Melton West, Victoria, Australia, February 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Lyn Holdsworth, president and coordinator for the Friends of Toolern Creek, has been recognized by Worldwide Who's Who for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in park renovation.
Ms. Holdworth saw a need, and with the help of many individuals comprising The Friends of Toolern Creek, transformed a once-neglected stretch of creek frontage in the shadow of the Western Highway overpass in Melton into a lovely park for families to visit. As recently as 2005, it was the focus of anti-social activity and vandalism, and rubbish was dumped regularly. Over a relatively short time the park has emerged as a haven for native wildlife and natural beauty. The ancient red gum trees leaning over pools of water in the creek create an atmosphere of tranquility. The Friends group has been in operation for only a few years but they have conducted extensive plantings of locally indigenous plants, and they conduct planting and maintenance activities on a weekly basis throughout the year.
When the Friends of Toolern Creek initially began working along the highly degraded section of Toolern Creek between the Western Highway and the railway line in Melton, the creek was characterised more by its extensive weed and rubbish infestations and erosion, rather than its natural values. Out of necessity, the Friends group spent much of its first year clearing weeds and rubbish from along this section of once neglected creek corridor.
Lyn initially did not have much experience with how to control weeds and to restore the natural landscape along the creek corridor. However, by nature she is very open to new ideas and learning new ways to do things. As a result, Lyn consulted widely and quickly learnt many of the key principles that are required to successfully restore a degraded creek. Since the group's inception Lyn has coordinated all of the group's projects, which has included working with contractors and agency and government staff on projects, and supervising volunteers working on group projects.
The public land reserve along Toolern Creek in Melton has been transformed through the efforts of the Friends of Toolern Creek, which has included the planting of 168,000 indigenous trees, grasses and shrubs. This revegetation work by the group since 2005 has transformed the creek corridor into a highly valued community asset with enhanced environmental values, including improved water quality and habitat for local fauna. Toolern Creek is now a refuge for wildlife, such as frogs and birds, and a platypus has been sighted in the creek.
The amenity and passive recreational values of the Toolern Creek corridor in Melton have also significantly improved as a result of the work of the Friends group. The Toolern Creek reserve now features park benches, a rotunda and large boulders for walkers and cyclists to sit on, where they get to enjoy the creek environs while sitting under towering old red gums, some of which are thought to be up to 300 years old. The Toolern Creek reserve is now a pleasant people-friendly park that is well used by the local community.
Lyn has a wonderful capacity to relate with all sorts of people regardless of their ages or backgrounds. She spends a lot of time building relationships and partnerships, and the group as a result has effective on-going partnerships with a wide range of agency and government staff, which are able to assist with the group's projects along Toolern Creek. The group gets support from a broad range of partners including Melton City Council, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Western Water, Melton Toyota, Southern Rural Water, CFA, DSE and other authorities.
Among Friends of Toolern Creek's objectives are to:
• provide support for and to foster public awareness of the creek reserve and Toolern Creek
• support the effective conservation of local native flora and fauna
• monitor the health and quality of the Toolern Creek by testing on a regular basis
Over the last few years the Friends group has organised a major annual community environmental festival, i.e. the Platypus Festival, which is held next to Toolern Creek in Melton. The Festival is another of Lyn's "babies" and she is constantly looking for ways to make it better and more attractive to more people, and to get more people involved. The Festival brings environmental issues and the activities of local environmental groups to the local community, and showcases the work local volunteers do to enhance the environment. The Festival also offers the community a chance to learn why waterways are important; and how we can all play a part in taking care of, and making a difference to, our environment. The Festival is now the leading environmental event in Melton, and it attracts hundreds of people, especially families.
Ms. Holdsworth is a member of Rotary International. She is a Paul Harris Fellow Award recipient, bestowed to her by Rotary International.
She won the Dame Phyllis Frost Award, which recognises outstanding commitment to the principles of sustainable communities in 2008.
For more information about Friends of Toolern Creek, visit http://www.fotc.com.au
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