National Volunteer Week (NVW) is an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution more than 6 million Australian volunteers make to communities across the nation.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee are grateful for the support environmental volunteer groups contribute to help preserve the natural coastline for future generations. This week we would like to showcase some of our dedicated volunteers and say thank-you for their ongoing contributions to the environment. Read more →
Local volunteers Ian and Roma Edwards are just two of 6 million volunteers being celebrated as part National Volunteer week this May.
The couple, who founded local volunteer group Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) in 1994, have been working to protect and restore the Jan Juc cliffs since they moved to the town in 1990.
The Edwards began by removing debris and rubbish along the local foreshore and their dedication was recognised by the Victorian government which awarded the couple a $30,000 grant to form the JJCA group and continue their conservation work.
The JJCA’s first major task was to remove the woody weed from the Jan Juc cliffs before revegetation works commenced.
The Edwards are pleased at the progress the JJCA group has made over the past 20 years.
“One of our biggest achievements has been seeing the return of many birds and native animals around the Jan Juc cliffs.
“The indigenous flowers have attracted the rare Rufous Bristlebird back to the area which is very encouraging,” Mr Edwards said.
The Edwards have loved learning about coastal conservation and enjoy sharing their skills and knowledge with others.
Mrs Edwards admits their passion for indigenous flora and fauna has become an obsession that has extended to her own garden.
“Our garden only has indigenous species because they are easy to look after and bring lots of birds and wildlife to the area.
“The results of our work is difficult to gauge because if it is done correctly then it should be impossible to tell that any work has been done at all,” Mrs Edwards said.
JJCA holds working first Sunday of each month and everyone is encouraged to help out – even if they only have an hour or so to spare.
“It is great to see more young people getting involved. They still have their original hips and plenty of energy which keeps our work going.
“It is possible to make a difference and even small actions can make a big impact,” Mr Edwards said.
This year, National Volunteer Week runs from 11th to 17th May. This year the theme of the week is ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’ – promoting the increased happiness of Australians who volunteer and are active in their community.
Have you ever thought about how you can help the environment? Check out our website to find your local volunteer group today.
Three environmental groups were winners of the Coastcare Award last month as part of the 2013 Corangamite Landcare Awards.
The Bellarine Catchment Network (BCN), Swan Bay Environmental Association (SBEA) and the Borough of Queenscliff (BoQ) all received the award in recognition of the hard work and dedication to conserving the environment.
The Corangamite Landcare Awards celebrate the contributions many individuals and organisations make to the environment and the Corangamite region.
The LandCare Awards booklet indicated over five years a strong, energetic partnership project flourished between the three groups inspiring many to become involved in the protection of the Narrows Dunes Coastal Moonah Woodland.
Since 2007, BCN, SBEA and BoQ have done on-ground works and facilitated community awareness, involvement and research.
Geoff McFarlane, a volunteer from the Bellarine Catchment Network, was also inducted into Corangamites Landcare Honour Roll.
A group of young environmental protectors are taking conservation action as part of their community connections class at Surf Coast Secondary College and are set to become guardians of the coast into the future.
The year 10 students have planted over 400 trees as part of various conservation projects which have included the removal of noxious weeds at Whites Beach, planting within Moonah Woodlands at Spring Creek and litter patrols near Jan Juc.
SCSC community connections teacher Shane Elevato said many of the students were now looking to study biology and outdoor education in 2013.
“The students are demonstrating not only a passion for the environment but an interest in conservation as a potential career path for the future.”
The students have been undertaking the work in partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) through the organisation’s Coast Guardians program.
“The program tied in with our community connections class, which gives students the opportunity to get out into the environment, demonstrate direct activism and put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice,” Mr Elevato said.
He said the year-long program taught students about the impact rubbish has on bird life and marine life and specifically looked at how removing plastic and bottle tops from the coast can help to save animal life.
“The program makes students more appreciative of how special our local environment really is. When they get out into the community and see the impact littering can have they learn to appreciate the environment and have a greater sense of ownership of the environment.”
GORCC conservation officer Georgie Beale said topics covered with the group over the last term included plant communities and dune ecology.
“Throughout the year the students have covered a range of theory topics including plant communities, dune ecology, sustainable fishing, environmental weeds, and marine debris. Planting and weeding is also an important part of the program and helps to ensure noxious weeds do not invade Indigenous plant species,” she said.
The Coast Guardians program also includes work and partnerships with environmental volunteer groups such as Torquay Coast Action, Friends of Queens Park and ANGAIR who have been working with students on various sites throughout the year.
A little known orchid is existing on the Jan Juc cliff top, its precarious survival an unexpected and happy surprise for local volunteer group Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA).
JJCA has been working to ensure the orchid’s survival. In 2010 the group pollinated the flowers and collected seed. The delicate operation consisted of members getting down on their hands and knees to pollinate the tiny orchid flowers with tooth-picks.
JJCA member Ian Edwards was one of the volunteers assisting in the project.
“We simulated the action of the tiny native bees or wasps that may be the natural pollinator and by late summer it was possible to collect some of the dust-like seed,” said Mr. Edwards.
Last year JJCA volunteers also found large numbers of Sun Orchids (Thelymitra spp.) and Onion Orchids (Microtis spp.) in the remnant native grassland of the Jan Juc clifftop, these also rely on the presence of specific soil fungi and specific insect pollinators.
JJCA Chairman Luke Hynes said like the Swamp Diuris, the Sun Orchids and Onion Orchids also rely on the presence of specific soil fungi and specific insect pollinators.
“We had seen few previously, but with the regular rainfall this year there is a profusion,” he said.
JJCA Committee member Graeme Stockton said the introduction of foreign pasture grasses, and invasion by a host of weeds and escaped garden plants have crowded out much of the original vegetation.
“We are amazed that so many indigenous plants have survived the past century and a half and they deserve all the assistance we can provide,” he said.
Springtime brings an abundance of wildflowers along the coast – what have you spotted this season?
To get involved with JJCA contact Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438