Grant awarded to friends of emerald lake park

Wattle trees at Emerald Lake Park. PICTRE: On File 214162_06

By Tanya Faulkner

Locals with the green thumb will have a much greener bank account after being awarded with a recent grant.

Friends of Emerald Lake Park is one of several recipients of grants from the Victorian Landcare pot, securing $20,000 for future projects at the park.

The Victorian Government funds the landcare and environmental volunteering groups and networks for on-ground works, education and capacity building projects that protect and restore the land and natural environments.

Friends of Emerald Lake Park president Sheila Hampson said the group is well established in the community, and this grant is great recognition of the work they have done.

“We’ve been working at the park for 22 years now.

“We provide assistance to Cardinia Shire Council in the gardens, arboretums and bushland around the lake edges in the park.

“Our group does a variety of tasks around the park including weeding and vegetation management around the bushland and the lakes,” she said.

Ms Hampson said grants like these are highly sought after, and their application was up against thousands of others from around the state.

Funds from the project will go towards the groups’ ongoing Emerald Lake Park vegetation project, which has been going since 2010.

Ms Hampson said it’s a big progress that has been keeping the group very busy.

“The park itself is around 50 hectares with two lakes, gardens around the lakes and arboretums with large numbers of exotic trees, many of which relate back to the 1940s.

“The Nobelius Heritage Park has a nursery with plants and trees that grew on that site that we also help to take care of.

“There’s a lot of ashland in the park with lots of weeds, and we have been working to eradicate them since 2010.

The group runs primarily on funding from Cardinia Shire Council, who team up with them to ensure they can get more work done.

Ms Hampson said this grant will allow Friends of Emerald to take bigger strides in their project moving forward.

“The funding will be spent to remove some large sycamore maples out of the park.

“These trees produce tens of thousands of seeds per tree per season, with seeds flying around all of the time and growing more plants in that area.

“We can’t remove hundreds of them at the same time without the park looking bare, so we have to do it strategically and include revegetation afterwards.

“We’ll have council approved contractors that will help us with the removal, and we hope to have it done by 2024,” she said.

The Friends of Emerald Lake Park are in the process of getting a revegetation list to the nearby nursery to have plants grown for them for their revegetation stages of the project.

Ms Hampson there are a few obstacles along the way for them to manage.

“There are a lot of walking tracks that are open to the public, so we have to make sure we don’t get in the way of them too much.

“We also have wombats, wallabies and other wildlife to be careful of during the process,” she said.

Ms Hampson said the group has steadily grown to approximately 21 members, who come along to help out whenever they can.

As part of the council’s seniors festival, the Friends of Emerald Lake Park group will also be holding two walks on Thursday 19 October and Wednesday 25 October for locals to come together and enjoy the trails.

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