Celebrating 25 Years of Turners Beach Coastcare

12th August 2021 | 

25 years ago, a group of 4 residents found themselves becoming increasingly concerned about the constant threats to the local natural environment, their impacts, and the lack of response by those with authority. 

Words from Wendy Horniblow, Turners Beach Coastcare

Rather than continue to lament that someone needed to take action to address the situation, they decided to be that someone and with the help of advice from another resident, Turners Beach Coastcare Inc was formed.

Whilst the threats persist, the existence of the group has led to greater accountability, awareness, advocacy, protection, and rehabilitation opportunities when addressing concerns about the natural environment at Turners Beach. The simple objective, to protect, preserve and enhance the local natural environment, has guided the work of the group, and has contributed to the maintenance of a diverse, robust and healthy coastal ecosystem.

25 years is quite an achievement for what is essentially a group of volunteer workers. Whilst volunteers have come and gone over the years, as their circumstances changed, there has always remained a strong group of dedicated volunteers to continue the work of Turners Beach Coastcare.

Such a celebration provides an opportunity to reflect on our achievements. including the grants received, projects undertaken, weeds removed, seedlings planted, and the hours of work put in. But it has also provided for an opportunity to reflect on why we do it. I asked our volunteers to consider this question and we came up with five key reasons.

I love being out in the natural environment, enjoying the landscape, the vegetation, seeing and hearing the native fauna. I especially love the coastal environment, so being a part of Turners Beach Coastcare is a no brainer for me.”

One of Coastcare’s early slogans that was used on a brochure was – Worth looking at. Worth looking after. Turners Beach is a unique, special coastal area and we value its natural beauty, a beauty that requires care to be protected and maintained.   

Image: Turners Beach is spectacular beauty 

“Coastcare is doing important work, we make a difference and I gain a sense of achievement.”

How satisfying to walk along the shoreline, knowing that the dunes have considerably fewer weeds due to our efforts, to admire maturing planting projects that have been undertaken over the decades, to see healthy native fauna populations and to observe areas where native vegetation has re-established because of the removal of competitive weeds. Volunteering isn’t hard when there is so much satisfaction to be gained from knowing that Turners Beach is a better place for it.

Images: Before and after planting 

“I can’t think of a better volunteering activity, being part of a group of like-minded people; a great way to meet new friends who care about our environment. Basically, this group gives me a wonderful sense of community.”

Turners Beach Coastcare is a friendly and welcoming group. We value volunteers for what they have to contribute, acknowledge the work achieved and always include a social component in every event. Its not unusual to find us sitting around for an hour of more after a working bee enjoying a cuppa and chat.

Image: Arguably the best part of a working bee 

“I have time to share and I enjoy working outdoors. The hands-on activities undertaken allow me to develop new skills, learn about the environment and are a good form of exercise.”

Building capacity to care for the environment, gaining transferable skills and knowledge and being active all contribute to our personal well-being. Participation in working bees provides for this.

“I grew up at Turners Beach and was lucky as a child, to have the freedom to explore its natural environment. I think it is important that we retain as much of the natural bush as possible so that future generations can also have this experience. I also believe I have a responsibility to protect, preserve and enhance the environment for future generations. I like to think that my efforts have helped to make the world a better place.”

Most of our volunteers live at Turners Beach or have strong connections to the place. This has fostered a sense of stewardship and responsibility in our volunteers. The natural environment is continually under pressure: urban expansion, pollution and industry present significant threats but so too, is the individual who wants sea views, a private track to the beach or a slightly larger backyard.

So, what does this amount to?

Our volunteers feel connected to Turners Beach. They are passionate about the work we do and find it personally rewarding. They enjoy being part of the group; spending time together and enjoying each other’s company. The future is looking promising for Turners Beach Coastcare Inc.

If there is anyone who now feels inspired to join us, please email Wendy on [email protected]. The group will be hosting a free sausage sizzle and plant give-away at the barbeque hut near the corner of the Esplanade and Boyes Street, on Sunday 25th September, from 11am – 1 pm. Please feel free to come along and join us.