At the end of June Landcare Broken Hill held a public meeting to engage new and old members for the work needed at our Imperial Lakes Nature Park. The meeting was a success, with 21 people turning up, all ready to dig, cut and delve.
Everyone came away on a high note, and the first working bee was held at the Lakes Park on the first weekend of July, on the Saturday and Sunday 2, and the second on the following Saturday, July 8, with three worthy souls also attending on Sunday.
Volunteers worked in five groups, weeding paths, clearing weeds, reinstating paths and moving native plants from around seating that is already installed in the park. Once this was done, the sanding, painting and oiling the timbers of the seats could begin.
In the first week, we found 13 seats in reasonable condition, but we know there are about another 20 more hiding in the undergrowth!
Another team worked on making safe, weatherproofing and lining the meeting room (in the former amenities building) and the volunteer’s station (in the former kiosk building).
THE FOREST WALK
Another task has been the clearing of the formed-path along the peninsular between the two lakes, which we are calling the Forest Walk. This is a lovely area of natural regrowth where residents will be able to walk under tall shady native trees in the hot summer months.
The work is creating a great team spirit, and further volunteers are always needed. If you are interested in joining us and doing some enjoyable outdoors exercise, please contact [email protected]
Even if you are not very fit you can help out with making cuppas and catering to the more active groups’ needs for tools and other resources. This volunteer support group plays an essential role in supporting all the teams on site.
We have some further plans for the park, and in response to the recent NAIDOC week we would like to outline how we are hoping to work with local Aboriginal groups to reflect their knowledge of the land. For example, we plan that Nature Park signage identifying plants and animals will also provide the Aboriginal name, in addition to the English scientific and common Australian names.
A dedicated area of the Nature Park will showcase plants of traditional importance to the Aboriginal community, including bush tucker and bush medicine plants, together with plants important for art and craft.
As an example of our proposed approach, within our Arboretum we will showcase a wide variety of native plants with a focus on those indigenous to Western NSW. As many plants as possible in the Arboretum will be informatively described via a smart phone app, providing the traditional Aboriginal name, the scientific name and the common name of each identified plant, together with basic botanical details and other interesting features. Importantly, at every opportunity we hope our local Aboriginal community Elders will share Dreamtime creation stories and cultural associations – to enrich understanding and foster respect.
“The island in the Western Lake is proposed to be a dedicated place to foster respect and understanding of traditional Aboriginal culture.”
The 1.5ha island in the Western Lake is proposed to be a site for a dedicated place to foster respect and understanding of traditional Aboriginal culture.
Guided by the traditional owners, it is intended that visitors to the island be introduced to Aboriginal knowledge and lore of plants valued for traditional food, medicinal and ceremonial and functional usage, with immersive indigenous cultural experiences. Engagement with the Aboriginal community is intended to provide vocational training for young Aboriginal youth.
With this experience it is hoped that lifelong careers can be assured, such as careers in park management and environmental land management, not just within our Nature Park but with the National Parks & Wildlife Service.
We have already started with a great partnership we’ve developed with the Making Tracks organisation “inspiring and empowering disengaged youth in Broken Hill & Far West NSW” to provide hands-on education and vocational training. These young people work on site every Monday and Tuesday morning and, under guidance of Park Ranger David Elston, are seeing positive outcomes.
If you don’t yet know the location of Imperial Lakes Nature Park, Google Maps has it pinned.
Our thanks to the volunteers who have stepped up and are working hard towards opening Imperial Lakes up again. If you can see yourself in this vision, join us and help make it happen!