The Tenterfield Naturalists group was established in 2004 primarily to conserve an area of Reserve Crown land on the south-eastern side of town that had been neglected in recent years and become infested with woody weeds and rabbits. The restoration and rehabilitation of the 20 hectare Tenterfield Park was deemed important to enhance its values as remnant woodland featuring the New England Peppermint and the Endangered Ecological Community of Yellow Box and Blakely’s Red Gum, and to develop a wildlife corridor and habitat for native birds and animals.
In addition the group sought to address the need for public education on the park’s environmental and historic heritage values based upon previous land uses, and to provide an area for recreational and aesthetic enjoyment. The group also endeavours to visit other areas of interest and holds meetings with presentations on interesting topics.
This small volunteer group includes people with qualifications and experience in farming, geology, horticulture, forestry, and data analysis. They have spent countless hours removing and controlling weeds, planting and maintaining native plant species endemic to this area of Northern New England NSW, mowing walking tracks and firebreaks and completing minor earthworks to provide water sources and habitat for wildlife in order to restore the ecological and recreational values of this site. The group also developed a picnic area with tables, benches and a fire place in the upper portion of the park. Walking tracks constructed from stone and gravel are being constructed to connect the different ecological settings in the park. Numerous signs along these tracks identify both the different environments and plants.
Success with various funding applications has enabled the group to develop a brochure, install plants signs and interpretive signage and an information board, buy appropriate work equipment and supplies, and commission a professionally conducted flora and fauna survey. Tenterfield Park has become an important asset, both in terms of urban biodiversity and as a recreational area to the town. Tourists and residents now have the opportunity to learn more about the local ecology and enjoy this interesting and beautiful area.