Batesford-Fyansford-Stonehaven Landcare Group
The Batesford-Fyansford-Stonehaven Landcare Group is a very small but active and committed group. It's been in existence for about 20 years and in that time, as the city has steadily started to encroach on the country in this area, the Group has reinvented itself. Our work has widened its focus from predominantly agricultural issues, (where weed eradication, erosion problems and sustainability remain important priorities), to include the protection, preservation and enhancement of the few precious areas of natural forest, wood and grass lands which remain in the region.
Being on the margins of the Shire some areas of Batesford and environs straddle the Shire of Golden Plains and the City of Greater Geelong. A case in point is our current major project, the Dog Rocks Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, for which we have some significant Government funding to preserve, enhance and protect it for future generations. Situated on the banks of the Moorabool River, the custodians of this precious area have covenanted their Sanctuary with the Trust for Nature. To find out more or organize a visit other pages on this website or come along to the Open Day and join in the guided walks.
Currently the BFS Landcare Group is developing two other projects which, as we watch the impact of climate change unfolding, require vision and faith. One is the Red Gum Reserve in west Batesford, between Dog Rocks Rd and Blackall Rd, which will eventually extend the full length of Primrose Creek in which it is situated. This area is populated with ancient river red gums and native grasses. We are planting with indigenous flora and attempting to eradicate weeds as well as making a public walking path. Already we have seen more wild life, more people walking in this area and environmental improvements to the whole area.
For similar outcomes the other project we have is the Moorabool River Reserve developing a public walking track along the Moorabool River from the hotel in Batesford south and east along the river. It is hoped eventually to extend this walk through to Fyansford.
Recently the BFS Landcare Group, in conjunction with the Geelong Landcare Network, organized a field trip along the length of the Moorabool River, from its confluence with the Barwon to its source near Ballarat. Having this River unfold for us with some informative speakers to enlighten us on the way gave us a real insight into the nature and life of this fragile river system, and where some of the water we use comes from. It was well attended by a wide range of people. The Geelong Landcare Network acts as an umbrella organization for a number of Landcare Groups in the greater Geelong region.
BFS Landcare Group has worked with four high schools, one primary school, six National Green Jobs Green Corps crews, two local councils, three State agencies, the local CFA brigade, Geelong Field Naturalists, Bird Watchers of Australia and the Geelong Landcare Network. During the past four years Helen Percy, our secretary, her team and our Group, have collected seed and propagated over 10,000 plants at Barwon Water Nursery, developed management plans for our projects, commissioned flora and fauna surveys, held open days and field days, installed signage and developed a web site. The volunteer hours of weed removal and tree planting over the 3 sites now exceeds 5,000 man hours.
We are always endeavouring to raise awareness about the valuable work that Landcare undertakes to help preserve and enhance our fragile environment, as well as seeking more people from the local area and further afield who are willing to donate some of their precious time to assist us with our work. It's a difficult task when so many of us are time poor, however recently we had an encouraging response from the public on National Tree Day. Over 60 individuals and families donated their morning to plant trees in the DRFFSanctuary. Many people are looking for more community involvement. Helping out with Landcare, even for a few hours a year, is not only helping to create a better environment, it’s often great exercise in beautiful surroundings with friendly people.
The BFS Landcare Group’s current president is Peter Spear, secretary Helen Percy, and treasurer, Des Guinane. My role is to assist in spreading the word.