Free nature walks as Insidious is unveiled
Free guided biodiversity walks for the community will accompany the unveiling of an art installation made from hundreds of recycled plastic bottles in bushland near the Old Settlement from 2pm Sunday, October 15.
Titled “Insidious”, the installation is 150m long with hundreds of trumpet-like flowers made from recycled plastic drink bottles, and is designed to boost awareness about the insidious nature of invasive weeds as well as the impact of plastics.
Artists Heloise Roberts and Moira Fearby are spearheading the project but they had a helping hand from the community earlier this month, when dozens of locals, visitors, families and children attended workshops to make hundreds of the plastic “flowers” for the piece.
Now, the dramatic sculpture is being installed in bushland alongside Barrett Street Trail on the banks of the Margaret River, where it will creep through the understorey and up a karri tree, mimicking a real-life weed. It will be accompanied by signage, information and a QR code which links to a weed identification guide that can be downloaded by walkers or cyclists in the reserve.
Sunday’s community event from 2pm will be the official unveiling of the installation with everyone welcome, including free tea and scones provided by the Margaret River and Districts Historical Society. Follow the signs where the Barrett St Reserve meets the Old Settlement. There will be a short presentation followed by a guided biodiversity and weed identification walk run by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s biodiversity officer Mike Griffiths.
Artist Moira Fearby said it was fantastic working with the community to create the art piece and raise awareness about the impact of weeds. “It’s going to look fantastic and make a great environmental statement. Suddenly it’s there in your face and has maximum impact. As part of the sculpture, we’ll also be using the different weeds that are found there, so the community can start to identify them.”
Insidious was the brainchild of Friends of Barrett Street Reserve volunteers Maureen Munro and Peta Goodwin, who successfully applied for a Shire of Augusta Margaret River grant. “Weeds aren’t a sexy topic but the fact is they have a huge impact on the environment, outcompeting native species and reducing habitat for wildlife,” says Maureen. “The weed identification guide highlights five key weed species in the reserve. Many of them are garden escapees and we’re hoping everyone in the community can learn to identify and help stop the spread.” The key weeds include Sweet Pittosporum, bleeding heart, asperagus fern, vinca or blue periwinkle, and pandorea pandorana which is also known as wonga vine.
Insidious will remain in place for several months complete with information and signage, while local schools are also invited to visit the installation.
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 have a huge impact on native animals through habitat loss”. “We’re hoping this art installation will be a powerful way to spread that message,” he said.