One local man has been working throughout the Shire with a team of dedicated volunteers who believe that roadside character is definitely worth preserving. Their efforts to protect roadside vegetation is admirable!
Did you know that there are approximately 2,577km’s of local roads within the Glenelg Shire? Council relies of the good will of residents to help manage and maintain these roadside by controlling weeds and promoting native vegetation and biodiversity.
Garry Kerr, President of the SWAT, has been leading a volunteer team of locals in a fight against environmental weeds such as Sweet Pittosporum and Italian Buckthorn. The group recently received a $1,000 grant from the Glenelg Shire Council to assist them in their efforts to prevent these two weeds from marching forward into our great Forest, The Cobobbonnee.
SWAT’s original vision was to raise awareness of Sweet Pittosporum, and to advocate for further action from the State Government to help prevent the weed’s devastating impact upon regional biodiversity. The control of weeds on roadsides that surround or lead directly into local forests and parks is now the group's main focus.
The group are hoping to gain community support by raising awareness of the management of roadside vegetation and are encouraging locals to look beyond their boundary fence.
“If every landholder took responsibility for their roadside weeds and managed them annually, we could achieve some outstanding results. Many small local back roads are home to beautiful gums and other fantastic endemic vegetation that is currently being overrun by Sweet Pittosporum and Italian Buckthorn,” said Mr Kerr.
The group is building the community’s knowledge and skills in weed identification and treatment. The approach is smart because once your eyes are open to the impact weeds are having locally on the loss of biodiversity, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic.
Empowering locals to care more for their patch, including their roadside, is a great initiative and one will hopefully catch on.
The SWAT President and his team have been putting the group’s vision into action by identifying roads that are a threat to natural assets and then letterbox dropping homes with an invitation to attend a Saturday morning working bee. SWAT shows groups and individuals how to identify and then control the weeds at these working bee's.
“Our hope is that people take the skills and knowledge back onto their properties and seek out any invaders they may have on their patch,” said Mr Kerr.
“Our second aim is for them to learn how to control the weeds on their roadside promote natural regeneration or plant back local endemic species to create a more sustainable habitat for wildlife.
“As an incentive to landholders to support our group we are looking for funding to print signs that can be a beacon of inspiration and a badge of honor for those who are working with us to implement the way we think about roadside vegetation and responsibilities,” said Mr. Kerr.