Newsletter #1

(November 2013)


Hi I’m André Olson the Director and Founder of Dragonfly Environmental and I am very excited to present to you our inaugural newsletter. If you are receiving it, like me and the team at Dragonfly you no doubt share a similar Vision to ours which is “Cared For and Restored Natural Areas For Now and The Future”. This is our mantra and what motivates us to get out of bed every day.This vision began back in the days when Bush Regeneration was called “Tree Planting” and I had a modest team of 2-3 people working at sites such as Caddies Creek in McGraths Hill, doing basic weeding and planting. It was a great way to learn and great to see the improvement that could be achieved…. Little by little as confidence and trust grew in our abilities and expertise we are now specialists in managing wetland systems, riparian zones, terrestrial and landscaped areas stretching across NSW and Victoria.

I have always had a passion for Wetland Systems with my background in Aquatic Science and this took us to restore and care for systems in Cronulla, Cumberland Plains, Hornsby and Warringah.

One of the highlights has been working on the Wetland System at Port Botany. This project is the biggest Saltmarsh Wetland project in the world so it is an honour to have been a part of that creation and today for Dragonfly to still be caring for this site is a great achievement. Over 500,000 native coastal plants were planted and now we are seeing the secondary effects with fauna thriving such as native birdlife and blue tongues coming into the area, this is when it starts to get really exciting..

We have now developed a long standing list of loyal clients who use either or both of our Environmental Reporting and Monitoring Services and our Bush Regeneration and Large Scale Planting Services:

  • Sydney Waterunnamed (13)
  • Sydney Ports
  • Lang O’Rourke
  • Pittwater Council
  • Warringah Council
  • Hills Shire Council
  • Hornsby Council
  • Blacktown City Council
  • Rockdale Council
  • Bankstown Council
  • Mirvac Homes
  • Australand
  • Murifield Golf Course
  • and many more…

We have a motivated, hard working and passionate team of 22 team members, who, as you are reading this are quite possibly “caring” for your sites.

So as we speed up to the end of the year we have some exciting new ventures just around the corner in 2014. We look forward to sharing those with you very soon…

All the best and we hope you enjoy our first newsletter!

André Olson – Director & Aquatic Ecologist
Dragonfly Environmental

Ian had his team working hard at Ventura Rd (400m2 site) in the Hills Council Area. Works were started by excavating the site, digging a 1.5 – 2 m trench along a creek line adjacent to rock work. This was followed up by installing GeoWebbing into a trench and back filling it with soil. Once it was complete the team planted approx. 2,000 plants from an assortment of Hills provenant stock. With a little “care” this site is starting to improve and now we are continuing with irrigation and maintenance hand weeding.

We look forward to watching this site evolve…check out the difference between the before and after shots above and below!

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– by Willow Aliento
International cargo vessels are not the only world travellers who visit Port Botany’s new Terminal 3, so do migratory shore birds, and it has been an important aspect of the Sydney Ports environmental strategy to enhance and rehabilitate their habitat as part of the Container Terminal Expansion project. Over the past seven years, Dragonfly Environmental have undertaken the complex and lengthy task of surveying the Saltmarsh of Penrhyn Estuary, planning and undertaking rehabilitation and replanting of degraded Saltmarsh and coastal bush areas, and creating a new area of salt marsh and a new migratory bird nesting island.

In total the Dragonfly team have planted 280,000 Saltmarsh plants, all propagated from seed and stem cuttings gathered in the area. This is the largest Saltmarsh planting project in the world and comprises the creation of 2ha of new Saltmarsh; as well as protection and monitoring of three existing areas adjacent to Terminal works, and the translocation of over 3000m2 of Saltmarsh from a works area to a new location.

In addition, Dragonfly designed and managed the construction of a new island for migratory birds to roost on, and undertook substantial rehabilitation of bushland including the removal of over 4 ha of Bitou Bush, Fox control measures, and the planting of over 500,000 native coastal forest and dune plants including Coastal Tea-tree, Banksia and an understory of Spinifex Grass and Native Spinach (Warrigal Greens). Ongoing monitoring of the bushland has revealed native fauna including blue tongue lizards and blue wrens are now flourishing in the area.

“Timing was a key challenge. There were various stages which had to be completed while the migratory birds were away, including the construction of the island and island stabilisation works,” said Dragonfly Environmental Director and Ecologist, Mia Dalby-Ball. (Pictured onsite below)

“Developing the substrate and getting the growing medium right for the new Saltmarsh required us to factor in inundation, and get the right mix of organic material and sand. We did trials of different substrate types and organic mixes to see how they performed – there was a lot of small scale research involved with this project, and many stages of weekly monitoring. We are very much working collaboratively with the ecosystem to see how it achieves its balance.

“Dragonfly Environmental are very happy to be involved with the continuing care of the Penrhyn Estuary’s environment, and will be undertaking ongoing bush regeneration of the foreshores and Saltmarsh areas. Port Botany is now a habitat haven, and the people who are managing it (Sydney Ports) appreciate it as an ecological area.”

Dragonfly’s capabilities as ecological restoration specialists are extensive, and include environmental surveys, research, reporting, agency liaison, design, planning, plant propagation, rehabilitation, erosion management, dune and bank stabilisation, weed control and plantings. Their staff includes qualified ecologists, environmental scientists, site supervisors, qualified bush regenerators and planters, who undertake projects across both the public and private sector.

The Penrhyn project was recognised with an Engineers Australia Award for Excellence in 2011. Other successful projects have included the role of Saltmarsh Ecologist for the Victorian Desalination.

To see what else Dragonfly has been doing at Port Botany click on: Penrhyn Estuary Road to Recovery.

Contact Andre Olson if you would like to know how Dragonfly can help you on Saltmarsh projects:

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In a time when most companies are back staff and costs, thanks to our clients and their love for helping the environment, we are fortunate to welcome a number of new Dragonfly staff on board!

1) Cameron Radford – Senior Ecologist – Cameron is a Senior Ecologist and our fauna expert. With a Masters in Wildlife Health and Population Management and 9+ years experience across NGOs, environmental consultancies, government and academic sectors, Cameron brings his extensive knowledge and expertise to Dragonfly. Not to mention his positive and friendly nature and passion for Australian wildlife no matter how big or small…

2) Liz Graham – Ecological Restorations Manager – Liz comes to us after working abroad in Guatamala. With her Bush Regeneration qualifications and forensic science background, Liz is bringing her keen eye for detail and her passion for the environment to Dragonfly. Liz makes sure that Bush Regeneration projects stay on budget, that our onsite teams have the recourses they need and that they and our clients are happy!

3) Robert McDougall – Ecologist and Bush Regenerator – Robert is a very talented individual with an extensive Environmental Science and Bush Regeneration qualifications and add 15 years working for the likes of Sydney City Council, Total Earth Care, NSW Parks and currently completing his Cert III in Horticulture. There is nothing that Robert can’t do! It is just a matter of deciding which part of the business wants him most.

4) Polly Simmonds – Botanist & GIS Mapping Expert – When you need to know the name of a specific plant talk to Polly. Polly is our resident flora expert and the one we go to when we need flora surveys done and all types of mapping completed. With these great skills and knowledge it makes sense that she is the perfect person for quoting on works as well.

5) Julian Reyes – Site Supervisor – Julian has recently returned from a stint living and working in New Zealand to head up to our Hills and Hornsby contracts. Julian has an Advanced Science degree in Ecology and Cert III in Lands and Conservation Management Bush Regeneration background, coupled with a love for the great outdoors and caring for his sites. Julian injects a nice dose of enthusiasm and positivity into everything that he does and with recent feedback from Hills Shire Council we know he is on the right track!

Dragonfly is now caring for Pittwater, Warringah, Hornsby, Blacktown, Hills Shire and Rockdale Councils but we are keen to venture further and to “Care for and Restore” more local government areas all across Sydney and beyond!

Recently it has been an honour to have been admitted onto the much sort after Local Government Procurement Site – Vendor Panel
 and to have been selected as a Preferred Contractor of Choice for Blacktown Council.

October Council Quotes Won:

  • William Harvey Site -Hills Shire Council
  • Richard Webb Site – Hills Shire Council
  • Warringah Dunes – Warringah Council
  • Bird Surveying – Bankstown Council
  • Fauna Surveying Bankstown Council

Please contact Polly Simmonds at if you have local government work you would like Dragonfly to quote on.

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A number of our contracts lie in the Warringah Council and Pittwater Council regions, and as beautiful as these sites are they are also Tick Havens! Dragonfly Environmental is open to learning about the latest research and studies, products and education that can assist us in protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of our team.

Recently we have learnt from local Northern Beaches Scientist and Herbalist Rob Sanitch BHSC the effectiveness of Ledum Ointment in reducing redness, itchiness and inflammation. Rob has 25 years experience as a renowned herbalist and lectures internationally and at New England University. He is passionate about tick prevention and has presented in the US and Canada on ticks and links with Lime Disease. He is keen to help provide tick combat solutions for us!

Lemon Eucalyptus Extract (Citriodiol) has been shown to be an effective tick deterrent. 111 people participated in a clinical study in Sweden. The studies showed that the lemon extract was 50%+ more effective than using no product in repelling ticks. Dragonfly will be undertaking a study to determine the effectiveness of Aeroguard Vs a Natural Lemon Eucalyptus Spray in repelling ticks. Watch this space to see what the results are!!

For further information on the study conducted in Sweden click here: A Prospective Cross-Over Field Trial Shows Protection of lemon Eucalyptus Extract Against Tick Bites. 

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I have witnessed “before and after” snap shots of vegetation areas that Dragonfly have worked on and the results after work has been carried are very noticeable, plants are healthy looking and vegetation areas look vibrant and well maintained. The bush regenerating team spend time in ensuring that the work is done to a high standard. No detail overlooked or task too small. Highly recommended.

Ian Henderson. Landscape and Ecological Maintenance Manager Sydney Ports Corporation

Dragonfly was out and about studying and surveying 100’s of water birds in the Bankstown area. The team were analysing bird diversity and abundance prior to undertaking wetland remediation works. Dragonfly were enthused to be playing a key role in the design of the remediation works working alongside Aquatica and Sprout.

Off the back of this Dragonfly has recently been awarded Fauna surveying works in the Bankstown area. Thank you Bankstown Council!

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With vast experience in ecosystem restoration and environmental monitoring and reporting as well as an expanding skill set brought on by new expert staff, Dragonfly is rapidly expanding across the geographic, environmental and business domains of Sydney and beyond! We would love to hear from you to discuss your environmental needs and how we can achieve these for you.

Please contact Sally on for enquiries.


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