JOIN US: Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens publicity officer Marie Matthews and work organiser Pat Offord enjoy the peace of the gardens.
JOIN US: Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens publicity officer Marie Matthews and work organiser Pat Offord enjoy the peace of the gardens. Cathy Adams

Gardens seeking friends

FRIENDS of Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens has been awarded a $5000 community grant from NRMA Insurance to continue its work developing the region's first rainforest-focused educational gardens.

The volunteer group was tireless in its 20-year effort to create the botanic gardens from a lantana "wasteland" and has just entered a new phase following the opening of the gardens in June.

It was one of 74 groups in the state this year to receive an NRMA community grant.

The money will be spent on building a pilot "audio sign" for one of the several mini-gardens spread throughout the Wyrallah Rd site, as well as installing smartphone-friendly QR codes.

"People can use their phones to scan them and it will give them a direct link to information on the tree they're looking at," Friends member Marie Matthews said.

In the long term the group plans to install audio signs and information stations all over the gardens to enliven the educational experience for visitors.

"It's for people who come when there's no volunteers available and for kids to do something interactive," Mrs Matthews said.

"We can't have someone staffing the place all the time - there's simply not enough active members."

Friends has 61 members and is keen to attract more to help develop the gardens into something special for the region.

There are only enough people to go in occasionally, and on special days for formal tours or school groups, which also use the Environment Education Centre.

"Now that we're officially open there are all sorts of jobs that need doing," Mrs Matthews said.

"We're looking for people who are willing to be trained as guides, but anyone who's willing to get in there and have a go."

They are also seeking people with IT skills to help prepare online materials and keep their website updated, and someone keen on or experienced in event management and publicity.

For more information on how to join the Friends of the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens, phone secretary Denis Matthews on 0431 223 341 or email friendslrbg@bigpond.com.



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