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Long-term weed management

Joanna Axford
Published 09 Jul 2017 by Joanna Axford

Bush Heritage volunteers have been running an amazing weed removal effort at Charles Darwin Reserve in Western Australia for around 10 years. The Charles Darwin weeds working bee is run twice a year by volunteer leader and weed expert Janet Dufall. Janet her husband Barry travel several hours from Margaret River to Charles Darwin Reserve twice a year to assess the weeds, direct the work and then put in the back breaking weed pulling hours. They are another example of the amazing people who we work with.

This June we had 13 volunteers work at Charles Darwin over a two week period removing Patterson's Curse (Echium plantagineum), Goosefoot (Chenopodium murale) and Paddy melon (Cucumis myriocarpus). The Patterson's curse was removed manually from many hectares of ground that had been cleared for cropping years ago. The other weeds were removed from around the old shearing shed. Barry has supplied the photos on this blog showing before, during and after the removal of weeds around the shearing shed. All the weeds from this site were bagged into large bags and removed from site. A huge effort! Janet reflected that it was great to see some endemic species growing in the area after removal of the weeds.

The weeds working bee brings together a group of people who have an interest in the outdoors and being active, and, want to contribute to conservation. They work hard but also enjoy the story-telling, sharing of food and general comradery of the group. As volunteer John Monaghan states, "Everyone worked well together and there was a good atmosphere created. Everyone was very good humoured and there was a lot of laughing happening. Drinks at sunset on the granite dome on Friday evening were great. With all this there was a good work commitment".

The success of the working bees reflect Janet and Barry's fantastic social and organisational skills and their great historical knowledge of the Reserve's weed situation. Bev and John Duff joined the group for a few days to help the weeding effort. John commented, "Janet is great at leading the work, she has such a wide knowledge and incorporated us into the to team from the start". John Monaghan states, "Janet and Barry played a pivotal role. Janet has great organisational skills and is happy to keep everyone focused. She planned each days work and was able to be relied on for any information needed in regard to what we were doing".

Reserve Manager William Hansen said, "The weeders that come to Charles Darwin Reserve have made an amazing and positive impact on the restoration of the native flora over the years, they are a perfect example of how the Bush Heritage Australia volunteer community enables a far greater conservation impact to be achieved on our reserves. Thank you again guys”.

Thank you to Janet, Barry and all our amazing Bush Heritage volunteers for providing us with the skills and effort needed to restore amazing places like Charles Darwin Reserve.

Site before being attacked by the weeding crew. Site before being attacked by the weeding crew.
Weeders in action Weeders in action
The site free of dreaded weeds - a huge effort! Photo Barry Dufall. The site free of dreaded weeds - a huge effort! Photo Barry Dufall.
The lovely Janet Dufall. Photo Barry Dufall. The lovely Janet Dufall. Photo Barry Dufall.
Dinner conversation. Photo Barry Dufall. Dinner conversation. Photo Barry Dufall.

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