One of the Mornington Peninsula’s most treasured bushland areas and an important biolink for local fauna and flora, needs to be protected and maintained as a recreational and environmental resource.
The Devilbend Foundation is a group of volunteers that maintain the 422-hectare Devilbend Reserve. It works in partnership with Parks Victoria and Devilbend Landcare.
Spokesperson Marnie Fizsimmons stated that the primary focus of maintaining the reserve was to keep it clean and free from rubbish. It was also important to maintain its status as a wildlife corridor in this era of rapid population growth and residential development.
The reserve is a key habitat for birds in the region. There are regular weeding sessions and clean-up sessions. Additionally, monthly bird counts are held at the Woods Reserve.
However, due to the impact of COVID-19 and the expected attrition rates of mostly-elderly volunteer volunteers, the group needs more members.
COVID has made it impossible for us to do much in recent years, so we have a lot of work ahead of us, but even fewer people, Ms Fitzsimmons stated.
Many of our volunteers are older, which is great. However, we still need younger adults who are active and reasonably fit.
Ms. Fitzsimmons explained that the reserve has seen an increase in its use during COVID. This was due to the five-kilometre travel limits, which encouraged locals to explore further afield.
She said that many people use the reserve, but they also leave rubbish, which creates additional problems for those trying to maintain it.
According to Landcare groups there is only 18% of the peninsula’s native vegetation remaining. The reserve acts as a refuge for wildlife and provides an important habitat.
The reserve also contains the largest inland water body in the peninsula, which is increasingly popular among young recreational users.
The reserve’s lowland forest, reservoirs, and shoreline provide habitat for wildlife and recreational space. People flock to the reserve to enjoy picnics and fishing photography, birdwatching, and other water-related activities.
Ms. Fitzsimmons explained that because there was no government money to fund the reserve, volunteers were even more important in protecting and maintaining the natural environment.
Anyone who would like to volunteer with the Devilbend Foundation should email Ms Fitzsimmons at [email protected]
First published in Western Port News, 9 February 2022