Art project fights Insidious weeds
Art and conservation will combine in an ambitious new project that will see a giant creeping “weed” made from hundreds of recycled plastic bottles installed in a popular section of Margaret River bushland.
Called “Insidious”, the artwork is designed to boost awareness around invasive weeds and will be accompanied by workshops and free guided biodiversity bushwalks for the community when it is installed in karri and marri forest along Barrett Street Trail near Rotary Park, along the banks of the Margaret River.
The idea is the brainchild of Friends of Barrett Street Reserve volunteers and passionate local environmental campaigners Maureen Munro and Peta Goodwin, who are collaborating with Nature Conservation Margaret River Region. The project got a major shot in the arm this week when it was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.
Local artists Heloise Roberts and Moira Fearby – whose artwork often uses recycled plastics and has featured at Sculptures by the Bay in Dunsborough – will spearhead the design and creation of the installation which will be more than 150 metres long, made from plastic tubing, with trumpet-like flowers made out of more than 350 recycled plastic drink bottles.
The community is also invited to work alongside the artists to help create the giant creeping weed by attending one of 12, 30-minute workshops at the Margaret River Scout Hall over the September 23-24 weekend. Children are welcome. Tickets are free and can be reserved HERE or by following the links at www.natureconservation.org.au.
In October, the completed work will be installed along the popular Barrett Street Trail between Rotary Park and Barrett Street Weir, and will remain in place for several months. On the opening day, Nature Conservation Margaret River Region will host guided walks for the community so locals can continue the conversation about weeds, learn more about our bush and biodiversity, and identify weeds from native species. There will also be weed identification guides complete with QR codes for people walking or cycling the trails, and local schools will be invited to visit the installation too.
Peta and Maureen said the idea to bring an art installation to Margaret River was born when they visited Sculpture by the Bay in March and saw the artists’ work, which combined two major environmental threats – plastics and weeds. “We immediately realised its potential as an education tool around plastics in the environment and invasion of weeds into native bush,” says Peta. “We approached the artists and they suggested a community project to really get people involved and spread the message. And the idea was received enthusiastically by the shire’s environment officers and Nature Conservation because it really ties in with their biodiversity themes, presented in a unique way.”
Nature Conservation general manager Drew McKenzie said he was excited by the collaboration because “invasive weeds are one of the biggest threats to our native flora, and they also have a huge impact on our native animals through habitat loss”. “We’re hoping this art installation will be a powerful way to spread that message,” he said.