Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) is preparing to farewell its second Green Army group on 1 December 2016. The Green Army is a Commonwealth Government sponsored environmental action program for young people aged between 17 to 24.The program provides its participants with opportunities to gain practical training and experience in environmental and heritage conservation.
PAHSMA has been working closely with Green Army Service Provider, Conservation Volunteers Australia since January 2016, with Green Army teams working to protect, conserve and present the heritage values of Port Arthur and the Coal Mines historic sites. Before that, Conservation Volunteers had been supporting PAHSMA, as part of the ‘Your Community Heritage’ program to protect and maintain the Coal Mines Historic Site.
The partnership that PAHSMA has with Conservation Volunteers has supported the Green Army teams to focus their efforts on helping to manage the cultural landscapes of Port Arthur and the Coal Mines. They have been working on an incredibly diverse range of projects that encompass the full range of management issues experienced at sites that contain both cultural and natural heritage. This is what has made this project unique amongst the hundreds of Green Army projects currently underway around Australia.
PAHSMA has had the Green Army working on the penitentiary excavation (assisting to clean, sort, box and store artefacts); the team has been piloting the use of photogrammetry to isolate the best spots to place sediment traps in order to monitor the rate of deterioration in some of the ruins; they have traversed every section of the former Boys’ Prison at Point Puer recording details of the remaining heritage features and using LiDAR to locate features that had long been obscured by vegetation; they have undertaken surveys of vegetation, birds, butterflies, and infrastructure and have removed weeds from the PAHSMA sites and the Ross Quarry.
In addition to the recording, the Green Army has helped to analyse the data collected and are now highly competent at producing 3D models using Agisoft photoscan. All of the work undertaken by the Green Army makes a significant contribution to assisting PAHSMA to continue to manage Port Arthur and the Coal Mines to the best possible standard.
A new round of Green Army will get underway at Port Arthur and the Coal Mines in early 2017.
Other Australian World Heritage Convict Sites, Brickendon and Woolmers Estates in Tasmania’s north, have also been project hosts of the Green Army. The team at Brickendon removed woody weed (blackberry, privet, cotoneaster), constructed post and rail fencing, lime washed, oiled timber and re-gravelled the flood affected walkway between the Brickendon and Woolmers properties.
Richard Archer, owner of Brickendon Estate and Chair of the Australian Convict Sites Steering Committee, said that “the Green Army was a great way to get young people from our Longford community working with us at Brickendon on a range of labour intensive tasks in the gardens and on the farm.”
To find out more about the Green Army: http://www.environment.gov.au/land/green-army