Learning, snakes, food, news, forest experience, leaky weirs & more

Network News, Monday 19 April 2021

Upcoming Events

Open Day at Narara Ecovillage Sat, April 24,10am-1pm – by registration


Are you interested in Narara Ecovillage and perhaps already considering living here?

The Open Day shows what Narara Ecovillage is all about, and shows how we are putting our ideas around ecological, social and economic potential into action, including:

  • shared food growing, natural retreats and Permaculture spaces
  • shared community and work places
  • examples of highly efficient low-carbon homes now and in the next stage
  • And more based on what you’re interested in on the day.

Last tour will leave 12pm. This tour is for everyone, but will have a family focus. Families may wish to participate in kids’ activities or enjoy our adventure playground before their tour.

  • Bookings essential: here
  • Free for NELN members


Collective Living at Narara (CLaN)

-Tanya Mottl

A new group has formed at Narara Ecovillage. ClaN is a dedicated to exploring, promoting and putting collaborative living ‘on the ground’ at Narara Ecovillage.

Presentations and informal face to face get-togethers will be part of the NEV Open Days on the following dates: April Sat 24, May Sat 29, June Sat 26, July Sun 25, Aug Sun 29, Sept Sun 26, Oct Sat 30, Nov Sun 28

Face to face full weekend get-togethers will also take place around the Open Days at NEV in coming months. 

CLaN will also be holding informal community-building/Speed CLaN’ing zooms on the following Mondays: May 10, June 14, July 12, Aug 9, Sep 13, Oct 11, Nov 15, Dec 13 Please join us 5.30-7pm, as you can then meet others. 

Keep an eye out for facebook events.

Contact: tmottl2012@gmail.com


Also this may interest you: Co-Housing Australia  event and Q&A on Monday 19th April 7.30pm – https://www.facebook.com/events/498056724550636


Forest Aliveness Experience  Sat, May 15, all day


The superbly camouflaged Bassian Thrush (Liz Noble)

This is a new event on the Narara Ecovillage calendar. On May 15th let your senses come alive on the Central Coast at Narara Ecovillage for a magical day of discovery with 4 local experts guiding you into the realms of Birds, Yoga, Rainforest and Nature Photography in forests.

This gentle day is suitable for all ages and will help you rest into a deeper appreciation of the wonders of nature and learn to use your senses in new ways to explore this pocket of paradise so close to Sydney. You’ll enjoy it even with no prior experience of bird-watching or yoga.

You will delight in an early or afternoon bird tour, morning and afternoon tea, gentle yoga to take you deep into your senses then relax in the afternoon and enjoy two fascinating illustrated and interactive talks. You can choose either a morning or evening bird tour as group size is strictly limited for comfort.

Your guides for the day are:

  • Richard Cassels: his passion for the life, habits and quirks of birds lets him share fascinating insights and stories about our local wildlife and their place in the world. 
  • Mark O’Brien: blends 28 years of yoga & meditation with his love of nature to guide you deep into your senses to find clarity to experience Nature in a new way.
  • Peter Fisher: Author and historian Peter shares lively tales of the characters and rain forests of the Central Coast, following publication last year of his profusely illustrated book “Tales from the Rainforest”.
  • Elizabeth Noble: talented Nature Photographer Liz shows a selection of her stunning photographs of birds, reptiles and fungi from local forests and tells the fascinating stories that go with them. 

More details and bookings here

  • Price: $135 (incl morning/afternoon tea)
  • $10 discount for our lovely NELN members (details below). 

Channel-billed Cuckoo disputing with a Tawny Frogmouth (Liz Noble)


Liz Noble, Peter Fisher, Mark O’Brien & Richard Cassels


Join the Network for discount tickets

Discount tickets are available for NELN members. The Narara Eco Living Network is a not for profit educational and outreach body established by members of Narara Ecovillage Co-operative to promote more sustainable living in all its forms. All are welcome to join. Join the Network here


Village news

Snakes – Village pythons


-Guy Dutson

For good evolutionary reasons, humans are genetically wired to avoid snakes. Fortunately, snakes are also wired to avoid us!!

In the last two months at Narara Ecovillage, Diamond Pythons have been found in several gardens, compost bins, sheds and decks. Quite a shock to suddenly stumble on a 2 metre long snake!

Catching our breath, an increasing number of us are welcoming these docile giants – they are not venomous and they are quite beautiful. Moreover, they have an important role here as rat catchers, meaning that the village can manage without cats or rat poison.

How many pythons do we have at NEV? Our village pythons are perhaps becoming habituated to people, and happier to be seen and admired and photographed. 

Snakes can be more visible in autumn as they bask in the cooling sun to maintain their temperature – this is our last opportunity to photograph some more individuals before they disappear into a hole for the winter.


Closely examining the scale patterns in five photos shows four different individuals.


Learning to grow food at Narara Ecovillage … & an invitation


-Marg Parris

One of the structures we gratefully inherited from the NSW government when we bought this beautiful land at Narara is what we call the Triplespan Greenhouse. In its day it was an impressive greenhouse – fitted out with the latest and greatest technology, including dripper lines, propagating tables and a complete drainage system, and covered in plastic. It was an obvious place to start growing food on site – but it was in a pretty terrible state when we came along!

We gathered a group of horticulturalists, permaculturalists, landscapers, botanists and growers (we have a lot of knowledge among our members!) and put together a vision for the space. For the last 3 years, the gardeners and chicken carers have been slowly gathering knowledge and experience in building up and managing soil, producing eggs and growing some produce. 

From a permaculture perspective, this project is a huge win for the Ecovillage. We are regenerating the soil with mushroom compost, chook and quail manure; reusing a dilapidated asset; supporting social connection and fun with weekly working bees followed by sharing food together; welcoming visitors and offering them a chance to experience our community; engaging the next generation in growing food and growing spray-free, fresh, local veggies and free range eggs!

It’s wonderful work for the helpers, and all the proceeds go directly back into improving our infrastructure, with no cost to the Ecovillage. We are proudly working our way to our dream of a world class food growing and demonstration venture.

We’ve started small – since we’re all volunteers – but it feels so good to have access to such healthy food for our bodies, as well as another opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint for the food miles of what we produce and eat. 

One day we hope to have an official farmer on board who can help us scale up to supply food for our residents, friends and our local district.

If you know of such a farmer, please let us know, and if all this excites you too, come and join in the fun on Tuesday afternoons at the Triplespan



Learning about the bush


In early April, local mentors Will and Caitlin led village kids on a bush adventure in Strickland Forest. We learnt about the ethics of foraging as we gathered leaves for bush tea, made fire by friction and made cordage from leaves from the gymea lily. We finished the day with delicious bush tea and a closing circle. We look forward to welcoming Will and Caitlin back again soon.  



Alternative easter egg hunt


-Lyndall Parris

Like most people, many Nararians took the opportunity to go places over the Easter break, but there were a number of us that stayed put in Narara Ecovillage and so on Easter Sunday morning, Mel and Rob organised an Easter Hunt for the remaining children.

Because we like to model healthy alternatives when we can, we decided not to do our communal hunt with chocolate.

We put on creative thinking caps and came up with hiding hand painted blown out eggs – from our chooks on site; egg shaped cardboard shapes with wonderful, inspiring sayings on them; foil-wrappe, and egg shaped goodies: a date stuffed with a cashew, a prune stuffed with an almond, a small kiwi fruit berry, a miniature cucumber (Did you know that you can scrunch ball up alfoil and recycle, like an aluminium can?).

There was the usual energy of excitement and discovery, and we saw many examples of older kids helping younger ones, which is often prevalent here in the ecovillage.

I saw one of the boys open his find – a tiny cucumber and was waiting for his response. A cucumber! he said, and popped it into his mouth, chomping vigorously. He was also opening a second little alfoil wrap … another baby cucumber: Oh no, this is not going to go well, I thought. To which Theo said: Ha, another cucumber!, and happily tossed it into his mouth, and continued searching.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter break too dear friends.

  • Come and see us soon. We have monthly Open Days happening again – please check our website, and our Coffee Cart is open Tuesday to Saturdays.


Do a thing a day

Check out Ethical.net


Ethical.net is a not-for-profit project building a collaborative, online directory of ethical companies of all kinds.

The site includes this list that might interest readers: ethical tech products, from search engines and smartphones to streaming services and social media. See the list


Watch: 3-minute video about leaky weirs & landscape rehydration


A still from the video

How do floodplains and their associated wetlands function, and why are they such an important part of ecosystems? This is an informative 3-minute video about rehydrating degraded landscapes, produced by the fabulous Mulloon Institute.


From our Network

Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) updates

-Tanya Mottl

Ecovillage Summit

GEN has just hosted its Online Summit, which was bursting with ideas and inspiration from the experiences of other ecovillagers in the areas of ecology, economy, social, culture and whole systems thinking

Some of the talks are still available here – https://summit2021.ecovillage.org/, and the entire summit will shortly be available to view.


Ecovillage Design Education

If you’ve become curious about the Map of Regeneration and ecovillage design cards developed to align to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this upcoming Ecovillage Design Education program might touch your desire to learn more about ways to behave regeneratively – see https://learn.ecovillage.org/course/ecovillage-design-education/


Introduction to Ecovillages

After a presentation by Trudy Juriansz and Shane Syvanspring at the Australian Permaculture Convergence in Brisbane last week, an Introduction to Ecovillages 1 day program will be run on May 29th in Brisbane. 

Email enquiry@genaustralia.org.au for more details.


Renew Fest

GEN AU will also be presenting and have a stand at Renew Fest in Mullumbimby 7-9 May

Please visit! https://www.renewfest.org.au/


Building a Wellbeing Economy: Foundations for Learning and Practice, 28 April to 16 June


New Economy Network (NENA)

NENA’s annual professional development/ community education course, hosted in partnership with The Yunus Centre, Griffith University.

What to expect:

  • An introduction to wellbeing and new economies concepts, principles and practices
  • Practice-based learning that you can apply to your own context
  • Collaboration and reflection with a cohort of passionate people committed to building a new economy

Topics covered:

  • 28 April 2021: Different schools of economic thought – neoclassical economics, steady state/ecological economics, Indigenous economics, doughnut economics
  • 5 May 2021: Social justice, decolonisation, equity and law
  • 12 May 2021: Ownership, property, commoning and cooperatives
  • 19 May 2021: Energy – fossil fuels, renewable, demand and efficiency
  • 26 May 2021: Housing – affordability, availability, sustainability
  • 2 June 2021: Food – systems change and sustainable agriculture
  • 9 June 2021: Work – including universal basic income & workers cooperatives
  • 16 June 2021: Creating systems change + conclusions and course wrap up

Visit our webpage for all the details