Eden Field Archers are living proof that sporting clubs can play an important part in greening Adelaide. Get to know how a Grassroots Grant helped this club step up their weed game.

A woman aiming at a target and man watching during field archery in Shepherds Hill Recreation Park.

Eden Field Archers are a well-established club that has been around for more than 70 years in Shepherds Hill Recreation Park.

We got the run-down on the club’s weed-clearing work from Grants Officer Michael Blake, Secretary Geoff Fry, and club life member and Archery SA President Bruce Lang OAM.

Why is this grant project important?

Eden Field Archers are a lessee at Shepherds Hill Recreation Park, with the task of managing woody weeds as part of their agreement.

The park is a scenic blend of trails, open spaces, and stunning wildlife within the southern suburbs of Adelaide. But it was overrun with olive trees, dog rose shrubs and ash trees – especially in the creek.

Although the club had done a lot of work to maintain the area and clear the weeds, it was a “losing battle,” as Bruce described.

Friends of Shepherds Hill had been doing a lot of work to chip away at the olive trees around the national park, and the club wanted to step up their game.

How did the Grassroots Grant help?

Olive trees – while tasty – are a major pest plant that cause issues to our native plants. They choke out native trees and shrubs and stop ground-layer plants (those which only grow along the ground) from popping up, which degrades habitat for native animals.

Koala in a tree at Shepherd's Hill Recreation Park
A spectator in the park.

With the help of the grant, the club got a professional contractor in to poison the invasive olive and ash trees. From there, the club members worked through the weeds in the creek first as a priority, to address the blocking of the creek and the flood issues caused by the pest plants.

And while there will always be 1 or 2 appearances of pest plants, which will need to be monitored, they’ve successfully cleared the creek line of the weeds.

The club said that their Grassroots Grant allowed them to get professionals in to do the scale of work that wouldn’t have been possible from 1 group of people.

Native sedge has returned in droves to the club's patch of Shepherd's Hill Recreation Park!
Native sedge has returned in droves to the club's patch of Shepherd's Hill Recreation Park!

They noticed that the native sedge has made a quick recovery, along with other native grasses like wallaby and kangaroo grass – making the area look more like the Grey Box Grassy Woodland it is!

Words of advice for future grant applicants

Back your idea

An idea might seem like a no-brainer to you, but not always to others. A portion of members in the club were concerned about the idea of removing all the invasive trees and species, because they thought it might remove all the shade in the area and create a moonscape (a barren area).

But the project was still able to go ahead, and the members were able to be involved throughout.

And the results soon showed everyone what’s possible when you don’t settle for what you’re used to.

Get some professionals in

Bruce’s advice for anyone thinking about going for a Grassroots Grant was to go for it, because it can get you the professional work you need to get started.

“As much as we like to think we can do it all ourselves, you really do need to engage professionals to do some of the heavy lifting, in terms of the poisoning and that aspect, which we would never have been able to achieve on our own,” Bruce said.

Think beyond the project

The club has planned their work in stages and will look at going for grants in future to help with them. The members voluntarily continue to clear the weeds from the area in weekly get-togethers and regular working bees – including chopping up, moving and disposing of the remains.

Inspired to apply?

Grassroots grants Round 5 is open for applications until 5pm on 15 May.

It can help you bring your green vision to life in plenty of ways – from plantings to tech, shared spaces, research, habitat and more.

Get the guidelines and get ready to apply on our grants webpage.

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