IT was truly a gift to the Coffs Coast when Alex Floyd, now 96, made the area his home after working with Forestry organisations in NSW and Papua New Guinea.
From the start he was involved in setting up the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden in Coffs Harbour, later being presented with an Order of Australia medal for achievements in botany.
“Fifty years ago a member of the Ulitarra Conservation Society and I paddled a canoe down Coffs Creek to examine the state of the natural bushland,” Alex told News Of The Area.
“We discovered a remarkable area on a bend that was still 50 percent natural bush and decided it was the perfect spot for a botanical garden, though at the time it was the night soil dump.”
After two years of lobbying, council agreed to the proposal.
“I also worked with the seed bank and herbarium,” Alex said.
“The forestry chaps would come out with their rifle and shoot down large branches of the best formed trees so we could collect the seedpods – usually three shots would do it.”
Alex also has an interest in coastal erosion and studied local ocean currents.
“We put some special blue dye from BHP into the water to establish where the main erosion problems were.”
“This helped local dune care organisations decide on their strategies.”
The Botanic Garden still holds a special place in Alex’s heart.
“I go in once a week to help out in the seed bank and with plant identification,” he said.
“I do have a favourite spot, and it’s the display of North Queensland rainforest trees.”
“The golden penda is one of my favourites and it’s good to see it used as a street tree around town.”
And is there anything else that Alex would like to achieve?
“Getting up every morning is an achievement, but my main job is to stay alive right now, and avoid the virus.”
By Monika KOZLOVSKIS