

1.45pm – 2.15pm Seahorses, seadragons, tropical fishes and corals: the Sydney scene.

David Booth and Gigi Beretta
UTS and FoBV

Sydney is a major hub of marine biodiversity but also a hotspot for climate change.  Gigi Beretta and David Booth are marine ecologists who study marine fishes and corals from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney.  We will discuss our work in Sydney on seadragons, seahorses, invading tropical fishes and new subtropical coral beds off Sydney!

2.30pm – 3pm Native Bees

Kids Connecting Nature

Learn about our native bee species

3pm – 4pm Bee workshop – pre booked free for the first 18 participants ( 1 ticket per family)

Book Now

Kids Events

Time Name
10am-2pm Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park and Sydney Bats

Meet our amazing local wildlife – grey headed flying foxes (the bats), turtles, lizards, pythons and an echidna.

10am-2pm Snake SafetyJabiru Wildlife – live snakes and snake safety demonstration
11am-1pm Insects and other Mini beasts

Australian Environmental Education and Nature Know Australia

Display of insect materials, and some live animals to interact with.

Outdoor program.

2 x minibeast hunts –



25 minutes each

Discover local bugs and creatures and learn more about them. 15 to 20 children

2 x mindful moments in nature sessions – slow down and play with nature materials and sensory sessions

25 minutes  each



12 children per session – Signup on the day


2pm-4pm Australian Wildlife Displays

Ringtail possum, Tawny Frogmouth, Bluetongue Lizard, Green Tree Frog, Diamond Python, Lace Monitor and Long-necked Turtle

2.30pm -4pm Bee Hotel Workshop – pre-booked

Kids Connecting Nature

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