The 1st Upwey Scout Group wanted to develop a wetland to help strengthen part of the ecosystem at Birdsland Reserve. Receiving a 2018 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grant of nearly $5,000 enabled the Scouts to create a new wetland area in the reserve as well as revegetate a significant number of drier areas around the park and on other nearby sites.
Located about 50 minutes from Melbourne, Birdsland Reserve is a 75-hectare bushland reserve in the Dandenong Ranges with over 130 different native birds and animals, including the Wedgetail Eagle and Powerful Owl. You may even spot a platypus! Birdsland also supports over 200 native plant species.
As it takes hold, the newly created wetland area will improve water quality by natural filtration from the wetland plants and enhance soil quality by removing contaminants from road runoff and rubbish from housing and a school, upstream.
The revegetation of other drier areas around the park that the group helped revegetate are showing results as they are attracting birds and other species that are encouraging biodiversity and the health of the ecosystem.
The 80 Scouts who participated in the project developed an understanding of biodiversity through the investigation of the plants and animals of the Birdsland area, particularly endangered species such as the yellow-bellied glider and the platypus.
One of the Scouts said, “Planting, and hearing about the night birds was fun and helped me to see that we need to work together with our community to keep our parklands working for everyone.”
The Scouts all enjoyed the planting as they could clearly see the impact they made and can now point this area out to their families when they visit Birdsland. The Scouts also felt a sense of pride and ownership when they talked about their project and achievements at the 2019 National Tree Planting Day that was attended by over 40 volunteers.