The Merredin Branch tends to the Zig Zag Garden and Tamma Parkland. The Branch has a Herbarium with a large grass collection. The Branch holds occasional meetings with guest speakers.
Certificate as winner of the Australia Day Community Citizen of the Year Award (Active Citizenship Award – Community Group) – January 2023
Contribution to its community
The Merredin Branch of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia was formed at a meeting at the Merredin RSL Rooms in May 1991. For over 30 years this small group has contributed to the community through its work in conserving and promoting the native vegetation of the area. The group continues to be very active.
Herbarium and Reference Library. Documenting, collecting and safely storing for public reference, a comprehensive herbarium collection of plant specimens from the area, with duplicates provided to the State Herbarium. The group’s collection and reference library is made available to any interested people. When the Mukinbudin Native Plant Herbarium Group closed, their large herbarium collection and reference library were given to the Merredin Branch.
Encouraging interest in, and protecting and conserving native flora in situ (reserves, roadsides). Members encourage local residents, with information and advice, to plant suitable native plants in gardens. Members have especially helped a few residents who own significant areas of native vegetation to identify the plants and birds present on their properties.
Scott Road Flora Road. Declared under the Wildflower Society of Western Australia’s Flora Road program in 1994, Branch members nominated this road, which is still Merredin’s only designated Flora Road. In September 2022, member Heather Adamson resurveyed the road, 7.1 km long, and photographed 176 species, nearly all in flower.
Zig Zag Garden. This attractive small native plant garden was established on Barrack Street in 1996. The area was extended in 2022, with 20 additional plants established in a new area owned by Orana Cinema. The garden now has over 40 different native plant species, most of which occur naturally in the Merredin area. Branch members maintain and further develop the garden, and are progressively labelling the plants to enhance the educational value of the garden.
Tamma Parkland. In 2005 Branch members initiated and coordinated the establishment of this publicly accessible parkland of 23ha. It is a Shire of Merredin Reserve, within the town. Development support was provided by Merredin Shire Council, staff of the Department of Environment and Conservation (now DBCA) and the Department of Corrective Services Work Camp, Kellerberrin. Members documented plant, insect and bird life at the Parkland, and coordinated production of a brochure for visitors.
Merredin Peak Reserve. Branch members reviewed signage at this very popular Reserve and provided to Council a report containing their comments and recommendations. Members have provided a map and guided local people on walks to less frequently visited areas of the Reserve.
Caw street reserve. Members were the first to discover and subsequently publicise the variety of native plants growing on this previously unappreciated Shire-owned area. The group has held 5-10 working bees on the reserve for weed control and rubbish removal.
Advice and assistance to Shire Council has been provided for new plantings in the CBD redevelopment and Apex Playground upgrade.
Merredin Street Tree Master Plan. Members provided input when this Plan was audited by Council in 2019.
Merredin Plantation. Members reviewed the history and value of this plantation. In 2020 they submitted a comprehensive report, with recommendations to Council that the plantation be included on the Shire Heritage List.
Wildflowers and Wind Towers Drive. In 2022 members initiated and publicised a scenic circuit of approx. 80 km, close to Merredin. The drive passes through very diverse native bushland and beside two large granite outcrops. The circuit includes Scott Road, Merredin’s only Flora Road. The large turbines (“wind towers”) of the Collgar Wind Farm are an added attraction on this drive.
Totadgin Rock Reserve. In spring 2022 members accompanied two interstate tour groups. In preparation for these visits members did an inventory of some of the Reserve vegetation and this document is now available for use by residents and visitors.
Active citizenship and enhancement of community life
Through working bees, plant collecting activities, responding to requests for help and advice from local residents and Shire Council. Activities publicised through local paper, The Phoenix. Communications to members and supporters via Facebook and emails, telephone and text, and monthly meetings at the Herbarium.
In 2020 the Branch held a Weekend of Celebration of the new herbarium, location in the Old North Merredin Primary School Precinct. Invited guests included Shire Council representatives, former Branch members and State Wildflower Society of Western Australia representatives. Tours were conducted of local sites Zig Zag Garden, Tamma Parkland, Caw Street Reserve.
Wider community contributions
Plant specimens (duplicates of those held in the Merredin Herbarium) are provided to the Western Australian Herbarium. Locations of plants collected are documented online on Florabase https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/
Members attended and provided Annual Reports to State Meetings of Wildflower Society of Western Australia.
The Branch has hosted two State Conferences of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia at Merredin, in 2006 and 2017.