NOT only State Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, get to launch the Bangalee Bushcare group’s new website on Friday but he also got to see the great work the volunteers are doing.
Mr Ward said the website www.bangaleebushcare.org was impressive and informative.
“As we see generations change, we need to engage in different ways and use new technology,” said Mr Ward.
“It’s my great pleasure to launch this brand new website.”
Shoalhaven City Council’s Bushcare Coordinator, Peter Swanson, along with representatives from Shoalhaven Riverwatch and Shoalhaven Landcare also attended the launch, to show their respective organisations’ support for the work conducted by Bangalee Bushcare.
Mr Ward expressed great admiration for the work carried out by local environmental restoration organisations.
“I don’t see the money we invest in Landcare, Bushcare, Dunecare and Riverwatch as a cost to government - it’s an investment in our community,” Mr Ward said.
The launch of the group’s website is the next step in making bush regeneration knowledge available to the community,Leonard White
For nearly 15 years, Bangalee Bushcare has been working in Bangalee Reserve which is located approximately eight kilometres upstream of the Nowra Bridge.
Operating under Shoalhaven City Council’s Bushcare Program, this group of dedicated volunteers has restored close to 17 hectares of bushland.
Since being elected in October 2017 as the group’s volunteer coordinator, Leonard White, has enthusiastically embarked on a public awareness campaign to raise the profile of both the group and the broader Bushcare Program.
“The launch of the group’s website is the next step in making bush regeneration knowledge available to the community,” said Mr White.
The group has gained significant experience through the restoration of different habitats, ranging from well-forested ridges to the severely degraded flats along the Shoalhaven River.
“We hope that the website will become a valuable resource for other local groups involved with bush regeneration,” Mr White said.
Mr Ward, after meeting the group’s members and launching the website, planted a native tree in the most recently cleared area to mark the occasion.
I don’t see the money we invest in Landcare, Bushcare, Dunecare and Riverwatch as a cost to government - it’s an investment in our community,Gareth Ward
Mr White then conducted a tour of the areas already regenerated as well as the ones in progress.
He explained the group’s methods of weed clearing, regrowth control and revegetation.
“Most of our work is focused on removing the lantana and other weeds from the river flat area of the reserve and replacing them with native trees,” said Mr White.
“Higher up the ridges, much less work is needed because there are far fewer weeds.”
Mr Ward was impressed by the group’s hard work and positive environmental changes that they have achieved.
“The work you’ve done here at Bangalee getting rid of lantana and other invasive species is just a real credit to you and it is a legacy that you are leaving,” Mr Ward said.
Mr White said that yearly fauna surveys undertaken by one of the group’s volunteers have shown that the group’s bush regeneration activities result in nearly double the concentration of wildlife in the rehabilitated areas.
“The results of our fauna surveys are encouraging because they prove that we are making a real difference to the local ecosystem and that our bush regeneration methods are highly effective,” Mr White said.
Mr Ward said he was proud to support the environmental restoration volunteers.
“I know that there are many other things that all of you could be doing, but all of you have a passion for making sure that our beautiful natural environment, stunning waterway and surrounds have the best opportunity to survive and thrive,” Mr Ward said.
The group is also instrumental in conserving Bangalee Reserve’s early farming heritage.
The remains of two homesteads, two gravesites, stone fences and several farming outbuildings can be found in the reserve.
“The protection of the substantial heritage in the reserve is also a major motivator for the group. We want to ensure that the numerous artefacts remain accessible for years to come,” said Mr White.
Mr Ward and the other guests and volunteers then enjoyed a homemade morning tea and hot coffee provided in the reserve’s large picnic area by Elizabeth White and her grandmother, Cheryl White.
Bangalee Bushcare meets every Friday at Bangalee Reserve from 7:30-10am with a break for morning tea at about 9 am.
If you would like to get involved with Bangalee Bushcare, visit their website at www.bangaleebushcare.org, find them on Facebook or phone Len White on 0406 412 911.