This year our rangers, volunteers and stewardship groups worked across the region, including Albury environmental reserves and high conservation value roadsides, Baranduda waterways and roadsides, Bhutanese Community Farm, Gateway Island (Murray River Nature Trails), Greater Hume roadsides and reserves, the High Country Rail Trail, the Hume and Hovell Track, Murray River Islands and frontages, NSW orchid recovery sites, Wodonga Hills and WRENS Reserves, and Wodonga Waterways and urban corridors.
We worked on park and trail restoration and maintenance, engaging people with nature, species monitoring, and threatened species recovery activities that protected endangered orchid, Swainsona Pea sites, and established habitat for threatened fauna. We supported Friends and community groups through loan / storage of tools, insurance, grant writing, office, materials, meeting space and advice.
Together we achieved a range of on-ground outcomes, including
- a further 50 metres of historic 67m trestle bridge restored (Rail Trail)
- 2km stock exclusion fencing
- 90 garden beds (community farm)
- 38km fuel reduction firebreaks
- 183 nest-boxes installed
- 28,000 native seedlings planted
- 42,000 litres weeds sprayed
- 7 threatened species recovery projects
- 211km nature trails maintained
- 386 hectares of woody weeds hand removed
Some of many highlights included finding the near extinct Squirrel Gliders in most of our nest-boxes, recording over 3,800 orchids during a spring wildflower survey of just one of our regional bush parks and the Bhutanese Community Farm catering for 300 people at a conference.
This year we offered a diverse range of learning and engaging experiences, from guided bush walk ‘n talks, wildflower walks, reptile walks and nest-box monitoring field days in Jindera, Gerogery, Wodonga and Baranduda, to experiential learning opportunities for schools, businesses and community members in bush restoration, fencing, traditional bridge restoration, timber milling, chemical-free farming and track maintenance.
Park stewardship and educational programs continued to attract increasing numbers of participants, with nearly 5% of the local population participating in working bees or events. Trail counters located at key parks revealed that around 12 times that number utilized popular nature trails over the past year.
With the support of partners we developed collaborative bids for larger environmental and park projects, successful after over a decade of unsuccessful bids. Just some of these included long overdue Willow removal along the lower Kiewa River; replacement of the toilet block on Lake Hume at Huon Reserve, and gravel and steel to open a further section of the High Country Rail Trail. These projects are all well underway, with $362,561 of goods and services purchased from local businesses.
Parklands Albury Wodonga embodies the gifts of many people and partners. The sum of the collective is far greater than any individual contribution. Thank you to the 2,559 volunteers who have given more than $852,000 worth of time this year alone, in addition to the support, encouragement and other resources provided by our 80 partner organizations.
We wish all a safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to another productive year in the regional bush parks and trails in 2019.