The next free event is just around the corner in Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s exciting new initiative aimed at inspiring locals to cherish and care for the Margaret River.

The Friends of Wooditjup Bilya (Margaret River) program features a guided excursion with an expert followed by a community busy bee where volunteers tackle important revegetation or regeneration work along the river, held on the first Thursday of every month from 9.30am-12.30pm.

It kicked off earlier this month with a sell-out guided fauna walk with local expert Dr Boyd Wykes, followed by hands-on conservation work caring for new plantings at Ashton Street River Reserve.

The next event will be on Thursday, November 2 – this time featuring a guided restoration walk by local river steward Dr Ann Ward, who has worked for years alongside her river property to transform a degraded patch into a thriving biodiverse river foreshore. Attendees will see first-hand how she has put regeneration principles and techniques into practice, along with the successes and challenges involved in restoring riparian vegetation and ecosystems. For tickets, follow the links at www.natureconsevation.org.au or book direct HERE.

Joining her is weed warrior Rick Ensley, who has a unique perspective on caring for this foreshore reserve, having worked in revegetation and restoration along the Wooditjup Bilya for decades. He’ll share his extensive knowledge of weeds and how to identify them, along with tips and techniques for manual weed control. The tour concludes with a look at the inspiring effect of restoration efforts.

After the walk, volunteers will have a chance to get their hands dirty and put some of their new-found knowledge to the test by removing invasive garden escapees which threaten to invade the Wooditjup Bilya.

“Learn what they are and importantly, how to get them under control and protect this precious riparian zone. Be part of the restoration!” says program coordinator Lauren Scanlon. “Many of us enjoy gardening but might not realise how our garden plants can directly impact the biodiversity of this region.  A large number of exotic plants have been introduced to this region, whether as valued food plants such as blackberry, fig, and olive, or for beauty such as agapanthus, plus host of plants introduced accidentally.”

These plants can have a huge impact on neighbouring bushland and riparian zones by outcompeting native species for resources, preventing requirement of native plants, reducing habitat and altering fire regimes.  By understanding the impact of these garden escapees, and learning to identify and control key species, locals can help protect the biodiversity of the Wooditjup Bilya.

Ms Scanlon said the monthly Friends of Woodtijup Bilya gatherings are a fantastic opportunity for locals to learn more about the Margaret River, hosted by cultural custodians, scientists or local experts. Still to come is a guided walk focussing on riverbank or riparian plants with celebrated author and Nature Conservation ambassador Jane Scott. And a paddle up the river hosted by Margaret River Canoes and Kayaks owner Sarah Palmateer, who has rented equipment and been paddling the Rivermouth for almost two decades.

This program is funded by the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River through the Environmental Management Fund.