Volunteers are welcome to join in the monthly ‘bitou bash’ working bee for South West Rocks Community Dune Care at South Smoky Beach on Sunday, May 27 between 9am and 1pm.
This glorious beach south of the lighthouse is a wonderful place, with crashing surf and a passing parade of whales over the winter months. Training is provided so you don’t need to know anything about native plants and weeds. Volunteers are rewarded with a delicious morning tea and BBQ lunch.
South West Rocks Community Dune Care has achieved award-winning success in restoring huge areas of publicly owned bushland over 15 kilometres of coastline from the mouth of the Macleay River to south of Smoky Cape lighthouse.
“With between 20-30 keen volunteers turning up each month, we remove lots of invasive weeds,” said SWR Community Dune Care secretary Alan Hill. “But we’re always happy to welcome new volunteers, and there’s no obligation to join the group permanently. We know people have busy lives, and some people only come once or twice a year and that’s fine.”
“We expanded into this area south of the 4WD drive beach access track at South Smoky in September 2015, thanks to a new grant from the NSW Environmental Trust,” said Alan. “Using a combination of professional contractors to tackle the big weed infestations –walls of shoulder-high bitou bush – and volunteers to follow up the new seedlings, we’re making great progress restoring the native plants on the dunes and littoral rainforest behind them.”
Last month South West Rocks Community Dune Care had 24 people volunteer 90 hours of work at Back Beach at the April working bee. They covered about 7,200 square metres of bushland, removing invasive weeds like bitou bush, senna, lantana, ochna, asparagus fern and Brazilian nightshade.
Late in May there will be 8 visiting volunteers donating their time to making the bushland around South West Rocks even more beautiful. They will work alongside locals in the mornings and spend the afternoons and evenings enjoying the Macleay Valley. Many volunteers enjoy it so much they return year after year. Several of the visiting volunteers will join in Sunday’s working bee.
South West Rocks Community Dune Care (as well as Arakoon Bush Care group) restores native bush on public land along 15 km of coastline including Back Beach, Gap Beach, Smoky Beach, Main Beach, Arakoon and Little Bay. It is mainly funded by 3-6 year grants from the NSW Environmental Trust, and supported by National Parks and Wildlife Service, Kempsey Shire Council and Local Land Services North Coast.
If you’d like to try your hand at Dune Care, even for an hour or two, please 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 8.45am on Sunday 27th May at the entrance to the 4WD beach access path at South Smoky Camp Ground, which is off Lighthouse Road (on the right about 3km from Arakoon Road).
If you prefer mid-week activity, Arakoon Bush Care welcomes volunteers each Wednesday morning from 9-11am, followed by morning tea. Contact National Parks and Wildlife Services Ranger Cath Ireland on 0459 846 833.
For more information please see Facebook, www.swrdc.com.au, or phone Alan Hill on 0419 012 640.