Butts binned in Littleton Gardens campaign – litter down 80%

Volunteer gardener, Geoffrey Grigg asking Bega locals to 'Bin Your Butt' Photo: Ian Campbell
Volunteer gardener, Geoffrey Grigg asking Bega locals to ‘Bin Your Butt’ Photo: Ian Campbell

A simple campaign to rid Bega’s Littleton Gardens of dirty cigarette butts is working, as spring takes hold and new growth claims its place.

Volunteer Gardener’s Geoffrey Grigg and Marshall Campbell erected handmade “Bin Your Butt” signs throughout the garden three weeks ago.

“We’ve seen an 80% reduction in the amount of cigarette butts littering the lawn and garden areas,”  Geoffrey says.

“The number of cigarette butts being dropped or left behind was starting to get people down and make it hard to use and love this space, and cleaning it all up was a big part of our work.”

The recent addition of the Aboriginal ‘Biggah Garden’ prompted the action.

“This is Yuin Country and we need to treat it with respect,” Geoffrey says.

“The response from smokers has been very positive, no one has raised a concern or issue, once you point it out to people you start to see a change.”

The volunteer green thumbs would love to see the same response spread across the town.

“Everywhere you go you find cigarette butts, we just need to be more mindful of our actions,” Geoffrey says.

New signs will be displayed in the Garden shortly to update the message and maintain the momentum, and Council will soon add designated ‘but out’ bins to existing garbage bins.

With one problem solved the next is being tackled – bindies!

“It’s a big job, but we’ve been pulling them out by hand and trying to avoid the use of chemicals, this is a food garden after all,” he says.

A big crop of various edible greens are thriving in the spring sunshine throughout Littleton’s garden beds – lettuce, spinach, warrigal greens, lemon balm, and coriander, a donation from Bega Valley Seed Savers.

“People are invited to take a few leaves for lunch or dinner, that’s why the plants are here, just carefully pull leaves off from the base or stem so that the plant can keep growing,” Geoffrey says.

“As the weather warms up people will start to notice tomatoes and basil come through, and it won’t be long before we are eating strawberries.”

Geoffrey and Marshall tend to the garden each Wednesday and Thursday and invite people to stop for a chat.

“If you have any questions about the plants, how to pick them, how to cook with them, or if you have plants and time to donate, let us know,” Geoffrey says.

*Author is part-time media officer for Bega Valley Shire Council

About Regional, a new place for the stories of South East NSW, Podcast 10

Marshall Campbell, Sharon Zweck and Geoffrey Grigg
Marshall Campbell, Sharon Zweck and Geoffrey Grigg

The Gang Gang Cockatoos have arrived in the bush around my place, a sure sign autumn is here.

Mind you I was in Cooma this week and the trees in Centennial Park aren’t showing any signs of it.

Given that we are about to tick over into April, those leaves will soon be changing.

Autumn is a theme that runs through our conversation today.

In August 2013 many in the Bega community were outraged when Bega Valley Shire Council cut down a stand of mature Blue Gums in the town’s park.

Council felt the risk of falling limbs was too great, and to be fair some in the community backed them.

Littleton Gardens was leveled to make way for a new civic precinct.

New trees were planted but the site has been the victim of vandalism a number of times – on one night in May last year around 50 mature trees were snapped, hacked or pulled out of the ground – the communities love and connection with the space had been broken.

In the last 6 months Littleton Gardens has got its mojo back, a partnership between Bega Valley Shire Council and SCPA – South East Producers – who use the space for a weekly farmer’s market, has seen leafy greens and other vegetables planted in the park.

The community is invited to pick the crop free of charge.

With autumn plantings going in a local charity will soon start grazing in the park, taking ingredients for the weekly meals they cook and serve to people and families doing it tough.

I caught up with the two volunteer gardeners working this space, Geoffrey Grigg and Marshall Campbell, also joining the conversation Sharon Zweck Coordinator of Ricky’s Place.

Thanks for tuning in and to my partners for this week’s program, Light to Light Camps, who let you explore the track between Boyd’s Tower and Green Cape Lighthouse in style, check their website for more info.

Your feedback and stories ideas are always welcome – flick me a note to hello@aboutregional.com.au

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