Lorne volunteer groups are combining to tackle invasive weeds as part of an annual effort to conserve local parklands, while encouraging others to take small, environmentally-aware actions every day.
Friends of Queens Park (FoQP) and LorneCare will conduct three intensive working bees between August and October, joining together to overcome weeds in popular local destination Queens Park.
FoQP Chairman John Wilson said that while weed removal was a priority and essential to protecting and enhancing biodiversity, the group was also focussing on educating others.
“Removal of garden escapees such as boneseed, cape broom and sweet pittosporum is an important part of creating a sustainable coastal environment, however weed removal is not the only focus for environmental volunteers.
“FoQP is trying to let people know that conservation extends beyond weed control, and that the real meaning of conservation is about making environmentally conscious choices in our everyday living,” he said.
LorneCare Co-founder and Co-convener Alain Purnell said the personal satisfaction of being involved in local conservation is one of the most rewarding elements of volunteering.
“Working along the coast and in Queens Park, we continually see the progress our groups have made,” he said.
While environmental volunteering often involves hands-on conservation, Mr Purnell said it was the social aspect and sense of satisfaction that motivated volunteers to continue their involvement.
“These types of groups are a great way to meet new people in the community, whether they are local residents or seasonal holidaymakers.
“Volunteering is a great excuse to catch up with friends and have a barbeque to celebrate our achievements for the day,” Mr Purnell said.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) works alongside and supports volunteers in their environmental efforts.
GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale praised the ongoing dedication of volunteer groups operating along the Great Ocean Road.
“Our local volunteers do a fantastic job along our coast and their ongoing support of our conservation efforts is unparalleled.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to help protect our precious coast.
Simple actions such as staying on designated walking tracks, removing environmental weeds from your garden and avoiding fenced off areas make a real difference in the preservation of fragile ecosystems,” she said.
Queens Park is a popular recreational destination consisting of over 40ha of parkland and is home to the recently rebuilt Teddy’s Lookout.
FoQP and LorneCare’s next working bee will be held at Teddy’s Lookout at 10am Sunday 18th October and new volunteers are always welcome. For more information about FoQP, LorneCare, or your local community group visit our website.
Conservation is more than just weed eradication. Share what conservation means to you in the comments below.
GORCC works alongside and supports many volunteer groups who operate on coastal Crown land reserves from Torquay through to Lorne. These groups spend thousands of hours each year undertaking vital conservation work and raising awareness in thecommunity. Friends of Queens Park Lorne are one volunteer group working towards creating an environmentally friendly future.
This is an excerpt from the Friends of Queens Park Spring 2015 newsletter:
Sweet Pittosporum, bone seed and cape broom have all met their downfall over the past few months, thanks to the work of GORCC and the Green Army. Also there’s the social connectivity of the volunteer groups Friends of Queens Park and LorneCare working together in Queens Park with three working bees planned during the spring.
An example of this work can be seen on the fire track leading up to Teddy’s Lookout from the Queens Park caravan park. It’s a revealing dividing line showing good weed control management on the uphill side, neglect on the downside. Take a look on your next walk down this track.
We trace the growth cycle of Sweet Pittosporum. It begins with the sweet smelling flowers. The resulting seeds are spread by birds and emerge as small plants growing prolifically to form a dense canopy of foliage so dense that the sun can’t shine through. There’s semi darkness underneath an old stand, soil nutrients change, indigenous plants die and biodiversity is destroyed. It’s an invasive weed which can spread very rapidly.
To counteract this invasion is it essential to limit the spread by removing foliage and some entire plants.
Control of the Sweet Pittosporum requires drastic action. Whole plants often have to be removed by cutting the trunk at its base and the stumps painted with systemic herbicide immediately after cutting to ensure that the plant is killed.
After the Sweet Pittosporum has been cleared away the land is left bare for the regeneration of indigenous species.
Interested in getting involved in the outdoors? Check out our website to find out how!
GORCC’s 2015-2020 Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan (NVWAP) has been released.
GORCC engaged locally based consultant Beacon Ecological to lead the revision of original 2009 NVWAP. The updated 2015 NVWAP will guide GORCC’s on-ground conservation work over the next five years and aims to protect and enhance ecological values along the 37km of coast under GORCC’s care.
GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald said the updated plan sees a continued focus on the eradication of weeds which are identified as the key threat to coastal biodiversity.
“Weeds have been identified as the number one threat to GORCC coast management.
“It is a widespread issue which is difficult to combat without a sustained and coordinated effort,” she said.
The revision and development process included consultation with local environmental volunteer groups, land managers and other key stakeholders.
Ms. MacDonald said GORCC and environmental volunteers had made significant progress in combatting invasive weeds along the Surf Coast, but that weed eradication remained a big challenge.
“Invasive species can have devastating impacts on the biodiversity on GORCC managed land, which is why it is important to develop and implement an effective action plan for future management,” she said.
To view the plan, click here. Interested in learning more about environmental volunteering on the coast? Click here to find out how.
How do you plan to overcome the weeds in your backyard? Let us know in the comments below!
The Surf Coast Nature Search (SCNS), an interactive, online search tool for identifying weeds and indigenous plants in our region, has been launched.
The online resource, which has been developed by local volunteer group Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA), is a detailed database of hundreds of indigenous plants and environmental weeds on the coast between Point Impossible and Bells Beach.
Users are able to search based on a range of criteria including plant type, flower colour, size, leaf shape and more.
JJCA Chairperson Luke Hynes said the website is a great local asset for locals that will help support an increase in environmental awareness.
“The SCNS database has been a dream of the JJCA group for many years,” he said.
To date, JJCA volunteers have added 181 plant species to database, which is expected to grow as species are added and the tool extends to include fauna and cover more areas of the Surf Coast.
“It’s exciting to think that people with a limited understanding of botanical terms will now be able to identify local plants, pinpoint environmental weeds in their backyard and learn more about the environmental impacts and benefits of particular species,” said Mr. Hynes.
JJCA group volunteer Graeme Stockton said one of the aims of the database is to help coastal property owners create environmentally friendly gardens.
“The SCNS is a simple tool for identifying environmental weeds in your garden and selecting indigenous alternatives,” he said.
Weeds, which easily escape from local gardens, have been identified as the number one threat to the natural environment on the coast due to their ability to out compete indigenous species.
“Indigenous plants are vital, providing vital habitat for local birds and animals,” said Mr. Stockton.
Mr Hynes said the group had worked hard with locally based web design experts Boojum to ensure the platform was as interactive and easy to navigate as possible.
“Our biggest challenge was trying to incorporate complex plant characteristics in a searchable format that is flexible and user friendly,” he said.
Despite the cold weather, winter is the perfect time to combat the spread of environmental weeds and revegetate residential gardens with beautiful (native-animal-attracting) indigenous species.
Environmental weeds are plants that displace native vegetation which impacts the vitality of indigenous flora and fauna. Surprisingly, many environmental weeds are popular garden plants that have grown to become major threats to the biodiversity in the natural environment.
Common garden plants such as Agapanthus, Arum Lily, Gazania and Freesia are all environmental weeds that are detrimental to native flora and fauna.