At BAAG we place a high importance on the parklands which surround us. We are fortunate to be located in an area with high environmental and cultural significance, and are keen to make our contribution to this important area. We have been a partner in numerous revegetation and public awareness projects in the local parklands for over 25 years.
Currently there are two things which may impact on this important area, looming North East Link works, and the Bulleen Cultural Precinct advisory Committee (we will let you know more about this soon). Therefore, we thought we would let you know more about this “jewel in the crown” of our local area, and BAAG’s role.
BAAG has worked with Parks Victoria, friends groups, community and school groups, water authorities, local business and state and local governments to produce strong outcomes for the environment and the community. BAAG has built into its Environmental Policy and meeting topics a policy of actively promoting the expansion of the Yarra Valley Park wildlife corridors through habitat creation in private spaces and residential gardens. We plan to further develop our understanding of the urban ecology, connecting public and private spaces with indigenous plants and native fauna.
Spreading the word and involving the community
At BAAG we love the area and want to share the many benefits of connecting with nature in this bushland in the midst of suburbia. We frequently lead walks through the adjacent parkland to introduce our neighbours to this hidden natural wonderland, often through the council spring outdoors programs and through events such as Gaia Night. These walks involve showing people the area and how it can be revegetated. They are also often motivated to introduce indigenous plantings into their own nearby gardens. Community tree plantings, often with the Friends of the Yarra Valley parks are a good hands on way to connect people with their natural world while enhancing it. The importance of nearby parks and bush has been demonstrated so clearly during the covid pandemic.
Indigenous Gardens and Revegetation of parklands.
BAAG has been developing indigenous gardens between the Yarra River and its property in conjunction with Parks Victoria staff since 1996. BAAG is actively working on the re-vegetation of the Little Bolin billabong and White Flats, 10 acres of Parks Victoria parkland adjoining BAAG. This area is a strip of bush sandwiched between suburbia, a busy road, an industrial zone and the Yarra River.
Initially, the site contained severe weed and degradation problems, and other problems due to previous site practices and the adjacent industrial area. The site is particularly suitable for developing indigenous gardens because it has a range of topographical features within a relatively small area allowing the development of themed plantings.
BAAG has contributed on-ground wages and revegetation contractors’ payments, as well as developmental and administration costs. We have also introduced nest boxes to the area to encourage native wildlife back to the site.
The work carried out has enhanced both the BAAG and park visitor experience, improving the aesthetic, ecological, cultural, educational and functional experience of the park. It has been recognised by Parks Victoria Ranger and botanist Cam Beardsell as one of best examples of suburban revegetation. The indigenous gardens are adding visual amenity to the park as they are screening the busy road and industrial area from the river.
Over the years we have had hundreds of volunteers helping to plant out thousands of indigenous tubes, both as part of National Tree Day as well as other events organised by BAAG. The eager volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds, including the local scouts, park friends groups, schools as well as the wider community. The days generally include tours of the local parklands, litter collection, weed removal… and a BBQ to finish off. Many of the people who attend the events were not previously aware that such a natural landscape existed locally and are amazed by the diversity of life in such a small area.
Rain Garden – Storm water Retention Basin Project
Prior to the installation of the raingarden retention basin, the high proportion of hard surfaces on the land adjacent to the Little Bolin Billabong resulted in stormwater surges continually causing erosion to the pathways and steep slopes heading towards the river. The stormwater regularly contains a degree of rubbish and pollutants that have a potential to enter into the Yarra river system.
With the support of Parks Victoria, Bulleen Art & Garden teamed up with the Friends of the Yarra Valley Parks to gain a $10,000 grant from the Australian Government Envirofund to build a retention basin along the stormwater course between the industrial estate and the Yarra parklands. The project involved the excavation and construction of an 8 metre by 15 metre retention basin and the stabilisation of the walking path and adjacent banks within the park.
Our site continues to be an effective raingarden filtration and retarding system for stormwater to this day and has provided the local community, including the employees in the local business with a scenic and relaxing location to unwind from the stresses of modern life while getting more in touch with the natural environment.