Amanda Henry is a busy mum of five young children. Her daily ‘To Do’ list is long and now includes rallying the community on Facebook to unite to ‘Help Ed Rebuild His Garden’.
That is the name of the Facebook page she created in response to learning the Department of Industry Lands engaged a contractor to poison plants on a reserve on High Street in Taree. For the last 14 years, Ed Rotgans has lived next to the reserve and about eight years ago he ventured into the overgrown, weed-infested reserve to “pull a few weeds”.
One weed at a time, Mr Rotgans worked to clear the reserve. He knew it was not his land but “no one cared for it” and believed it would be “nice for people to see something other than weeds when they drive past.”
“You couldn’t walk through it. It was dense with lantana and privet, tobacco bush and camphor laurel. The lantana was so dense that I couldn’t see traffic coming around the corner and so I began.”
Amanda watched the reserve slowly change. She says she did not know the name of the man she saw working to transform the land, but was “impressed by what he achieved.”
“It was an overgrown mess, it was nothing but an eyesore, it was gross,” Amanda said.
“I’ve seen him working out there so often and over time he has made it into something that is lovely to look at and the community values.
“I think it would be nice if the community acted to support Ed. It is clear that people are not happy about what has happened and we should do something.”
Amanda says she intends to contact the Department of Industry Lands to learn what plants can be used on the reserve and is asking the community to ‘Like’ the Facebook page to learn how they can help Ed to rebuild his garden.