Recognition for creating a haven out of an eyesore

Some of the multi-generational members of the group on the Awards night: (front row) Jennie Breeze, Jordan Cox, Denise Black, Kate Palmer and Gabriella Zuch (back) Troy Bartrim, Peter Meaney and Joe Carter

Members of the Kiama Hillside Native Food Forest Landcare Group have been recognised at Council’s recent Community Achievement Awards for their work transforming a neglected area along the edge of the Leisure Centre ovals.

The Service to the Environment Award is presented each year to ‘an individual or group that contributes to improving the environment within our community’.

If you take the time to visit the area they are caring for, which can be accessed from the ovals or the top of Thomson St, you’ll agree they deserve the award.

The area is on a very steep slope which made it a difficult site for Council to maintain, and also a weed problem for the adjacent Kiama Community Garden.

The first weeding day was held in 2011, followed by volunteers planting and maintaining the site until the site-specific Landcare group was officially formed in 2014.

“We have had strong support from Kiama Community Garden, Kiama Council, Conservation Volunteers, Venturers,  Scouts, Duke of Ed volunteers, National Tree Day, TAFE Illawarra, Environment and Heritage, and of course all at Landcare Illawarra,” says the group’s coordinator, Joe Carter.

“But the driving force behind all that has been achieved is the generous volunteering of time, effort, knowledge, plants, support and friendship from the members of our Group.”

Nestled under two large fig trees, the main part of the site offers an Illawarra edible plants section and a rainforest section. In addition there is an Illawarra butterfly, bee and bird attracting section to highlight the importance of creating and maintaining habitat for local pollinators.

There is also a new section which features D’harawal Seasons Indicator Plants, which hopefully will soon obtain grants for interpretive and educational signage.

Anyone wishing to be involved with this enthusiastic group with big plans should come along to their working bees on the fourth Saturday morning of the month.







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