Jane Brook environmental group puts out call for new blood

Charles Snelleksz-Mathelot, Gwyn Dean, Hazel Williams, Stephanie Abbett, Emma and Jolene Wallington with Alexandrea Snelleksz-Mathelot. Picture: Bruce Hunt d472940
Charles Snelleksz-Mathelot, Gwyn Dean, Hazel Williams, Stephanie Abbett, Emma and Jolene Wallington with Alexandrea Snelleksz-Mathelot. Picture: Bruce Hunt d472940

AN environmental group dedicated to maintaining Jane Brook and its surrounds is calling for new blood to support the ongoing work of senior members looking to share their love for nature and knowledge of the land.

Jane Brook Catchment Group chair Charles Snelleksz-Mathelot said they encouraged more people to get involved, especially younger members of the community, to help with revegetation, weeding and erosion control.

“We’ve got a community that we’ve had for a number of years and certainly many of them are now quite advanced in their age and really putting in so much hard work and it would be really nice to have some more younger bodies around to support and assist them,” Mr Snelleksz-Mathelot said.

“We are looking for young adults that are interested in the environment to come along and join us.

“It’s a lot of fun when we’re planting and of course our senior members have so much wisdom and so much knowledge of the bush and the plants, and how to take care of the health of the environment which can be lost and we don’t want to lose that.”

He said while Jane Brook was the group’s focus they also cared for the surrounding bushland.

“It’s weeding, making sure that our native lands are clean, making sure that we’re replanting so that we’re not losing native flora and fauna,” he said.

“It’s definitely about keeping Jane Brook flowing and as clean as possible and maintaining the brook so it’s not eroding away.”

Mr Snelleksz-Mathelot said the catchment group, which meets bi-monthly, was an umbrella for many friends groups.

Friends of Pioneer Park convenor Gwyn Dean said theirs was just one that worked along the vital biodiversity corridor.

“Jane Brook itself officially rises in Pioneer Park in Mt Helena and for most of its length in the Mundaring Shire it runs along the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail,” she said.

“Our group concentrates on preserving and enhancing the natural vegetation of the bush surrounding the heritage trail.

“Weeds are, of course, the biggest threat to the biodiversity of the bushland.

“We wage a constant war against woody weeds such as Flinders Range and other wattles which can grow quite large and require some strength to remove.”

She said they were currently targeting the section of the trail between Sawyers Road and Sexton Street, hand weeding Watsonia, a scourge along the waterways in the area.

“Earlier in the year, the community planted again into a section that was once just weeds and bare ground; the results are very pleasing,” she said.

“When weeds are removed the native vegetation can flourish and preserve the habitat of the local fauna from insects and frogs to quendas.

“It is rewarding work and the local plants are returning.”

She said vigilance on the part of the landholders whose properties abut the trail was also needed to prevent weeds from encroaching on the bush.

“Friends groups working in the Jane Brook Catchment area (which includes all the tributaries) are seeking more members to engage in this worthwhile work,” she said.

“Alternatively, starting up a friends group to care for any reserve or section of the trail or any creek will bring untold benefits to the bush and you.”

Mr Snelleksz-Mathelot said the importance of the work environmental groups such as this were doing was immeasurable.

“Our previous (State) Government cut funding to environmental care and it was quite devastating… the funding reduced so considerably that we were really concerned about how much we could do but I watched this group just extend themselves and do things beyond what funding would probably allow them to do,” he said.

“Their love for nature is profound and their understanding and commitment to the earth, environment and community is just amazing.

“We really welcome people of all ages to join us and we love having kids.”

Those interested can call Mr Snelleksz-Mathelot on 0421 733 355 or visit the Group’s Facebook page by searching Jane Brook Catchment Group Inc.

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