Weed bashing starts anew

Now the weather has cooled down, the enthusiastic volunteers from South West Rocks Community Dune Care will be resuming their effective assault on weeds in public bushland over the winter months.

The first working bee for 2017 will be at Back Beach on Sunday morning, April 30.

The first working bee for 2017 will be at Back Beach on Sunday morning, April 30.

The group likes to encourage first-timers, visitors and locals who may want to try their hand at bush care, with no obligation to join the group permanently. You don’t need any experience, as training is provided. Volunteers are invited to join in from 9am-1pm. There’s a delicious morning tea at 11am and a BBQ lunch at 1pm. 

“We had great success over the past 12 months,” SWR Community Dune Care President Ian Burnett said.

“Between our local volunteers (including Arakoon Bush Care) and our visiting volunteers, we managed to notch up over 3,000 hours eradicating weeds. Together with our professional bush regeneration contractors, we’ve made an enormous impact on restoring native bush on public land at Back Beach, Gap Beach, Smoky Beach, Main Beach, Arakoon and Little Bay.” 

BEFORE: A monoculture of bitou bush.

BEFORE: A monoculture of bitou bush.

AFTER: South West Rocks Community Dune Care’s people power has restored vast areas of coastline.

AFTER: South West Rocks Community Dune Care’s people power has restored vast areas of coastline.

“Our volunteer numbers are growing, with our typical monthly working bee including between 20-30 people,” said Ian. “And the dreaded weed bitou bush is becoming hard to find across many of our sites. We’re getting closer to our goal set in 1992 ‘to remove bitou bush from the Lighthouse to the River mouth’. Many people thought it impossible back then, but it shows what persistence can do.” 

“We find that outcomes are hugely improved by working together with all government agencies,” said Ian. “It means we can follow up weeding regularly and ensure we’ve covered entire areas of public land, no matter which government agency is responsible for it.” 

This Sunday 30th April volunteers will be tackling weeds like senna (with its bright yellow flowers it’s easy to spot at the moment), lantana and bitou bush seedlings at Back Beach. Volunteers need to wear enclosed shoes or boots (not sandals), long pants, long sleeves, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat and take water. Gloves, tools and training will be provided. 

Volunteers are asked to meet at the footbridge at Back Creek off Buchanan Drive at 9am. It’s opposite Tasty Treats café. If you’re late you should phone Jane on 0417 969 723.

If you prefer mid-week activity, Arakoon Bush Care welcomes volunteers each Wednesday morning.

Contact NPWS ranger Cath Ireland on 0459 846 833. 

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