The Friends is a non-profit, voluntary, community organisation whose mission is to care for, enhance and showcase the unique 82 hectares which make up the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Gardens (MRBBG). We work in close collaboration with the Sunshine Coast Council.
'To support the establishment & development of a unique world-class Bushland Botanic Garden for the Sunshine Coast’.
Our vision for the Gardens
'To experience the harmony between people and the living environment’.
Our vision for the Friends
'To establish a vibrant and responsive Friends organisation known for enthusiasm, participation and initiative’.
A little history
The Gardens were started at the urging of the initial Friends in 1996 with the then Maroochy Council purchasing the land for a botanic garden in 1997.
In 1998, a master plan was developed and major development work began in 2000. The Governor of Queensland, Major General Peter Arnison, opened the Gardens on 1 December 2001.
What we do
The Friends contribute to the Gardens in many and varied ways. Our core functions are organised in groups/crews. Membership of these crews/teams is very flexible; some people stay with a crew until a task or project is complete, others fill in where their interests take them or their prior skill or experience is needed and valued, while others like a wide variety of volunteering experiences and working with different people each week.
The Gardening Group is onsite every Tuesday unless the weather is extremely unpleasant and except for a three-week break over Christmas/New Year. Starting time is nominally 7:30 am, but start and finish times are flexible. Morning tea is at 9.30am, lunch at 12.30pm, and people finish when they want.
Within this Tuesday Group we have:
The Gardening Crew look after the Gardens – planting, pruning, weeding, fertilising, mulching, and general tidying.
The Construction Crew undertakes many infrastructure projects not normally carried out by Friends in other Gardens - such as small timber and steel construction jobs, concreting paths, establishing and maintaining walking tracks, installing watering systems, building retaining walls, drainage works and garden edging, and some general maintenance of Gardens' facilities.
The Propagation Crew is responsible for the production of seedlings for planting out in the Gardens. Working from seeds and cuttings sourced in the gardens, they aim to produce plants not normally available from our other local main sources, the Coolum Coastcare, Florabunda and Barung community nurseries. Surplus stock can be sold to visitors if it is suitable for backyard planting.
Smaller gardening groups get together on Thursday and Friday mornings, and are mainly involved in garden bed development and maintenance.
For most of
history, man has
had to fight nature
in this century, he is beginning
to realize that,
in order to survive,
he must protect it.
The Guides Group consists of trained volunteers who provide visitors with regular unbooked guided walks on Tuesdays and at Gardens events as well as booked walks for groups at other times. Each guide shares their unique insight into particular areas of the Gardens and the conservation of Australian bushland environments.
The Visitor Information Centre Group staff the information desk, welcoming and helping visitors in any way possible. They distribute a wide selection of environmental information and set up thematic displays for the public.
The Library/Media Group keeps us in touch with each other and with the general community. They update our web and Facebook pages, catalogue plant and environmental information, and file photographs of plants and activities. They also craft and/or assist with mounting displays in the Arts & Ecology Centre.
The Green Wall Café Catering Group can provide light refreshments for an event in the Gardens, preparing and serving delicious home-baked goodies – a fundraising opportunity for the Friends.
The Botanic Art Group meet in the A&C Centre to hone and share their talents and botanical knowledge. They welcome visitors to their group, both experienced artists and newcomers to the art.
The Management Committee provides over-arching direction of day to day activities and long-term planning towards achieving goals and the mission of the Friends to support the continued development of a unique, world-class botanic garden.
The Friends' BushCare Group volunteer on the 2nd Saturday of each month. You do not need to be a member of the Friends to join in the fun. Just turn up by 8am (winter hours) / 7am (summer hours). Wear protective clothing and sturdy boots. More information.
Founded in 2015, the group removes weeds, plants trees, shrubs and other plant types and monitors the health of the ecosystem and its communities. They also assist in maintaining bushland areas of the Gardens and both Tall Gums Environmental Reserves adjacent to the Gardens (both reserves were purchased by Council using funds from the Sunshine Coast Council Environmental Levy). The reserves contain riparian and eucalypt forest vegetation communities including some threatened plant species and provides habitat for koalas, and many other wildlife species.
The BushCare group is also responsible for siting and maintaining fauna cameras and using the data obtained to begin building an inventory of fauna species currently using the Gardens and reserves.
Other activities with which the Friends are involved include promoting the Gardens to the community, organising special events, advocating for the Gardens with government bodies, seeking government funding and community donations to support new and ongoing projects, sponsorship of students undertaking environmentally based research at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and so much more!
The Friends of the Gardens are a very inclusive group who welcome new members to join them in all their volunteer labours. If you would like to know more about the Friends look through our pages, email us or come and introduce yourself at the Visitor Information Centre in the Arts and Ecology building.
For more details on joining and membership, visit our Join Us page.