It started innocently enough. ‘That’s one over there,’ my mother would say. Off I’d trot and carefully pull the Boneseed seedling out by the roots and suspend it in a bush or tree as I had been instructed.

As a kid I would often accompany from Werribee my mother, Marian Blood, and her good friend Mary Richmond to the (then) Angahook bushland behind Aireys Inlet and the You Yangs to go bird and wildflower watching. They taught me the orchids and other wildflowers, about LBJs (little brown jobs, birds) and about pulling out Boneseed, Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. monilifera.

In my teenage years, I visited these areas and the bushland of Pt Addis with my sister, Linda Handscombe, and then as an adult on my own. It is here that I practised and grasped the appreciation of photography of plants and the enthusiasm for keeping invasive plants out of natural areas. I studied horticulture at Burnley in Melbourne and further honed an interest in invasive plants. Almost 29 years later, the work of volunteers, such as ANGAIR, continue to fill me with hope for our biodiversity.

These natural areas have the ability to continue to inspire people to make a career of their protection, and to volunteer for their care. Keep up the great work ANGAIR!

Kate Blood is a project officer on invasive species with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) based at Beaufort in western Victoria. Kate’s current project is early invader weeds on public land. You can follow Kate’s activities on social media @weedyk8

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