Friends of the wetlands
The Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands have been pivotal in protecting and improving the wetlands. Les Williams, 'Old Man of the Swamp' and the group's co-founder, speaks of their many activities and achievements, including helping the wetlands gain international recognition for their significance.
This is one of six educational wetlands videos featuring the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands in Victoria, Australia.
Narrator – N1
Speaker 2 – S2 (Les Williams)
N1: Melbourne Water looks after wetlands and waterways across the Melbourne area and we really appreciate the hard work done by volunteers and friends groups to help keep our wetlands and waterways healthy.
[on-screen text: Friends the wetlands]
N1: This is, Les, also known in these parts as ‘the Old Man of the Swamp’! He’s one of the founding members of the Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetland.
[on-screen text: Les Williams, Co-founder of the Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands]
S2: The actual Friends Group was established in around about 1988 and that took off! Then of course, we had school groups coming. We were able to sort of, play host to those groups, telling people about the quality of water coming in and how the wetlands purified. And they would see the birds and they would see the plants, and they really enjoyed it. Especially, having the Old Man of the Swamp take them through. The popularity just absolutely grew.
N1: Les and the Friends Group worked hard educating visitors on the significance of the wetlands, and planting trees. They even managed to get a buffer zone put in around the area. A buffer zone is a large strip of land surrounding the wetland, protecting it against any kind of interference from traffic, housing or people.
S2: People really started to understand the importance of the wetlands, and our Friends Group certainly helped to achieve the Ramsar status for our Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands in 1996.
N1: This means the Edithvale-Seaford wetlands are now protected under an internationally recognised treaty called the Ramsar Convention, which helps ensure they are kept healthy, untouched and well-looked after. It also means the migratory birds that fly thousands of kilometres to be here, are guaranteed a place to land and spend the summer.
S1: It’s such an incredibly wonderful place, and so if anything appears to be a threat, well, our Friends group is prepared to speak up. I personally am very proud of the work that they do.
N1: We'd like to acknowledge and thank the Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands for all they've done over the years to help keep these wetlands healthy.
[Melbourne Water logo; tagline ‘Working together to keep our wetlands healthy’]