Creek friends recognised

Collin Kelly, Rhonda Kelly and Cathy McDermott at Waurn Ponds Creek. (Louisa Jones) 248150_12

A dozen dedicated volunteers’ two decades of looking after 12 kilometres of the Waurn Ponds Creek has earned them a Geelong council award.

Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek recently won council’s Green Achiever Water Conservation Award for removing rubbish from the watercourse during fortnightly working bees.

“We’ve been around since the late 1990s,” said group convener Rhonda Kelly.

“We’ve pulled out mattresses, bikes, car tyres and shopping trolleys – you name it, anything that people dump.

“We plant native trees to provide a green belt for small birds, to give them protection from larger species and allow them to travel up and down the creek.

“The bird life has increased because of our activity and council’s activity.”

The group is also working to protect marine life, in particular the threatened Yarra Pygmy Perch.

“It used to live in the Yarra River, but it’s too polluted there now,” Rhonda said.

“They’re just one of the many critters in there.”

Rhonda lives a kilometre from the creek in Grovedale and hopes her work will help keep it in pristine condition for her grandchildren and future generations.

“We work hard to keep the creek clear,” she said.

Council environmental portfolio chair Jim Mason praised the group’s work planting indigenous species, propagated from locally-sourced seeds, to improve the health and habitats of the creek.

“The revegetation, rubbish removal and maintenance work this group undertakes helps promote action and pride in the broader community,” Cr Mason said.

Luke Voogt