A wave of passionate volunteers working to protect South Australia’s coasts
The Semaphore Largs Dunes Group is a driven group of volunteers who care deeply for their local coastal environment. The group formed in 2018 and have been regularly working since it’s inception to care for the sand dunes of the Semaphore and Largs area. They work closely with other local environmental groups, including the Taperoo and Tennyson Dunes groups and collaborate with the local council to create a widespread impact.
Between them, the volunteers have great knowledge of the local native plant species and the best practices to manage and care for the sand dunes. They learn from each other and share their knowledge with new volunteers. For the majority of the year, the volunteers meet once a week for a couple of hours on Monday mornings. Many of them also form smaller groups with other volunteers to tackle a specific area of the dunes which they may work on whenever it suits them. The volunteers gear up with gloves and hi-vis vests and then it’s off to work they go.
In the autumn and winter months they plant native seedlings within the sand dunes to facilitate ecosystem restoration. Throughout the year, they water and care for the plants, weed and collect rubbish. Weed species are an issue as they have deep roots and tend to colonise, smothering native plants which has consequences for the functioning of the ecosystem and the native wildlife that inhabit the dunes. Dune onion weed, Sea Spurge, False Caper or Geraldton carnation Weed and Blanket Weed are the main weed species the volunteers work hard to remove.
You can help local biodiversity by planning local coastal species in your garden. For more on this, see info at the end.
The amount of rubbish that winds up in the sand dunes is alarming. Cans, wrappers, single-use plastic items, clothing, shoes, nappies, bottles, toys, cigarette butts, lids and an array of miscellaneous plastic objects have been littered throughout the sand dunes. This impacts on the wildlife within the dunes and local marine ecosystems. The group works hard to ensure the sand dunes are healthy, clean and thriving ecosystems.
Alongside their weekly events, they participate in Clean Up Australia Day in March each year. The Group encourages wider community participation, seen through their connections with School Strike 4 Climate- Adelaide and Young Greens from Adelaide University. The group also hosts guided walks along the beach to engage and educate locals. This has enabled different groups and individuals to experience the beauty of the coastal environment and learn about it’s significance. The group would love to see more community participation, especially through connecting with local businesses and companies, to share their knowledge and help others to learn more about the environment.
The Semaphore Largs Dunes Group is a wonderful asset to the community. The group hosts guided walks along the beaches to engage locals and educate others on the significance of the sand dunes and why they must be cared for. The time, effort and passion the volunteers put into their work is of great value to the environment and community.
Also check out:
- the Taperoo Dunes website (just North of Semaphore/ Largs) for photo and info on dunes, plants, birds, insects, reptiles and pests.
- the City of Charles Sturt Local Coastal Plants guide
- the Port Environment Centre local plant list + brochure
A massive thank you to the Semaphore Largs Dunes group for providing the information and photographs for this post and for their hard work to protect the local environment and educate the community.
Keep up the amazing work!