Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

July 31st 2009
Florence Bay now free of weeds

Weeders at work For the second year in a row, perhaps Magnetic Island's most beautiful bay, Florence, has been cleared of weeds, in particular periwinkles, by a small band of dedicated volunteers who keep returning to the bay to make sure it stays that way. In the following inspirational release, the group's Co-ordinator, Carolyn Dixon tells how.

On Saturday 18th July, the Magnetic Island National Park Volunteers completed the removal of weeds from the bush at Florence Bay for the second year in a row. It gave the small group of devoted weeders a great sense of pleasure as they looked around the foreshore. Instead of the ubiquitous periwinkle there is now a myriad of different plants. Native lavender creeps through the carpet of needles, young casuarinas and cheese bushes are springing up under the shade of the mature trees, in the open areas grasses are returning.

In the first year it took us eight months of fortnightly half days to fully clear the Bay, this year only five months, a sign that we are winning. It will take several more years to completely rid Florence Bay of the pest as the seeds live on in the sand waiting for a chance to germinate. Both volunteers and rangers are committed to following up on this great effort to ensure periwinkle is eradicated from the area. Seeds are also brought in from the non-National Park areas where periwinkle is abundant, so there will always be a need to return to Florence especially after rain, to ensure it retains its’ wonderful natural beauty and remains weed free.

Periwinkles carpet the Florence foreshore before the
weeders made a big difference (see below)

The volunteers are a diverse group some in their teens, others at least 50 years older. The weeding suits a range of physical ability, people work at their own pace and come when they can make it. From time to time we have been assisted by various scout groups which have given the project a great boost with their many young hands. A key feature of the success of the program has been the consistency of a core group who should be highly commended as, without regular attention, the weeds get the upper hand.

The pleasure in volunteering comes from being in such a beautiful setting, watching the recovery of the native vegetation, the friendly companionship of the group and the support of the rangers. The group meets on alternate Saturday mornings. Some of us come from the mainland and have the enjoyment of the ferry trip whilst others live on the Island and enjoy the loveliness everyday.

Our next project is at the Horseshoe Bay Lagoon. We welcome all the assistance we can get, regular, occasional or just ‘one off’ when visiting the Island. If you have been thinking of volunteering now is the time to ‘give it a go’. Please give me a ring on 4774 1414, leave a message if I am not home; Carolyn Dixon, coordinator of volunteers.

Future weeding dates are: 1st Aug, 15th Aug, 29th Aug, 12th Sept, 26th Sept, 10th Oct, 24th Oct, 7th Nov and 21st Nov.

We will meet at the carpark opposite the Horseshoe Bay Lagoon at 8.30am or at 7.45am at the Ferry Terminal in Townsville.

In an article Magnetic Times published in August 2008 we found that for some of the weeders there was a powerful motivation for their work (read here) Ed.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Florence Bay now free of weeds
August 4th 2009
Thanks weeders. Job well done.
Sam Willis
June 2nd 2012
Congrats to you all. This is a wonderful place to visit and it is people like you that keep it that way. From an ex-townsvillian thank-you, I will appreciate it when I am there for my annual visit at christmas time. Fantastic Job!!!!!!!

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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