THE Friends of Cornish Hill group has been exceptionally busy this year as the constant work to manage, protect and enhance the reserve continues.
Cornish Hill is a piece of crown land managed by the volunteer group and a committee of management. A management plan ensures its historical significance as a mining site is preserved, while the flora and fauna on the reserve is re-established.
The Friends group coordinates an ongoing program to remove weeds along sections of the Smiths Creek corridor, with support from all levels of government, schools and community organisations, while working to protect existing flora, the waterways and create habitat for wildlife.
This year, students from Daylesford Secondary College, through the Gettin’ Dirty and Hands on Learning programs, have taken part in numerous education programs at the reserve while students from Daylesford Dharma School and Wesley College have also taken part in education programs.
“This year, groups have planted 500 grasses while last year they planted 400,” Margie Thomas, Chair Person of the group said. “They have now been planted but our role is to maintain them so they don’t become overgrown with weeds. If regular brush cutting is done around them to keep weeds down they get a chance to thrive.”
Ms Thomas said the group liked engaging school children to “create strong memories of nature and change misconceptions so they will grow up to be carers of the environment”.
During the Gettin’ Dirty program, the students planted grasses for habitat, before a presentation was hosted to educate about birds of prey.
“This helps to change their attitudes and perceptions of different animals,” she said.
Cornish Hill is a significant habitat area, with a multitude of species including birds, possums, koalas, snakes, frogs and even wombats enjoying it.
The group, with the Dharma School, undertake regular water testing of Smiths Creek, important as it dribbles into the East St Spring, which then becomes part of the Loddon. The group relies on funding for its programs.