Yarra Catchment Spotlight: Friends of Wilson Reserve

, By Yarra

There are many dedicated community groups that are helping to protect Melbourne’s environment and waterways. Today, our Yarra Catchment Spotlight shines the light on the great work of Friends of Wilson Reserve.

Friends of Wilson Reserve

Wilson Reserve is a Council-owned patch on the north bank of the Yarra, jammed between sports fields, Ivanhoe public golf course and suburban housing estates.

The group formed in April 1996, to organise volunteer work to help restore the bushland of part of the Middle Yarra, from its very degraded state. We are now approaching our 25th anniversary – almost 300 working bees and newsletters, and about 40,000 hours of volunteer effort over a quarter century.

(Pictured: Mid-week weeding at one of the Friends of Wilson Reserve sites between the river and golf course)

We generally weed (100 species of weeds!) 10 months of the year and plant 2 months, depending on whether it’s a wet or dry year. We’ve completed 270 monthly frog surveys, recording seasonal behaviour of our 8 local species, monitored our 22 bat roost boxes 160 times and accumulated 5000 bat capture records of 5 bat species, and have contributed hundreds of records to Fungimap and iNaturalist, assembled a bird list of 130 species.


(Pictured: A Sugar Glider family in one of the Friends of Wilson Reserve’s nest boxes)

(Pictured: A Peron’s Tree Frog found on a recent monthly frog survey)

We meet the 3rd Sunday most months for a 2-hour working bee at some site along the 1 km of riverbank trails and usually finish up with a morning cuppa and a cake and much friendly chat. I’m out in the woodland every day for an hour or two of weeding and watering, to keep reveg sites in good condition.

(Pictured: The November working bee, removing mainly Tradescantia from a small copse of woodland)

Our next working bee is on Sunday, 13 December, from 10 a.m., and will be a mix of planting and weeding. To find out exactly where, contact Robert Bender on redneb.trebor@gmail.com, or 0487 331 728.

Keep up to date with their latest activities and follow Friends of Wilson Reserve on Facebook

(Pictured: An Eastern Yellow Robin, which is a very abundant species in the local area)

Thank you to Robert Bender for providing the text and images for this Yarra Catchment Spotlight