Chrysanthemoides monilifera or as it’s know to its friends, Bitou Bush, is native to South Africa, but the subspecies rotundata has manage naturalise itself along our coast – and its not really welcome.
In an effort to eliminate Bitou, Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare volunteers plan to host a day of Bitou Bush weeding with Shearwater primary students on Friday.
The event, coordinated by class 5 teacher Julie Marx, is part of the school celebration of the Spring Equinox.
‘The growing awareness of the devastation to our coasts by our desire to live and holiday by the sea was brought into the schools consciousness during Professional Development earlier this year,’ says Marx. ‘This developed into a theme for our winter festival and now, with the spring equinox we would like the opportunity to bring the children to the dunes with a clearer picture of how we can support our precious coastline.
‘This also completes the head, heart and hands cycle, giving the individual a deeper understanding and relationship with this aspect of their past, present and future.’
The group of up to 130 students and teachers will gather at Torakina Beach and walk down to the chemical free dune care site south of the Brunswick Surf Club.
Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare project co-ordinator Nadia de Souza Pietramale says they are now working on the far south boundary of the site, where it joins Tyagarah Nature Reserve. ‘There is less than one acre of Bitou Bush primary work to be completed,’ she says. ‘There were more than 12 acres when we started.
‘Although it is a bit of a walk, it is amazing how much the volunteers have achieved in the last seven years and the high standard of the work.
‘The shape of the frontal dune has changed and Coastal Spinifex now catches the sand after storms where once the Bitou Bush formed higher dunes which were often eroded badly by storm waves.’
Nadia says that sharing these environmental achievements with the children of our community is deeply profound and rewarding for the volunteers.