If there is a better way to spend an early autumn Sunday than planting trees with friends and neighbours, I'm hard pressed to think of it. Despite the challenges of social distancing during this Covid-19 pandemic, the Braidwood Urban Landcare Group (BULG) held their latest working bee and the official opening ceremony at Flood Creek Park this weekend.
This event was the last component of the Flood Creek Community Recreational Precinct Project (a mouthful, I know!), funded late in 2016 by the NSW Government's Stronger Communities Fund.
The funding enabled the installation of two outdoor gyms, four beautifully crafted timber park benches - created and installed by the Braidwood Men's Shed - and about 60 ornamental and productive trees, planted and tended through the fierce summer, by community volunteers.
The fruiting trees include quince, crabapple, cherry and dogwood varieties and three chestnuts. These will all be beautiful specimens in spring and autumn, provide delightful summer shade, and increase our community's self-reliance for food production.
On this glorious Sunday morning, a crew of about 20 volunteers, plus a few kids, gathered along the Flood Creek Footpath, beside Bombay Rd. Keeping 1.5 metres apart at all times, we worked in the fresh air and sunshine to add another planted element to this new Braidwood parkland.
The Braidwood Garden Club generously donated 10 "Braidwood Brilliance" waratahs, and our groups joined forces to plant these local beauties alongside the footpath. We also planted spring bulbs - including daffodils, jonquils, tulips, and grape hyacinth - around the bases of the fruiting trees, in their beautifully mulched beds.
We can now sit back and wait for spring to give us the first taste of what this outdoor space will offer our town in years to come, as the trees blossom and the daffies nod their cheery yellow heads.
After the work, Mayor Tim Overall and Councillor Pete Harrison from Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, and Nick Fry from the Braidwood Community Bank, made speeches, and unveiled a sign recognising the donors and supporters of this community initiative. (John Barilaro couldn't attend, but sent apologies.)
We then enjoyed a short martial arts demonstration by kids from the Motion Ninja Academy, run by Hollie Bakerboljkovac. The outdoor gym and the grassy spaces of Flood Creek Park have become a great outdoor dojo training space for this active group.
The path is a regular route for dog-walkers, joggers and exercisers, kids and cyclists, and for others in their daily commute across town.
BULG are very proud of this outdoor park space, and are thrilled to see more people enjoying its beauty and amenity. It is a marvellous natural asset, which is just coming back to life after recent rains. Now, more than ever, these open spaces are vitally important to our health and well-being and our sense of community and place. So, be sure to walk, sit quietly and listen to the birds in the creek, and perhaps even try a few chin-ups.
This has been a community-driven project from beginning to end, and was made possible by the financial and in-kind support of so many. The NSW Government provided the major funding, along with smaller grants from the Veolia Mulwaree Trust and the Braidwood Community Bank.
Clare Marsh, from Bunyip Jungle Nursery donated cherry trees, and the Garden Club donated the waratahs and many of the bulbs (special thanks to John Tuckwell for his work). Christine Malmberg donated others from her garden. The Men's Shed built and installed the seats.
QPRC have been very helpful throughout, donating soil and mulch, and provided support and advice as needed. The Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council helped us run our planting days and provided equipment and supplies to make these events safe and efficient.
By far the biggest thanks, however, must go to the community members who put in their love and sweat to help make our bit of the world a better place. Thanks to you all.
Annie Duke is secretary of the Braidwood Urban Landcare Group.