From the World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforests to the coastal wetlands of southern Moreton Bay, the Gold Coast is one of the most biodiverse cities in Australia.
With just over fifty per cent of the land surface covered in native vegetation and more plant species here than in the whole of England, it is imperative that our unique natural landscapes and wildlife habitats are protected and conserved.
The City of Gold Coast (the City) acknowledges the precious nature of our ecosystem by supporting and celebrating the efforts of green volunteers – passionate conservationists within the local community who play an active role in preserving the city’s natural heritage.
With the International Volunteer Day this month raising awareness of volunteers around the world, the City hosted the Environmental Volunteer Awards to celebrate the Gold Coast’s most effective green programs and the dedicated volunteers who participate in them.
Outstanding Contribution to our Environment 2018 was awarded to volunteers across seven programs. Among the winners were Alex and Mirella Jakimoff, who are exceptional contributors to the Beaches to Bushland Program, a group which aims to restore and enhance natural areas through various bush regeneration activities, and attracts a whopping 4000 volunteers per year. Alex has been with the program since its inception in 2007, during which time it has achieved extraordinary outcomes.
“Over 25,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted and are thriving along Currumbin Creek, aiding erosion control and creating wildlife habitat,” says Alex. “It was exciting for our group’s success to be recognised and valued by the City.”
Under its Our Natural City Strategy, the City has allocated $38 million (over three years) to a range of initiatives which protect and enhance our natural areas as well as provide nature based recreation opportunities to ensure that residents and visitors alike can continue to safely and respectfully enjoy our beloved natural spaces.
“The continuing financial support and provision of an encouraging Council has been essential,” Alex says.
Also essential to the program’s success has been the social aspect and ongoing sense of community it provides to its volunteers, with Alex and Mirella now hosting a diverse group of participants in their own home, complete with homemade quiches, cakes and coffee.
“Volunteers working to improve the city’s environment need a welcoming group which encourages return visits and ongoing participation,” says Alex.
“The strong sense of community is equally as important for volunteers as the purpose of environmental outcomes.”
Outstanding Contribution to our Environment 2018 Award recipients:
• Beaches to Bushland – Alex and Mirella Jakimoff
• Friends of Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens – Noreen Swan
• Land for Wildlife – Erina and Andy Forrest
• BeachCare – Damien and Jacob Rossiter
• Community Waterways – Daniela Wilken-Jones
• Koala Friends Program – Joanne Brierley
• Friends of Federation Walk – Arnold Wolthers
About the Our Natural City Strategy
Our Natural City Strategy looks to the years ahead, seeing the City of Gold Coast partner with businesses, research institutions, landowners and the community to restore and protect our natural city for future generations, with an aim to grow and sustain our native vegetation cover to 51 per cent.