The award-winning ANGAIR Wildflower and Art Weekend will be back in Anglesea on September 17 and 18 this year.
Want to take a guided tour to some of Anglesea’s finest wildflower spots? Wander around the magnificent displays of indigenous flowers in the Anglesea Memorial Hall? Buy some local plants for your garden—or swap some environmental weeds for indigenous plants? Let the kids get up close and personal with Roaming Reptiles’ menagerie of Australia’s snakes and lizards? Buy a local nature-inspired art work?
Those are a few of the attractions at the annual show that last year won the Surf Coast Shire’s Community Event of the Year award.
The show is now as embedded in the Surf Coast community as ANGAIR itself. ANGAIR—officially the Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna—was established in 1969 to help protect the area’s native flora and fauna and maintain the natural beauty and environments of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.
The first show was held the following year. Show proceeds go towards the organisation’s educational and environmental protection activities which, over the past 47 years, have notched up an impressive record.
ANGAIR has been a driving community force behind the return of several environmentally significant areas of land along the coast into public ownership. It campaigned and raised funds to purchase private land at Urquharts Bluff, Pt Addis Ironbark Basin and parts of the O’Donohue and the adjoining Mansfield land west of Anglesea were acquired.
It was also a community consultant in the 2002 landmark agreement to manage the future of the unsung hero of the area—the Anglesea Heath that is registered on the National Estate. The agreement was the first partnership in Australia between conservation agencies and a mining company, Alcoa, to manage an area to international standards to ensure its extraordinary biodiversity.
The heathland behind Anglesea contains about one-quarter of Victoria’s flora, some 620 plant species. Eight of those are rare or nationally threatened and even more are rare or threatened within the State. Two species occur nowhere else in the world. And more than one-quarter of Victoria’s terrestrial orchids occur in the heath. It is also home to 29 mammal species, more than 100 bird species and several fish and reptile species.
But ANGAIR’s activities are not restricted to lobbying for more environmentally sensitive policy decisions. It has a hands-on approach to conservation.
Volunteer weed busters go out weekly to destroy environmental weeds such as Boneseed, Sallow Wattle and other nasties on public land. For the scientifically minded, there’s a monthly microscope session to examine the finer details of our local plants.
A plant propagation group meets weekly to raise indigenous plants for sale to residents and at local markets. The group also works with the Anglesea Primary School to teach children about their local flora, helping them plant and maintain the school’s lovely native gardens.
Then there are monthly bird-watching trips and weekend bushwalks so that residents and visitors can enjoy and learn about the rich and diverse natural environments within the Surf Coast Shire.
The ANGAIR Wildflower and Art Weekend is an annual showcase for something much more enduring—the commitment to, and preservation of, one of Australia’s most beautiful and richest natural environments.
The ANGAIR Wildflower and Art Weekend is on September 17 and 18 at McMillan Street, Anglesea, open 10 am to 4.00 pm.
Artists can enter studies of flora or fauna or the Australian environment in any medium until September 5. Entry forms are available on the website angair.org.au. .