Street Champion Kerry.
Project: Woodville Greening Group
Suburb: Woodville, South Australia
Kerry is a Street Champion who is part of the Woodville Greening Group. Woodville Greening Group or WGG, started in September 2020 with the aim of planting and maintaining verges and garden beds adjacent to the railway line around the Woodville Park train station.
Narrow verge planting have extended along Belmore Terrace, on the opposite of the road, in front of the RDNS building.
Another patch has also been created along Belmore Terrace to Hughes Street. Australian native plants, ground covers and small shrubs along with salvias have been the plants of choice. They are hardy, diverse, some provenance and add colour to the area.
Creating an environment supporting birds, butterflies and bees, while beautifying the local area, is core to their aim.
They hope to encourage others to plant out their verges or patches across from the railway line. All of their work has been strongly supported by Charles Sturt Council, though the Open Space Planner, Janet Willoughby, as they work on public land, this is relationship is important.
“Greening these patches opens up knowledge and skills in the community that can be shared. There may be a weed expert, someone with native plant knowledge, an avid propagator, a historian, an artist to paint stobie poles, someone with strong mosaic knowledge, a herb expert and so much more already in the community. These small groups can give opportunity for those skills to shine, share and develop.”
Kerry, what’s your best piece of advice for anyone embarking on an ‘In Our Street’ project?
“Check council requirements. Things like bin collection, underground water pipes and other cables may impact of what a group can do. Negotiate to build up a good relationship with council.
Put posters up on stobie poles or try letterboxing. A suggestion box at the local cafe asking the community what they would like in terms of a garden was great to garner support.
At the first meeting, toss around ideas. At the second meeting, chose a name and establish a Facebook page, or another easy way to communicate. Exchange phone numbers and emails.
Initially, to build up connections we met fortnightly, meetings are now monthly. Council representative came to our formative meetings.
Local demographics will determine who participates and when. Most meet on Saturday, we meet on Tuesday mornings.
As the plants grow, community interest, enthusiasm and participation will increase. Network though Facebook. Display a public sign as it also invites local artists. Talk to people in the street at your working bees.”
What has this project meant to you?
“One personal aim was to add to the local environment, diversity in flora and habitat through beautification and acutely plant choice. An added benefit has been my expanded knowledge of plants and the environment through others’ expertise.
Meeting extraordinary local people and in turn building and growing in a community while networking with other gardening/greening groups has been wonderful.
New friendships have developed with like minded people. The health benefits physically, emotionally and mentally are well documented and they just improve naturally. Giving back into a broader community as plants grow, non gardeners stop and take the time to enjoy.
Being inclusive to encourage others to participate in whatever way they are able, working across the age/ability spectrum.
Once the garden beds are established with colour and growth –the broader community show greater interest and may even ask about certain plants they admire. Regular working bees bring the community together, building trust and creating new friendships.
After some time, propagation workshops can encourage further community involvement as well as a great education/learning tool for all.
Greening these patches opens up knowledge and skills in the community that can be shared. There may be a weed expert, someone with native plant knowledge, an avid propagator, a historian, an artist to paint stobie poles, someone with strong mosaic knowledge, a herb expert and so much more already in the community. These small groups can give opportunity for those skills to shine, share and develop.”