GRANITE ISLAND – Granite Island is the most visited tourist attraction in the Southern Fleurieu region with an estimated 750,000 to 780,000 visitors each year.
The community group, The Friends of Granite Island undertake on-ground work activities on Granite Island in collaboration with and under the guidance of the Department for Environment, Water & Natural Resources (DEWNR).
The main objective of The Friends of Granite Island is to revegetate the island by planting native plant species and managing introduced weeds.
Friends of Granite Island Team Leader Dr John Biggins said it’s intended to enhance the experience of visitors to the island as well as improve the habitat for native fauna, especially the local penguin population.
“We plant on average around 1500 seedlings each year and now propagate many of these seedlings at our nursery established at the Encounter Centre,” Dr Biggins said.
Dr Biggins said the estimated visitor numbers indicates that the appeal of Granite Island has not been significantly diminished.
“This tends to suggest that the island's attraction for many visitors is its natural attributes. A key goal of the state government's new policy regarding future management of the state's natural parks system is an increased contribution from local communities in the care of parks,” Dr Biggins said.
The Friends of Granite Island has regular working bees on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from 8am to 11am.
“As with many volunteer groups, we struggle with low membership numbers, especially given that the work can be physically challenging. However, we are fortunate to have a dedicated core of members that make the regular commitment,” Dr Biggins said.
“We take a lot of enjoyment from the island, but are prepared to give back to the island through our revegetation works program.
“Our rewards are the friendships made, healthy exercise in a magnificent setting and most importantly, gratification from knowing that we will leave a legacy and footprint from our efforts; such as a revitalised island with improved natural resources to be enjoyed by all visitors.”