Form Your Own Friends Group

Information to assist with Forming a Friends Group

This section is intended for people who are interested in coordinating bush care groups, or Friends Groups, on nature reserves within the Kalamunda Shire. It is a relatively brief introduction to this area.

Volunteer Friends Groups are vitally important in initiating and coordinating bushcare projects. The Shire of Kalamunda has limited resources and cannot be expected to do all the work in the hundreds of bush-covered reserves in the shire. That's why the NRPG supports and maintains dozens of Friends of Reserves Groups around the shire.

The following guidelines should help and encourage you form a Friends Group, to initiate a program of weed control and bush regeneration. It can be a long process (3 yrs +), and you will need to stay committed. But the effort required to coordinate such projects is quite manageable - there are only brief periods throughout the year which require concentrated effort. Sharing the coordination role with a friend or neighbour is a great way to share the work and the rewards.

There are numerous sources of help. You can get funding, guidance and assistance from the Kalamunda Shire, the Swan River Trust, the NRPG, the State Government and many other sources. The rewards are many, and not always obvious. Getting to know your neighbours and improving the community spirit, for example, are great secondary benefits.

Vision for your reserve?

Decide what you would like to do with the reserve. Some common goals are:

  • Protection of bushland by controlling and eradicating weeds
  • Removing rubbish
  • Landscaping
  • Improving bushland and its biodiversity
  • Regenerating the bush, creeks and wetlands
  • Improving native animal habitat and establishing wildlife corridors
  • Controlling erosion
  • Reducing fire load

These tasks all need to be done in a planned manner for a successful outcome. To assist you in this there are a number of sources of information and advice, described by the following.

Support of the Shire?

In general, the Shire will support you in your bush reserve initiatives, but check that you and the Shire have common objectives.

  • Talk to the Environmental Officers about your plan for their feedback. They can also visit on-site to offer ideas.
  • Ask them what services the Shire can provide: plants, advice, photocopying, maps, herbicides, erosion control, landscaping, etc. Take advantage of such help!
  • What Permission/Approvals will be Required?
  • Before going too far with your ideas, find out who owns the bushland. Most reserves are vested in the Shire of Kalamunda, but other areas may be the responsibility of
  • Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC)
  • Department of Planning
  • Landcorp
  • Private property owner
  • Others? (check with the Shire)

This may seem complicated, but MOST AGENCIES WILL BE HAPPY TO COOPERATE WITH VOLUNTEERS WHO WANT TO HELP THEIR BUSHLAND.

Ensure that the owners/administrators of the land agree with your goals, and determine if there are any issues regarding insurance or liability. Ask the Shire who you need to obtain approval from to proceed with your project.

 

Support of your local neighbourhood?

To maximise success, you should determine what support you can expect from your neighbours. This will help minimise complaints and vandalism. Also, it will help you get volunteers for your Busy Bee workdays. Suggestions for making contact with other interested people are:

  • Talk with friends in the neighbourhood and find out what they think, what ideas they might have.
  • Do you know of anyone who would like to share the Coordinator role?
  • Make up a brief one-page newsletter and outline of your proposed project. Ask for feedback suggestions, explain you need the support of local residents to make the plan work.
  • Distribute newsletter to neighbours. Expect 10-20% response.
  • Make contact with anyone who responded and encourage their interest, while getting a feel for the level of commitment they are prepared to make. It may be a little, it may be a lot – it all counts.
  • Funds and how to obtain them?

If you decide you need funds for the project, there many possible sources:

  • Kalamunda Shire
  • Swan Catchment and Urban Landcare Program (SCULP)
  • Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH)
  • Greening Australia
  • The Gordon Reid Foundation
  • Environmental Community Grants from DEC

ASK THE NRPG OR ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER AT THE SHIRE FOR ADVICE ON WHICH ONES TO TARGET FOR YOUR PROJECT.

To obtain funds, you need to do some paperwork. You will have to write a proposal of the project, and then keep track of expenditure to show the funding agency the money was properly spent.

AGAIN, IT SOUNDS TRICKIER THAN IT ACTUALLY IS!

The amount of paperwork ranges from very minimal (for SCULP funds) to fairly involved (for DEH funds). But often there's not alot. The Shire of Kalamunda, EMRC and the Swan River Trust can help you in your application for funds. The NRPG is a registered body that can help your Friends Group manage and budget your funds.

The "one-stop" location to virtually all these resources (besides the Shire) is the Swan River Trust on Adelaide Terrace in Perth. (Refer to the contacts list attached). Technical or other assistance to guide you? Do not feel that you will be on your own. On the contrary, there are many sources of help and guidance to get the project going and maintaining it:

  • EMRC
  • Kalamunda Shire
  • NRPG
  • Swan River Trust
  • various environmental consultants and companies
  • weed control companies
  • erosion control companies
  • Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade
  • Town Fire Brigade

Refer to the attached list of contacts for further details. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP.

How much effort will be required - WHEN?

How much time and effort is likely to be required to start and run the project?

The following gives a helpful estimate of this:

Project Initiation Tasks

·  Determine your vision and plan

·  Discuss with and obtain support of the Shire

·  Seek and obtain permission/approvals

·  Prepare neighbourhood leaflet

·  Photocopy and distribute leaflet

·  Call/visit interested neighbours to discuss proposal

·  Contact Swan Catchment Centre for funding applications

·  Review funding application/s

·  Review previous applications completed by others
    (through EMRC Swan River Trust, Shire, NRPG)

·  Get quotes for equipment, materials, and from contractors

·  Complete your Funding Application / Proposal

Est Time

2-4 hrs

3 hrs

0-6 hrs

2 hrs

3 hrs

1-3 hrs

1 hr

3 hrs

3 hrs

2-4 hrs

4-6 hrs

 

=============
TOTAL 24 - 38 hrs

Time of the Year (as applicable)

 

 

 

 

 

Various

 

 

Various

 

 

 

One-time Project Start Up Tasks

·  Once funded, purchase equipment etc as required

·  Landscaping

·  Erosion control

·  Prepare an Action Plan (yourself or by Consultant,
    depending on funding conditions)


  2-4 hrs
  as req'd
  as req'd
  4-40 hrs

 


Ongoing Tasks General (as required)

·  Survey & order plants

·  Order/collect seed

·  Weed control

·  Planting/Seeding of dry land plants

·  Planting of wetland plants
   (sedges, rushes)

·  Smoke spray (after seeding)

·  Watering

·  Newsletter (recommended)


Est. Frequency

1 /yr
1 /yr
2-3 /yr
1-3 /yr
1 /yr

1 /yr
2 /week as
appropriate

Time of the Year
(as applicable)


By Oct latest
Sept-Nov
Aug-Oct, May-Jun
Jun-July
Sep usually

May-July
Summer
as required

 

Labour Assistance

There are various organisations able to provide labour assistance:

  • Green Corp
  • Ecojobs
  • Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers
  • Alinta Gas Bushcare Field Days

Contact the Shire or NRPG for advice on these. Reference Information Many books and reference materials exist to help you. These can be found at the

  • EMRC
  • Kalamunda Shire
  • Swan River Trust
  • Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Library
  • DEC
  • Landcorp
  • Wildflower Society
  • NRPG
  • Kalamunda library
  • Ecoplan

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