Local environmental heroes celebrate 20 years this Friday in Gawler

Photo: File
Photo: File

Members of the community-driven South Para Biodiversity Project are celebrating 20 years of work protecting their local environment.

The project brings together public and private landholders with the aim of conserving and enhancing biodiversity across 33,352 ha south of the Barossa Valley.

This is the largest linked area of remnant vegetation in the Mt Lofty Ranges.

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board will host a celebration this Friday in Gawler to recognise the efforts of this long standing and evolving group.

Natural Resources AMLR District Manager Chris Madigan said the South Para Biodiversity Project Inc. was an excellent example of the community taking action for the environment.

"Through their local knowledge and strategic management of on-ground environmental activities, this group have brought about measurable change and improvements that involve all the major land managers across the landscape," he said.

"Important remnant vegetation has been protected since 1999 through weed control, fencing, stock removal and containment, watercourse management, and over 250,000 indigenous plants have been sown restoring about 375ha of habitat. Plus the threat posed by feral animals has been significantly reduced through strategic control programs."

The group's vice chair Helen Rapp Bourne is one of four founding members remaining on the South Para Biodiversity Project Inc. committee.

A local resident and founder of the Kersbrook Landcare Group, Ms Rapp Bourne says her passion for the environment, in particular, the South Para Region is one of the driving forces behind the project.

"It has been fantastic to see the improvements and developments over the years as well as being involved with so many committed, enthusiastic people.

People, not only individuals but also those part of different agencies," she said.

"One of the project's greatest achievements is that it brings together all these groups to work across boundaries and it is this synergy that results in cohesive on-ground action.

"Besides, the South Para area is such a magnificent place, it has been my privilege to be involved."

The South Para Biodiversity Project Inc. is supported by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board and overseen by a community committee drawn from the project partners, which include; SA Water, Forestry SA, the Department for Environment and Water, Barossa Council, Adelaide Hills Council, City of Playford, over 200 private landholders, Kersbrook Landcare Group, Trees for Life and Friends of Para Wirra.