The Jensens Swamp Environmental Reserve.
The Jensens Swamp Environmental Reserve.

Community environmental care group forced to close down

THE Friends of the Jensens Swamp group have wound up, formally bringing an end to their years of work caring for the cherished environmental preserve.

The protected swamp is a significant koala and wildlife habitat, and provides breeding grounds for native birds and other fauna.

For many years the Friends of the reserve have cared for the surrounds, participating in educational projects with local schools, and supporting initiatives to install new nesting boxes for animals, plant new flora, and install shelters, gardens, and other resources for visitors.

Due to their ageing membership, the group has quietly called an end to their formal activities, though since they live in the area, some will almost certainly continue supporting the area in their own ways.

READ MORE: Wet weather damage bill to exceed $3 million

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann thanked the group for all of their work.

“On behalf of Somerset Regional Council, I thank the Friends of Jensen’s Swamp for their invaluable service to the Somerset community,” he said.

“Over the years this group has offered great opportunities to schoolchildren to learn about horticulture and nature at the site, and the gardens created at Jensen’s Swamp were a credit to the region.”

Some new plant in the planter boxes with some help from friends.Thank You to the Somerset Community services from bringing them out.

Posted by Jensen's Swamp Koala Habitat and Environmental Reserve on Sunday, 16 September 2018

He said it was a shame to bid farewell to a longstanding community group, and encouraged younger members of the community to engage with local organisations.

“I think it is disappointing to lose any community group that takes the initiative to protect the local environment, and with the groups assistance, create a space and legacy that Council would not have been able to do in isolation,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that many of the community groups suffer from a lack of new, younger members to carry on the legacy of these community group pioneers.”

READ MORE: Past lives remain concealed for now

Management of the reserve is set to be undertaken by council staff or council-appointed contractors.

“There are no immediate plans to undertake any new projects in the reserve. Council’s focus instead will be on maintaining the existing services on offer at Jensen’s Swamp,” Cr Lehmann said.

“The ongoing partnership between Jensen’s Swamp and Council was appreciated, and personally I am very sorry to hear that the group will no longer be operating,” he said.

The reserve is located near Lowood, accessible via the corner of Brightview Road and Jensen’s Swamp Road, and is open to the public.