Community Group of the Year 2018

The Friends of Peter Murrell Reserve

The Friends of Peter Murrell Reserve have been presented with Community Group of the Year for their outstanding dedication and leadership for caring for the Peter Murrell Reserve by protecting native species and maintaining a natural haven for the whole community to enjoy and celebrate.

The nomination received for this group was incredibly comprehensive and outstanding in itself, which goes to show how much the Friends are valued in the community. The Peter Murrell Reserve is an environmental jewel in the crown in Kingborough and is known both nationally and internationally for its outstanding diversity of terrestrial orchids and rich birdlife. This year is the twentieth anniversary of the declaration of the Reserve and also of the sustained community volunteering by the Friends who support the Parks and Wildlife Service to care for this special place.

The Friends have consistently organised working bees to tackle invasive weeds and other issues; documented and encouraged public appreciation of the Reserve’s biodiversity; and acted as champions for the Reserve on behalf of the wider community.

The monthly weeding exercise alone represents more than 5,000 person-hours of volunteer work and the Friends have substantially reduced existing weed infestations, nipped new weeds in the bud and laid the ground work for sustained suppression of remaining infestations. They have also played an active role in monitoring nuisance animals and continue to mitigate the impacts of anti-social activities.

The Friends work actively to inform and educate the Kingborough community through sharing their own enthusiasm and knowledge. They have a presence at local events such as Love Living Locally and facilitate natural-history events such as bird walks with U3A and Birdlife Tasmania. They encourage people to learn about and appreciate the natural values of the area and to take up its opportunities for recreational activity in a responsible manner.

The information the group collate and document on the flora and fauna of the Reserve includes a comprehensive herbarium, photographic documentations, bird surveys and mammal camera-trapping surveys with the Parks and Wildlife Service. The long-term data provided by the Friends demonstrates the importance of the Reserve for the conservation of biological communities and particular species.

As active champions of the Reserve, the Friends support and provide specialist advice and practical help on issues such as controlled burning regimes, slashing of native vegetation on firebreaks and trails without damaging habitats, and the potential impacts of adjoining urban developments. Through such activities, the Friends demonstrate their strong commitment to community involvement and their leadership in protecting our natural areas.