Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Bushcare anniversary: still making a difference 10 years on

Every friend of Stradbroke Island cherishes its bushland. Pandanus and pigface, casuarinas and crinum lilies — these and a host of other plants adapted to sand and salt wind are a living part of the island’s charm. But they are menaced by weeds. Take the section of the foreshore reserve bordered by Kennedy Drive, for example. For years now the original banksias have been succumbing to old age and the prevailing winds, but the seedlings that should replace them don’t stand a chance — they’ve been crowded out by a rolling carpet of asparagus fern, dotted with the inglorious gloriosa lily.

Caring for the bush ... Bushcare volunteers have been removing weeds, replanting natives and educating the public at Point Lookout for 10 years. 
Ten years ago, Jan and Bruce Johnman and Judy and Mike Hines resolved to make a concerted effort to “Fight the Blight”. They rounded up like-minded locals, enlisted the support of the Council, and founded Point Lookout Bushcare.

Now, with its nursery, its working bees and its market stall, Bushcare is an established feature of the island scene. The group is funded by Redland City Council and from the sales of plants from its nursery and is run by volunteers The group received the Education Award in the recent Bushcare awards for the Redlands Council region for its work teaching the public about native plants and the damage done to native bushland by weeds.

Off to work ... Bruce Johnman is ready to start replanting natives along the Gorge Walk. 
Read on to find out how you can lend a hand to Bushcare, learn more about the island’s native plants and what to plant in your garden to help the local environment.
Native seedlings ... Bushcare replaces weeds like asparagus fern with native seedlings grown in its nursery. 
Current Bushcare projects
Working bees are held on the first Saturday of the month from 8am. The group has recently planted 5000 natives on the Southern Headland overlooking Main Beach. The council is helping by employing contractors to poison weeds, such as asparagus fern, that were choking the area.

Ten years of bush care makes a difference! 

Bushcare workers planting casuarinas at the access to Main Beach about ten years ago 

The same area today 
The dune area around the Lily Walk in front of the Whale Watch complex is also being replanted. 

Planting on the Southern Headland. 
Profits from the stall are used to fund Bushcare initiatives such as a new brochure on local plants and gardens that will be distributed to ratepayers.

So why not pop by for a chat and pick up something for your garden? Upcoming market days at the Point Lookout Hall are: 28 June and 5 July.
Member Jan Johnman said education was probably the most important part of Bushcare’s work. “Making information available about weeds and which plants to plant, helps local gardeners develop their own patch of Point Lookout bush,” she said.
Working bee ... volunteers at work. 
The market stall

The Bushcare stall at the Point Lookout markets is the place to go to buy local native plants for your garden. You can choose from a selection of plants from the Bushcare nursery and learn more about the group and its conservation work from volunteers manning the stall.

Judy Hines waters newly‐planted seedlings. 
The nursery

From 10am to 12pm each Thursday the Bushcare nursery, in the old campground near the Gorge Walk, is a hive of activity. The group collects seeds from local native plants and propagates and grows the seedlings. 

Get involved: how you can help
Bushcare member Judy Hines said the group was looking for more volunteers. “Working with Bushcare is a great way to meet other locals and learn more about the island enviroment,” she said. “What’s more we really enjoy ourselves! We are pretty easy going - people can do as little or as much as they like. You can help in the nursery, on the working bees or at the market stall.”

If you would like to get involved call Jan Johnman on 3409 8687 or Judy Hines on 3409 8567 or visit the market stall or the nursery between 10am and 12pm every Thursday.

Also read more about weeds to avoid and suitable native trees, ground cover and shrubs for Stradbroke Island gardens.