1982 – Present
Tilligerry Landcare, previously West Tidy Towns/Landcare, started on ground work with Clean Up Australia Day in 1982 which followed on from the Tidy Towns awards for the ‘Keep Australia Beautiful’ movement. The Port Stephens community was faced with development encroachment, biodiversity loss, weed and pest spread and foreshore erosion. This prompted us at Tilligerry Landcare to address some of these issues across several sites around the Tilligerry peninsula. The loss of trees and local koala population decline, vanishing native grasses, decline in frequency and number of flora and fauna were the main factors driving the group to take action on a number of projects over the years.
The longest project we worked on was RAF Park where we stopped 11 houses from being developed and proceeded to remove weeds and revegetate the site. A significant number of trees were planted by Landcare at the waste water plant in Tanilba Bay in 2004. Other continuing projects include ‘Halt the advancing Pine Army’ and the ‘Tilligerry Koala Forest’ at Mallabula. This sand mined area was a pine forest and required removal of hundreds of pine trees and other weeds to begin the transition back to native bushland. The ‘Pine Army’ had arisen from a few slash pines, Pinus elliottii, planted around a sandminer’s hut, which colonised the post-mining sand and became a major environmental weed. The project was supported by the Green Army program until 2016 and still continues with volunteers.
Received many Tidy Towns awards. Stopped 11 houses being developed in RAF Park.
Plant knowledge is important as some plants and weeds look similar.
It is difficult to protect areas of bushland that fall under neglectful ownership with regard to fencing, weeds and bushfire hazards. It is difficult to protect these areas. We have learnt persistence; you need to keep going back until all the weeds are gone. To walk through areas with few or no weeds is satisfying, as is working on problems as they come up. We are focused on identifying and labeling wildlife corridors, running more community days and working on key patches. At our Sunset Park site we are planning a project for 2020 to regenerate and recreate the littoral rainforest.