Bellingen Shire Council is proud of the 24 Section 355 Committees that undertake the care, control and management of Council facilities including halls and parks.
With Volunteers Week being celebrated from 11-17 May Council would like to acknowledge one of the lesser known groups; the Bellingen Island Reserve Committee.
Bellingen Island is a hidden gem nestled along the Bellinger River just to the west of Lavenders Bridge. Although small it is the only significant remnant of the floodplain rainforests of the lower Bellinger River, a rare rainforest of white booyongs, strangler figs, giant stinging trees and more.
Visitors will discover rare mammals, birds, plants and insects. Bird lovers will find species seldom sighted in town including noisy pittas, russet-tailed thrushes, little shrike thrushes, wompoo pigeons. Wild birds include sea eagles, goshawks and kites.
The Island is home to a maternity camp of Grey Headed Flying foxes whose numbers swell seasonally. They are protected by the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act, and can be seen at dusk flying into the forests to forage for food.
Unfortunately the Island is under constant threat by weed invasion, both from adjoining urban gardens and from the periodic flooding that inundates the Island. Council instigated a planning and implementation program for assisting the restoration and revegetation of the Island in 2008. Seed collection and plant propagation was undertaken for the re-vegetation of the western end of the Island which was not originally a part of the reserve.
The Island has a dedicated core group of volunteers who work each Tuesday weeding and maintaining the rainforest. The work of the Island group has been recognised nationally when they were awarded a Nature Conservation Award at the National Landcare awards in 1999.
To get onto the Island you can walk down the ramp from the Old Caravan Park in Dowle St, North Bellingen. Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about the Island can find the volunteers on any fine Tuesday at 11.00am in the Old Caravan Park.