Backyard Bushcare Program in Forster Forster, Tuncurry by Dave Brazier - April 23, 2015April 23, 2015 Over 60 people attended Great Lakes Council’s launch of the exciting new Backyard Bushcare Program in Forster on Wednesday 18 March. “It was fantastic to see so much community interest at the launch of this sensational new program to help protect the beautiful natural environment of the Forster area,” said Council’s Manager Parks and Recreation, Mr Andrew Staniland. “With another 40 people wanting to attend but unable to book in due to venue space restrictions, we are excited to be running a second night shortly,” said Mr Staniland. The program emphasises the important role that having a “bushland friendly” garden can have in protecting nearby native bushland. The launch night saw presenters from Great Lakes Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service (Great Lakes area) and the local Dunecare group speak about local biodiversity, the threats posed by invasive weed species and the many ways people are able to get involved in the Backyard Bushcare Program. “With finger food, drinks and plenty of opportunity for discussion, the evening was enjoyable and informative for all who attended,” Mr Staniland said. The Backyard Bushcare Program is part of a larger Federal Government funded project jointly managed between Great Lakes Council and the local National Parks and Wildlife Service to help protect the biodiversity of the Great Lakes coastal strip. Backyard Bushcare is about local residents getting involved in their own gardens to help protect natural bushland. Approximately 65% of bushland weeds in Australia are “garden escapees” – plants originally brought in as attractive garden plants which have, through seeds spreading or green waste dumping, jumped the fence and invaded natural areas. Weeds have no boundaries and happily spread between gardens, farmland, Council reserves and National Parks. With this in mind, it is very important that weed control be tackled cooperatively across all land tenures. “By working together, we can all help to maintain the incredible natural beauty of Forster,” Mr Staniland said. The Backyard Bushcare Program provides a number of ways to get involved and learn about weed issues, make a difference in your local environment, as well as making your own garden more beautiful and wildlife-friendly. For more information, contact Great Lakes Council.