An innovative, searchable plant database is in production thanks to grant funding, donations and the work of Jan Juc Coast Action volunteers.
The online tool, which will allow people to identify indigenous species and environmental weeds growing in the Jan Juc area, will provide in-depth information about local flora.
Jan Juc Coast Action is working with a range of partners on the project, including the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and Boojum, a local online design business.
The project was recently awarded a GORCC Coastal Grant of $2500 and has also received support through a State Government Coastcare Grant.
Jan Juc Coast Action volunteer Graeme Stockton said the database will help to protect local flora and fauna by allowing coastal property owners to identify environmental weeds in their gardens and offering them indigenous alternatives.
“Environmental weeds are harmful plants that quickly spread to nearby habitats causing severe damage to the fragile coastal environment.
“We only have a thin strip of natural coastal habitat left and residential gardens are located very close to these fragile environments,” he said.
Jan Juc Coast Action hopes the database will be expanded beyond Jan Juc in the future to cover indigenous plants and weeds right along the GORCC managed coast.
“It would be ideal to see this tool expanded to become a comprehensive database of not only flora along GORCC-managed land but fauna as well,” said Mr. Stockton.
Boojum Lead Designer Roland Maxwell who has been working with the volunteers to create the website, has donated hundreds of hours to the project.
“The database will be searchable in a range of ways including flower colour, size, leaf shape and more,” he said.
The platform has been designed to be as flexible and user friendly as possible.
The website is flexible enough to support future growth to the database and potential extensions of the project such as applications for mobile,” said Mr Maxwell.
GORCC is supporting the project through both grant funding and in-kind assistance.
GORCC Community Liaison Manager Jane Lovejoy said the website is set to become an indispensable tool that can be used by volunteers, community members and educators alike.
“This tool will be a fabulous education resource for school groups that we engage through our education programs.
“Additionally, those who love the coast and enjoy walking along the Jan Juc Cliffs and admiring indigenous species will be able to accurately determine what plant they’re looking at,” she said.
More information on coastal volunteering and the GORCC Coastal Grants program is available at www.gorcc.com.au.
This article was published in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column