Refugees at work protecting Werribee’s historic gardens
Karen refugees have been volunteering to propagate rare and valuable plants at Werribee Park as well as helping to eradicate the park’s feral rabbit infestation using their pet ferrets.
The refugees are producing seedlings for the park and also clearing out the rabbits which are endangering the park’s valuable plant collection.
According to Werribee Park Area Chief Ranger James Brincat, the effort is part of Parks Victoria’s ‘Reclaim our historic garden beds’ project.
“Working in partnership with AMES Australia volunteers from our local CALD communities, together with dedicated Parks Victoria horticulturists we have re-purposed the old glasshouses and turned them into propagation houses,” James said.
“The project has produced considerable numbers of plants which does mean considerable savings to the community through volunteer activities,” he said.
But James said the propagation effort would be pointless the rabbits were not controlled and prevented from eating the seedlings.
“The propagation work would all be for naught if we didn’t run a rabbit control program at the same time,” he said.
“In the gardens for safety reasons we are limited in what we can do – we can’t bait, rip up or use gas but we can ferret,” James said.
“Working with our local CALD community on the ferreting, we have managed to keep our bunnies at bay. In the past year 360 rabbits were removed from the gardens beds surrounding the Mansion through ferreting.
“Members of local communities also helps with the digging up of burrows and restoring the garden beds,” he said.
AMES Australia Senior Journalist