SOUTH West Rocks Community Dune Care's final working bee for 2020 will be shorter on Sunday, November 22, as the weather is on the warm.
Existing volunteers are invited to join in from 8.30-10.30am at Back Creek, followed by a BYO morning tea and a brief informal AGM.
"Volunteers will be working in small, socially distanced groups in shady bushland to keep cool," president Ian Burnett said.
SWR Community Dune Care holds volunteer working bees only in the cooler months from April to November, while the group's work continues with professional bush regeneration contractors on public bushland throughout the year.
In the past year the volunteer group secured a new three-year grant from the NSW Environmental Trust, engaging contractors to tackle serious environmental weeds in two locations. Beside Brighton Park, South West Rocks, contractor Mid Coast Land Management has been successfully treating weeds choking the replanted bushland along Saltwater Creek.
And in the Spencers Creek/Jerseyville area, the emergence of a thorny giant asparagus fern called Sicklethorn in the National Park, and on council and private land, has been treated by contractors Bush and Blossoms and Maratus Ecological Services.
"It's a nasty weed and it will take us another couple of years to get on top of this infestation," SWR Community Dune Care secretary Alan Hill said.
"COVID-19 restrictions have slowed down our direct approaches to private landholders, but we encourage everyone to eradicate it on their land as it spreads rapidly."
The volunteer group has two other ongoing grants from the NSW Environmental Trust - at Back Creek and South Smoky Beach - that they are managing as well.
"We are delighted with our progress restoring native bushland with both these projects," president Ian said.
"We are particularly proud of our volunteers who have contributed some 3500 hours in the past year. Even with COVID-19 we've had 20-30 people at our working bees working in small COVID-safe groups."
South West Rocks Community Dune Care works on public land across 16 kilometres of coast from the mouth of the Macleay River round to Smoky Beach, south of Smoky Cape lighthouse.
Using a combination of local volunteers, visiting bush regeneration groups and professional contractors, SWRCDC is successfully reducing invasive weeds and giving the native plants space to thrive again.
The award-winning volunteer group is mainly supported by the NSW Environmental Trust, plus NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Kempsey Shire Council and Local Land Services North Coast.
At Back Creek on November 22, volunteers will tackle weeds like ochna, senna, and bitou bush. As this will be the final working bee for South West Rocks Community Dune Care before the summer break, the group's brief and informal annual general meeting will be held after morning tea, for those who want to stay.
"Given the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, unfortunately we can only invite our experienced volunteers as it's difficult to train new volunteers at 1.5m social distance," secretary Alan said. "And we can't offer our usual home-baked morning tea and barbecue lunch to share.
"Instead volunteers will need to bring their own morning tea and we'll stop work at 10.30am.
"Next year we hope to get back to welcoming new volunteers."
On November 22, volunteers are asked to meet at the footbridge at Back Creek off Buchanan Dr, South West Rocks, at 8.30am sharp.
For more information see Facebook SWRcommunitydunecare, or phone Alan on 0419 012-640.