Schools tackle invasive plants in Anglesea

Local schools are teaming up with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and local environmental group ANGAIR to tackle the invasive Polygala species near Melba Parade, Point Roadknight.

ong-weeding-09112016-47smlStudents from Geelong High School and the Operation New Start Program will help remove thousands of polygala seedlings, which if left unattended can grow up to three meters high and spread rapidly.

The two groups are helping the Great Ocean Road Coast conduct ongoing conservation work in the Anglesea region, participating in a variety of hands on experiences.

Environmental Education Coordinator Peter Crowcroft shows students how to identify the invasive Polygala.

Great Ocean Road Coast Environment and Education Manager Katie Dolling said environmental education is the foundation of encouraging environmental leadership within the community.

“Engaging school groups is pivotal to help ensure future generations will continue to care for coastal environments.”

Each year the Great Ocean Road Coast invests large amounts of resources and funding towards the removal of woody weeds and other invasive species in Anglesea, with the support of ANGAIR, Green Army and community groups.

ong-weeding-09112016-25sml“Weeds such as Coastal Tea-tree and Polygala are a serious environmental threat, especially when they establish outside natural range.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a large variety of wildflowers and native vegetation in this area. The protection of these species is vital for habitat diversity for our native fauna.”

Additional financial support from the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority Coastal Tender program has further supported the conservation of native vegetation and habitat at the Point Roadknight dunes.

Great Ocean Road Coast Education Program Coordinator Pete Crowcroft said he has seen vast improvements in indigenous vegetation since the establishment of the environmental education program on the coast.

“Unfortunately there is no overnight solution to the ongoing presence of weeds, however through our environmental education programs and the support of community volunteers we have been able to see dramatic improvements over the years.”

The Great Ocean Road Coast works closely with local environmental groups like ANGAIR to support and facilitate conservation efforts along the coast.

“We protect the thing we love.  The Great Ocean Road coast has a fantastically diverse habitat, which is really thanks to the ongoing willingness and dedication of volunteer groups and the community to roll up their sleeves and help make improvements,” Mr Crowcroft said.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee offers several fun and engaging activities as part of their FREE environmental education program and have FREE holiday activities throughout January each year. Stay tuned for the activity calendar or register your school or group on our website today! 

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