One way to save an acre of wilderness from dying by neglect is to catch on camera the often fleeting, often tiny, wild flowers that live there. Then show the pictures to everyone you know! In the heart of Lesmurdie’s residential area, with a shopping centre car park on one side and a primary school across the road, there was a bit of bush that no one really noticed or cared about. Up to 2014 this sliver of remnant Jarrah forest was suffering the pressures of an uncaring humanity upon it. Grass cuttings and tree prunings were being dropped there. Cars were nosing under the trees for a bit of shade. Barrows and bucketsful of building waste were being dumped in the bush. Weeds encroached from the edges and litter was dropped everywhere thoughtlessly.
Even before the photographic evidence of endemic wildflowers reached 87 different species there was a groundswell of support to preserve this inheritance. The Lesmurdie and Districts Community Association made its preservation a prime objective. The Kalamunda Shire Council, with a long held pride in its natural environment, put it on its agenda to provide bollard fencing, gravel paths, seat and even a Gazebo. The nearby residents formed a Friends group. And on Friday 20 June before a small but auspicious gathering, six children from Lesmurdie Primary School unveiled the sign declaring it to be Willoughby Park, a historic moment for this hitherto anonymous bit of land.
Reflecting on the occasion: if we cannot see the transient beauty, the sacred qualities in a tiny piece of nature how can we ever expect to save the greater forests of the world? Perhaps we should all try to have a tiny sanctuary like this, close to home, where we can enter quietly and breathe the peace of Nature for a while.