Hello Environmentality Listeners,
Today Jaime chatted with Robert Bender from the Friends of the Organ Pipes National Park (FOOPS), Smokey dropped by a little later towards the end of the show. Robert has been a member of FOOPs since 1983.
Located off the Calder Hwy in Sydenham, The Organ Pipes National Park is the smallest national park in Victoria. The significance of the park is the basalt columns or organ pipes, a volcanic formation that formed when volcanoes erupted 1 to 2 million years ago to fill in the old river valleys. The area was initially used as a ground to teach geology students about volcanism.
|Courtesy of FOOPS|
FOOPS was established in 1972 when the group volunteered to restore the park from pastoral land filled with weeds, pest and rubbish to its natural state. In 1973 FOOPS propagated seeds in the park, and after 15 years the trees were inhabited by animals. An animal study conducted by the Arthur Riley Institute discovery of 7 species of bats lead to the installation of 10 bat boxes in 1992. 27 additional boxes have since been installed totaling 37 bat boxes with a count of 470 bats. Sugar gliders were released into the park in 1989. The sugar gliders eat the black wattle sugar turned into gum in the winter. Unfortunately as the black wattles were all planted during the same period they also all died in the same year, so all of a sudden there were no trees and the sugar glider population was greatly impacted. However it is great news to hear that new trees were planted which are now coming into maturity and the sugar gilder population is growing. Weeding continues to be an ongoing project due to pest such as the Artichoke Thistle, African Boxthorn and the Prickly Pear.
|Courtesy of foter.com|
The park is extraordinarily active with monthly working bees and bat, frog, sugar glider and water studies. Robert stresses the significance of volunteers to the restorative success of the park, however with decreases in volunteers numbers, more volunteers are needed to help continue the fantastic work done so far. Given that it will take about 500 years to restore the ecosystem, and out of the 300 species needed to restore the park to its natural state only 50 species has been reestablished, Robert reminds us all that ongoing commitment along with a much better funding and support system is needed to ensure that the incredible work by FOOPS continues into the future.
Anyone can join the group and any of the projects. To join you can contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963. You can also email Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org or Terry Lane at email@example.com.
We would like to thank Robert for coming on to the show and showing us what can happen when a group of volunteers get together to work on a common goal!
For more information about FOOPS you can access the link to their website here
Listen to the podcast here
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