Ocean Grove Coastcare celebrates 10 years
OCEAN Grove Coastcare has celebrated its 10th anniversary of protecting the local coastal environment.
The celebration was due in late 2020 but was delayed due to COVID.
Founding member Jackie Scally said the unlikely origin story began when a group of young women got together to make a difference.
“Bolstered by a healthy dose of naivety and enthusiasm we hosted a movie night at the Piping Hot Chicken Shop in September 2010 to generate community interest in our little idea. Eighty people turned up and Ocean Grove Coastcare was born that evening,” Ms Scally said.
In the 10 years since the group has seen hundreds of volunteers contribute to a staggering 2700 hours in a variety of conservation efforts including weeding amongst the dunes.
The weeding typically involves removing plant species that have escaped from local gardens.
The group has planted thousands of indigenous plants, given away more than 2,000 plants for local gardens, cleared up hundreds of large bags of rubbish, all the while creating awareness of ocean plastics and other environmental issues.
President Margot Busch said if she had to select one highlight of her time it would be the hundreds of local people across all age groups that had volunteered their time.
“This tells us that there is a growing care and concern for our local environment, and Coastcare is pleased to have provided an outlet for that.”
Ms Busch said while many coastal regions were under environmental pressure from increased populations and development, the Ocean Grove foreshore was fortunate to be within the recently declared Bellarine Distinctive Area and Landscape, which she says recognises the need to conserve the special environment they enjoy.
“This will help Coastcare immensely in its work to enhance the plant, bird and animal habitats that our volunteers love to protect,” Ms Busch said.
Ms Scally has taken more of a back seat for the past few years, but says she looks on with a smile knowing that Ocean Grove Coastcare will continue to evolve in new ways, shaped by the energy of the people involved.
“And as it does, I hope that it will keep providing a way for the community of Ocean Grove to connect with people and place and give back to the environment we call home,” she said.