Frankston Nature Conservation Reserve has had a new lease on life since being recently gazetted as a nature conservation reserve.
After nearly 100 years of isolation, the reserve – formerly known as Frankston Reservoir – is now open to the public and boasts a treasure trove of indigenous flora and fauna for the community to appreciate and enjoy. It is one of the last remaining pockets of wilderness that give an insight into the region’s biodiversity before European settlement. Despite its urban setting, the 98ha site is just 3.5km from the city centre and hosts rare, endangered and nationally significant species such as the musk duck and green hooded orchid as well as koalas, echidnas and yellow tailed black cockatoos.
The opening of the site has been a remarkable example of community spirit. The Friends of FNCR volunteer group has been operating for more than 10 years and is instrumental in maintaining the reserve’s environmental integrity, working with traditional land owners to provide cultural heritage interpretation and working tirelessly to see the successful opening of the park. Recently, volunteers joined award-winning Australian landscape architect Phillip Johnson in a big winter plant-out to recreate the entry to the reserve with a feature rain garden and billabong purpose-built to catch and purify rainwater.
The group has also focused on encouraging students in the area to join, thereby facilitating networking through important industry links and with the rangers, environmental management organisations and other local stakeholders. Said one student: “Volunteering for the Friends of FNCR group taught me so much more about Australian native flora and fauna and allowed me to appreciate how precious the reserve is for preserving and protecting a diverse and vital ecosystem. It’s been extremely relevant to my degree in Conservation Management.”
Frankston Nature Conservation Reserve is accessible via Jeremy Way and is open to the public from Thursday to Sunday, with rangers on hand to answer any questions visitors may have. The series of walks are signposted at the entrance to the reserve. Anyone is welcome to join Friends of FNCR and can get in contact with the group via Facebook at facebook.com/friendsoffrankstonreservoir/