A BEQUEST of $60,000 by Kenneth Milburn will help stop the spread of exotic plants in Kosciuszko National Park, described as one of Australia's highest and most fragile alpine ecosystems.
The initial three-year program will help locate and remove threatening plant species from the walking trails, service roads and huts from the summit of Mt Kosciuszko to the nearby alpine lakes and other high peaks.
The generous bequest was made to Landcare Australia Ltd who will work with volunteers, Greening Australia and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to ensure the program is a success.
"Working with Greening Australia and NPWS is very exciting for us and meets the wishes of Kenneth Milburn who loved the high country so much" said Jennifer Knox, Partnerships & Project Development Manager at Landcare Australia.
"Involving the community in projects such as these increases overall awareness of the importance of timely weed management and draws on the collective experience of people who frequently use the high country" she said.
During March and April Greening Australia is working with six keen volunteers to help establish a workable methodology to locate and treat weed incursions. This is in preparation for next summer's weed abatement program when more volunteers and the local community will be invited to participate.
Mel Schroder Environmental Management Officer (Monitoring) Kosciuszko National Park says "The project provides the perfect opportunity to assess the extent of weed occurrence and at the same time undertake a control program before weeds have the opportunity to spread to native vegetation communities. This approach protects the fragile alpine ecosystems and reduces the costs if weeds are not treated at the early stages of invasion."
"In recent years NPWS have noticed an increased number of exotic species along some of the more popular alpine walking tracks.
"These have the potential to be invasive and include Hawkweed, Cinquefoil, Mullein, Ox-eye daisy, St John's Wort, Sweet Vernal Grass, Timothy Grass, Yarrow and Vipers Bugloss" said Ms Shroder.
There will be a few different ways for people to get involved including an iPhone based weed alert app to record weed sightings, a weed identification brochure and information sessions.
Haydn Burgess, Greening Australia Project Manager said, "This project represents the versatility of Greening Australia's ability to work in diverse landscapes, connect with the community and actively work on ground to secure our country's natural assets."
For Mr Burgess, who has worked extensively with volunteers, this project represents a wonderful opportunity to volunteer for the environment while bushwalking and exploring a much-loved area of the Australian landscape.
Anybody interested in the volunteer component of the project or community engagement activities can contact Hayden Burgess at Greening Australia on 02 6253 3035.