Join the first 'Bitou Bash' for 2019 at beautiful South Smoky Beach with South West Rocks Community Dune Care.
With the cooler Autumn weather, the enthusiastic volunteers from South West Rocks Community Dune Care are set to resume their successful restoration of native bush on public land.
Volunteers are welcome to join the first monthly 'bitou bash' working bee for 2019 at South Smoky Beach (in Hat Head National Park) on Sunday, April 28 between 9am and 1pm. A delicious morning tea and barbecue and salad lunch are provided.
"We let everyone rest over the Summer months," said SWR Community Dune Care President Ian Burnett.
"It's far too hot for volunteers then. Though we do continue our battle against environmental weeds over Summer, engaging local contractors to tackle heavily infested areas so our volunteers can follow up from April to November".
This stretch of beach south of the lighthouse is utterly spectacular, with crashing surf and amazing birdlife. And if you're lucky you may even spot an early migrating whale! You don't need to know anything about native plants and weeds, as training is provided. Volunteers will be walking through the dunes, plucking any bitou bush seedlings and any other weeds which may have sprouted over the summer months.
'These days we generally get about 25-30 volunteers turning up each month, so we remove lots of invasive weeds,' said Ian Burnett. 'We're always happy to welcome new volunteers, and there's no obligation to join the group permanently. We understand people have busy lives, and some people only come once or twice a year. We're happy with that - even an hour or two can make a big difference.'
With major funding from the NSW Environmental Trust, and a tremendous turnout of keen volunteers, 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 over the past 25 years.
The community group is also supported by National Parks and Wildlife Service, Kempsey Shire Council and Local Land Services North Coast.
"We expanded into this area south of the 4WD drive beach access track at South Smoky in September 2015 when it had walls of shoulder-high bitou bush smothering the native plants," Ian said.
"Now we've made huge progress, with the native plants thriving again on the dunes and littoral rainforest behind them.'
If you'd like to try your hand at Dune Care, 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 April 28 at the entrance to the 4WD beach access path at South Smoky Camp Ground, which is off Lighthouse Road (on the right about 3 kilometres from Arakoon Road).
For more information please see Facebook SWRcommunitydunecare, www.swrdc.com.au, or phone Alan Hill on 0419 012 640.