The Corangamite CMA give small grants to community groups working in the natural environment. One of these grants is the Coastal Small Grants fund and one of the recipients of this fund is a group called SANE (Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment).
SANE is a group of surfers who have been looking after the Bells Beach Reserve for the past 30 years. They remove weeds, plant indigenous plant species and educate the community on how to lessen the negative impacts that they have on the environment.
When SANE started the Bells Beach reserve was heavily degraded. The dunes & cliff tops were seriously eroded, it was riddled with tracks, rubbish and weeds, there were very few native plants and the carparks were dirt paddocks. It is hard to imagine looking at it today that it could’ve been in such a sorry state. Few visitors to Bells Beach realise that the lush vegetation and wildlife they see are a direct result of the dedication and commitment of SANE.
The SANE group realised back in the 80’s that if they wanted a beautiful and healthy environment then they would have to look after it themselves. They realised that they couldn’t rely on the government or the Torquay Shire to do the work. There was a shift in thinking from blaming their local council for the state of things to realising the responsibility lies with individuals and communities to act.
The CCMA support a number of community environmental groups along the coast. If you’re involved in conservation then check with the CCMA what funding opportunities might be available to you. If you’re not involved in conservation but realise after watching this that you should be, then it might be a good idea to join your Landcare or Coastcare action group.