What I like most about the Reserve is that it is reclaimed land and with pre-existing animals and native plant life that deserved to be supported and were supported by locals – not the Council or Government. It was valuable habitat and this was recognised and supported by local community groups, such as local bird experts and the Friends Group. I think that is really excellent.
Before I first visited the Reserve, I expected to see a paddock that had seen a re-growth of bush, because there is mostly farm land around there. What I have found since visiting the Reserve is that it has a variety of native bush and animals. As well as new plantings, tracks and information posts, the volunteers had removed an enormous amount of weeds and rubbish. It seemed more spacious than I expected and is larger than any other Reserves in the area. It was not an area that was wedged between housing and other development.
It was excellent to see the volunteer Friends’ vision, removing all the car carcasses and other rubbish, and all the plantings that had been done. The community did it all. As I walked through, it was good to know that it was home to owls, birds, wallabies and echidnas. It really is a haven for local animals. The only unnerving thing was seeing people walking their dogs and how this could affect the native animals there but most people are responsible about that.
The best things I have enjoyed about the Reserve are its openness and to be involved, on occasion, with its planting and also with the Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery, which supplies their plants. I like the secluded walks, the calm and peaceful atmosphere, and the fact that it is not near a major thoroughfare. It is nearby to where I live, which means that I do not have to travel into the Hills. It is just down the road – an oasis in Upwey.
I would recommend the Glenfern Valley Bushlands Reserve to anyone who wants to enjoy a local bushland experience that has not been over-managed and which has not been neglected, thanks to the continuous work by the Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushlands. While a lot of the Reserve is not yet suitable for people who are disabled or not very fit, it should not stop them using the top Ridge track, which is flat and level, and there are two picnic tables nearby to the main entrances. It is a really good environment to walk around and see what has changed. There is always something new to see. I think that the park seats are a good idea and special to the volunteers who chose the best spots to sit, rest and enjoy the surroundings.
Student Talent Program
Green Warriors at Glenfern Valley
Last term I was fortunate to join the UHS Green Warriors on an excursion to Glenfern Valley in Upper Ferntree Gully. Mr. Cram, Wendy Hancock and 15 Green Warriors met with 4 volunteers from the Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushlands for a guided tour and interactive learning experience. We learnt about the history, natural habitats and effects of poor management over many years.
Glenfern Valley was once used to quarry rock and later "recreational" 4 wheel driving, trail bike riding and the dumping of rubbish. In 2000 the community got together to clean up the 100 acre site and over many years have removed 68 cubic metres of rubbish, 25 car bodies, many weeds - such as asparagus fern, buttercup & ivy and have planted thousands of indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses.
The most disappointing thing I learnt was that there are no more platypus in Ferny Creek because the water isn't healthy due to sewer discharge and other domestic pollutants.
The Green Warriors got hands on and removed stakes from established saplings while learning about native fauna, fire management and attempts to remove pittosporums from all across the Yarra Ranges. I really enjoyed getting the chance to see the progress made by the volunteers and I hope to see ongoing community involvement and sustainable management.
If you are interested in learning more, attending a working bee or becoming a member, you can check out their Facebook page or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Rylan Squire YEAR 8
Graduated Green Warrior