Currawong Environmental Contractors
Managing your land in an ecologically sustainable way is becoming increasingly important, especially for those wanting to conserve, or re-establish, areas of native bushland.
Currawong Environmental Contractors use environmentally sensitive methods in dealing with common problems, such as invasive weeds, and also carry out a comprehensive range of other environmental aspects, such as surveying and monitoring, seed collecting, propogation and revegetation.
Earthwise Harmony speaks to Mandy Moar, co-founder (and very active worker) of Currawong Environmental Contractors.
Tell us Mandy... when did the business start?
We started the business as a boyfriend and girlfriend team in 2000 and have been operating ever since and later as a husband and wife team.
What inspired or made you decide to start this particular business?
When Mathew and I were dating we were both committee members of two different Friends of Parks Groups. The group I was involved in received a grant to tackle watsonia along the South Para and Mathew with his experience of weed control was employed as a contractor to do it. We found that we worked really well together and complemented each other so we decided to do this part time (weekends).
I then became a Regional Coordinator in the Bush For Life program (Trees For Life) for the northern area so I did this through the business and with my contacts in local Councils we soon were contracted to perform specialised weed control along road sides and in reserves. The business continued to grow to the point that in early 2011 we decided to go full time and have been inundated with work ever since.
Where did the name come from... why did you decide on that name?
Currawong was our second preferred name for the business. Our first was Acacia Environmental Services, but when we tried to lodge this, everyone had Acacia. We decided Currawong because of the solitary bird that is quite common in the Adelaide Hills and because half of our work is performed in the Hills and we love bird watching it seemed very fitting.
What kind of people are your customers... eg what kind of properties do they have and what do they need you to do for them?
Our main customers are local Councils, National Parks, NRMB and a handful of private landowners. The work can vary which is what I really like about conservation work. We undertake plant rescue when earthworks will damage an area, management plans, surveys (flora), seed collecting, propagation, tubestock planting and direct seeding, minimal disturbance weed control methods, photopoint monitoring, selective brushcutting (brushcutting weed grasses at the right time of year to allow native grasses to seed and out-compete), just to give you an idea.
How many projects have you completed?
This is very hard to answer as most of our projects are ongoing. In bushcare management each site requires numerous visits over a few years to restore it to a good quality. Native plants also take time to establish and out-compete with the weed species. Weed plants have numerous seeds under the soil which (in the case of Salvation Jane) can be viable for 7 years so weed control can continue for a few years. I couldn't even count as we have been operating for 12 years now.
Tell us about what you do... what happens from the time someone contacts you to completion of a job?
We receive a phone call or email regarding a site that has x amount of dollars to spend on it or wants a certain job/weed tackled and the client wants to know the length of time it would take . We then meet up with the client to have a site visit where we discuss what is required and the best way to achieve this. We then send through an email quote and a purchase order is then sent through to us from the client.
We have a deadline (which is either based on the end of the financial year completion date, or the correct timing for weed control) and perform the field work to this (unless weather conditions are unfavourable). Once completed we send through the invoice and I always like to type up a report/update recommending any follow up work or any problems we encountered. Some clients like a logbook of hours and activities which they need to show for their records. This is the basic chain of events, but with some of our ongoing clients we may not do a site visit with them.
Do you each have particular skills/interests or areas you concentrate on in the business, or do you both do everything/ whatever needs doing?
We are both skilled in all aspects of the business. I tend to do all the bookwork and Management Plans. We both do the field work and bounce off ideas with each other in regards to the best method of control (in the case of weeds) and how to tackle a site. We both are good with flora and fauna identification but Mathew has more experience with coastal plants whereas I am more familiar with hills species. We have developed our bird identification skills together and Mathew is definitely better with insect identification. So overall we complement each other really well.
Do you have a favourite project that you enjoyed most or was significant in some way?
The majority of our projects are very satisfying, even more so when we have funding to continue coming back. To actually see an area restored to good quality bushland is very rewarding.
Our favourite conservation project is our own block where we can use all the skills and knowledge we gain from our business to create a wildlife sanctuary.
Do you have a website?
We don't have a website as most of our work is ongoing or word of mouth. We have been very fortunate that our volunteer work in previous years have shown what we are capable of and also we like to go a bit beyond what is expected of us, so word of mouth/recommendations has definitely been the best form of advertising for us.
How can potential customers contact you?
Our contact details are Mandy and Mathew Moar
Phone: 0404 623 105.
Anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Australian bushland is definitely decreasing, let's make sure that we have some left for future generations to enjoy!