The Queen’s Birthday long weekend saw volunteers from Fairhaven SLSC roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and plant 600 trees to help protect the sand dunes around the club from erosion.
In December, Fairhaven SLSC successfully applied for the Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee’s (GORCC) Coastal Grant so they could develop a formal education program about dune conservation.
The club’s Junior Coordinator Kirstin Charlesworth was the driving force behind their grant application, and her idea was to offer environmental education through the club’s nipper program.
“I wanted to do something that involved dune conservation because avoiding erosion on sand dunes is an ongoing issue,” she said.
“I also wanted to do something with the nipper program and provide education about avoiding foot traffic in conjunction with a planting program, so that was our pitch for our grant application.”
The club’s program involves three phases: tree planting, maintenance and tree protection, and environmental education.
Ms Charlesworth said that so far the planting phase has been completed.
“Over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend I organised a group of helpers, about 30-40 people, and we spent three hours planting 600 trees,” she said.
“The next two phases involve maintaining and protecting the plants, and education through the nipper program and local schools about the importance of staying off the sand dunes.”
GORCC not only assisted the club with funding the program, but they also helped with the planting activity by providing support and horticultural know-how.
“GORCC were really good, they sent one of their staff to help and he brought all of the plants, the water, the tools and the plant protectors. We just had to provide the people-power.”
The Coastal Grant provides support to local groups and individuals wanting to help to care for the coast. More information about Coastal Grant can be found on the GORCC website.