Sunday, September 18, 2016

Outing Report: 4 September, 2016: Redwood Park

As soon as we got to the gate, we were reminded that it is spring by the wonderful display of creamy-coloured flowers on the Wonga vines, Pandorea pandorana. Wattle perfume was the next thing, with the Hardenbergia violacea providing a brilliant purple counterpart to its gold, in the complementary colour scheme typical of our district’s early spring.

We met our hosts, Hugh and Kay Krenske, at the comfortable picnic ground where we had morning tea. There we began to appreciate the work of the Friends of the Escarpment Parks(FEP), in restoring this once weed-infested portion of Toowoomba’s original rainforest and making it into a showpiece for the local ecology. Weeds were not obviously in evidence, and good quality interpretive signs have been installed, there and along the paths. Hugh explained the techniques the group had developed, learning by trial and error, to deal with the weeds that still blanket much of the Range flora, preventing regrowth of native plants. The worst of them are Madeira vine, cats claw, and African asparagus vine, all plants which were introduced to Australia as garden ornamentals. Hugh explained that they have found that the best technique has been to make careful but extensive use of herbicide, and avoid disturbing the soil by digging or uprooting weeds. (The latter would provide more opportunities for new species of weeds to gain a foothold, which is why they prefer not to do it.) They combine this with a planting programme to supplement the remnant vegetation and develop canopy, which makes future re-invasion a little harder for the weeds.

A walk across the creek and up the hill showed us just what an impressively large area is gradually being brought under control by FEP. It was a salutary reminder that even a small group can achieve a large amount, with persistence, and willingness to experiment and find the most effective techniques for a particular site.

Hugh and Kay explained that they also involve the community as much as possible, from working to get Toowoomba’s Regional Councillors on side, to sending groups of school children out to see who can collect the most Madeira vine tubers.

Walking down the hill again was like a walk through time, as we moved from the areas newly cleared of weeds, through recovering areas, to the section that has now been weed-free for many years and has been restored to its natural state.

At a time when so much of Toowoomba’s natural environment is being lost or destroyed, it was refreshing to visit a site where the process is being reversed so effectively. Thank you Hugh and Kay.

(Report and photo by Trish Gardner)

Bird List: (Compiled by Francis Mangubhai from members' sightings)

Eastern Yellow Robin, White-throated Treecreeper, Grey Fantail, Spotted Pardalote, Scarlet Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Spectacled Monarch, Striated Pardalote, Varied Triller, Grey Shrike-thrush, Bar-shouldered Dove, Peaceful Dove.

Fauna: Monitor Lizards

Hello all,
On Sunday 4th, we shared Redwood Park with members from the Toowoomba Field Naturalists as well as many other walkers who chose to enjoy the pleasant spring weather. Most of the time was spent looking at the work FEP had done in the rainforest, discussing the various weeding strategies and regeneration activities. Back at the picnic ground some of us were fortunate to see two monitor lizards writhing together also enjoying the newly arrived spring.

Regards Hugh

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