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Local Friends are Climate Champions

When Sharon Smith moved to Acton Park in 2016 she was dismayed by the amount of cleared land she saw along the Tangara Trail.

With the help of the Clarence City Council she set up the Friends of Acton Park Reserve, focusing on the area between Five Ways and Sirocco Place.

Ms Smith said the group’s goals were based on the council’s Reserve Activity Plan.

“We wanted to re-establish wildlife corridors and support the local population of bandicoots, pademelons, birds and other species,” she said.

“Open canopy is great for the big birds, but not for the small ones that need prickly bushes and understorey.”

With advice from Wildseed Tasmania, a nursery that specialises in native species, the group has planted eucalyptus, banksias, melaleucas, native grasses and acacias.

“We’ve also been working with the council to leave certain areas unslashed as those spaces regenerate and native flowers reseed and thrive,” Ms Smith said.

“It’s so heartening to see what nature will do if we work with it rather than against it.”

With the help of teachers and parents, prep students from Lauderdale Primary School are creating refuges that bandicoots and small birds can hide in through the group’s Bandicoot Bunker program.

“The program has been going for six years and we can see the bunkers starting to take shape,” Ms Smith said.

The Friends of Acton Park Reserve get together multiple times a year to weed, water and mulch new plants and help them survive in a changing climate.

An ornithologist in the group does regular bird surveys and has spotted swift parrots in the reserve.

The group would like to offer volunteering opportunities to workplaces and do more walk and talks from June to November when people can appreciate the wildflowers.

“We try to do defined, practical things so that people get a sense of achievement,” Ms Smith said.

“If we can all get more aware of local species and emerging environmental issues, we can better support our wildlife.”

Friends of Acton Park Reserve has been chosen by Clarence Climate Action as its May 2024 Climate Champion.

The group is affiliated with Landcare and Wildcare Tasmania and welcomes new members.

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About the Author: Simon Andrews

Simon is a passionate journalist and finds joy in uncovering and sharing locally resonant stories, immersing himself in the hearts of communities. He can often be spotted out and about sourcing grassroots news for the Hobart Observer and its sister papers.

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