Bush Garden Springs to Life

On a perfect sunny Sunday morning on the 29th of April, Townsville City Council (TCC) and Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare (CDTLI) teamed up to host a Nature Play event in the beautiful surroundings of the Landcare Bush Garden by the Ross River in Townsville. Organised by a friendly group of staff and volunteers from TCC, CDTLI, and Dept. of National Parks Sports and Racing (NPSR), this great family event was part of the Townsville City Council 30 ways in 30 days Active Communities initiative.

With a free Nature Play QLD workshop held only the month before, this was another great opportunity for Nature Play QLD to get involved in our community up here in the Tropics. This event provided resources and ideas for parents as well as the invitation to explore an area of our great city that many would not have visited before. Townsville really is a gold mine of wonderful outdoor play spaces perfect for encouraging our little ones to explore the great outdoors and build a solid connection with nature – we just need to step outside and take a look. The banks of the Ross River has tens of kilometres of safe pathways, multiple playgrounds, facilities, places to feed ducks and turtles, kayak, watch the dragonflies, go fishing and explore bushland. You might even spot a wallaby or two along the way.

This great day out at the Bush Garden was a raging success, with 60 children pre-registered and 200 individuals (parents and children) attending in total.

Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare volunteers lead children and parents of all ages through the harvesting of seeds as well as the replanting of saplings in the Landcare Nursey. The Nature Scavenger Hunt and nature inspired craft activities as well as visitors from Hands on Wildlife had everyone entertained for the whole morning. This was an excellent opportunity to promote such a lovely natural outdoor play space, promote the great work of the volunteers and staff from CDTLI, as well as encouraging families to explore the river front and hunt for everything from spider webs to mushrooms.

The organised nature craft activity tables were a hit, with the favourite (leaf and feather mask making) being a high traffic area with the sounds of delight and excited chatter filling the air.

Leaf stamping, painting and nature crowns were all well received and a great way to inspire parents of the simple ways we can utilise natural items collected almost anywhere in our craft activites at home and school. Children of all ages including my very excited 14 month old daughter got to meet with Fred the bearded dragon and get up close and personal with several other very special guests from Hands on Wildlife, all critters who would call the NQ outdoors their home.

This was all topped off with goodie bags filled with wonderful, useful items to use on the day and take home for later – what more could parents wish for in a free community event.

The team from the Department of National Parks, Sports and Racing and TCC presented a well organised family friendly Nature Play event and fingers crossed there will be more to come to continue to encourage parents and children alike to engage in more outdoor play in this fine slice of paradise we live in. Let’s be honest, we have the perfect weather, plenty of options and really no excuse not to explore our beautiful city and its many outdoor play spaces with our kids.

We (my daughters and I), have since returned to the bush garden for our own nature scavenger hunt and the Nature Play QLD Band-Aids have been a real hit too! I think the Townsville community can really view this as a great success and an opportunity to encourage our Local Council and community partners to facilitate more opportunities like this for our families in the future. This Nature Play event allowed a great space to be promoted, children and parents to socialise and get active, and families to experience some organised as well as unstructured outdoor play. Thumbs up to all those involved in bringing this event to Townsville and to the families who participated and supported the event.

Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare often host and encourage volunteers to help with revegetation and other sustainability works in the Townsville Region and these are great opportunities for parents to learn more about our local natural environment and find other great hidden spots for exploring with kids. Head to the Nature Play QLD playlists or download the Grow with Nature Play App for more nature play inspiration – or keep an eye out on the Townsville Kids website, or TCC website for more local nature play or free TCC events in the future.

Feel free to pop along to the Coastal Dry Tropics Volunteers nursey open days. A great opportunity to get inspired and to inspire our kids to get outdoors and enjoy living and learning about nature in North Queensland!

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