Friends of Freycinet – a year in review.
Annual report 2016
This report covers the calendar year 2016 Events The Branch continued to be very active in assisting the PWS with a wide range of Parks management tasks. Our Partnership Agreement with PWS stipulates that we have at least 5 working bees each year and whilst we have not achieved that this year for the first time we have had 3 very productive multi day events.
In addition to these events 3 of our members did additional valuable work. Christine Sedevic spent a number of days checking for and removing sea spurge from a number of beaches north of Bicheno. Jon Marsden-Smedley periodically checked Friendly Beaches and the Coles Bay beaches for both Caper and Sea spurge. Adrian Sullivan assisted Fiona Everts with work on equipment associated with the summer Track Warden and Campground host programs.
Our first major event was a monster May-hem. This involved up to 14 members armed with a list of 20 jobs. A full report on this event was sent to members and a short article appeared in Wildtimes No56. As you are aware our Park celebrated its Centenary during the year and a Festival was held in August. This involved considerable planning and I attended 2 planning sessions at Freycinet. Our display at the Festival looked very swish. David and Trauti Reynolds provided 2 beaut display boards with photos and captions, and we had banners and lots of give aways. The Reynolds also did cards for sale and generously donated the proceeds to Wildcare Inc. Whilst the Festival did not attract the large numbers expected, for our part we flew the flag for Wildcare and our Branch, and good interest was shown by Festival attendees.
Our Spring into September shaped up to be another monster event with large numbers but in the end we only had 4 participants. We were generously accommodated in Adrian and Cathy Sullivan’s ‘summer residence’ in Coles Bay. Thanks guys. We were able to do a beaut short walk to work each day along the beach. For a small team we were able to do a monstrous amount of work. We cleaned out and painted the outdoor theatre projection ‘house of many colors’, we painted the Friendly beaches toilets and the Honeymoon Bay toilet, we weeded Spanish heath at the northern end of the Park, Boneseed and Sweet Pittosporam at Whalers Lookout, Psoralea in Coles Bay, and trimmed several beach access tracks.
The 4th event planned was a trip to Schouten Island in December to continue our efforts to eradicate gorse and Blue Periwinkle. Unfortunately due to high winds and lumpy seas we were not able to get there and achieve what we wanted so it was called off. Luckily a vacancy for early January was available in the Campground Host program and Christine and I slotted into that. During the 2 weeks we were able to achieve much of what had been planned for December.
Some Stats for the calendar year 2016 40 people attended our events 143 person days were worked 1047 hours were put in This does not include the many hours put into planning, applying for and acquitting grants, purchasing materials, liaison with PWS, and preparing reports. Although less hours in total than last year the work we were able to accomplish was astonishing. Flinders Island Spotted Fever Thankfully we had no new cases of this problem during the year. Both PWS and our Branch have been able to obtain insect proofed coveralls. These will be issued to volunteers as needed. This is in line with taking more stringent preventative measures regarding clothing, application of strong repellent, and checking for these very small ticks, and the use of hand sprayers instead of dabbers where possible so that we lessen the need to get ‘down and dirty.’
Fiscal bits – The annual LAP grant of $250 from Landcare Tas is always gratefully received. As usual it is spent on replacement gloves and weeding weapons. In addition I purchased 3 small hand sprayers and some Garlon 600 herbicide during the year. In November 2015 We applied for a DSS grant of $2,400 for a contribution towards travel expenses incurred by participants in our events. We were successful and I was able to provide car drivers with a $50 fuel card for each trip made during 2016. I am hopeful that these will last for the whole of 2017. We also applied to the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife (NSW) for a grant to construct a small boardwalk from the Ranger Creek day use area to Richardsons Beach. This was unsuccessful but they have indicated the project has merit and they will consider it for funding under another Progam. Here’s hoping.
Other Bits n Pieces – Most of the participants in our working bees have come from a small cohort of 12-14 members. I do have another 4/5 members who are interested I attending but it concerns me that we have members on our “books’ who I do not hear from. Am I doing enough to keep you informed? do you read the Wildcare calendar? I do realize that multi day events are not to everyone’s liking and we are only able to have 4 or 5 events per year a long way away from where most live rather than being able to toddle off on a set day each month. If you have comments or suggestions regarding communications or anything else please let me know. Initially participants have been accommodated in PWS staff quarters. In the past year or so this has been problematical as these quarters were fully utilized. We have been accommodated in rental premises at PWS expense on a number of occasions and at other times by either Christine Sedevic, Adrian or Jon. We cannot rely on the goodwill of our members or that funds will continue to be available from PWS for rental. We hope that in the future staff quarters will be available for the relatively small participant numbers and times that we have events. Our Branch has enjoyed the full cooperation of the wonderful PWS staff at Freycinet ever since we were established in our present form. The then Ranger in Charge Richard Dakin and his staff have been very supportive of our work during the year. It is an absolute pleasure to work with them and we have become ‘friends’ in the full sense with all of them. In particular I would mention Fiona Everts who in addition to her other duties has been our ‘volunteer facilitator’ Fiona looks after us wonderfully and the list of jobs she compiles never runs out. Thanks Fee!
David Harris President