Community Awards 2023 Community Initiative of the Year - Mervyn Keane
Wednesday 08 November 2023
Mervyn Keane brings the local community together to increase biodiversity and nurture Yarra’s incredible flora and fauna through the Acacia Place River Bankers initiative.
With the support of Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and various community grants, Merv hosts regular gardening bees to plant indigenous species along the Yarra River at Acacia Place in Abbotsford. To date, the group have planted over 200 trees and shrubs resulting in a thriving riverbank where eucalypt saplings are appearing, wildflowers bloom and habitat for kookaburras and other bird life is starting to form.
These gardening bees aren't just beneficial for the environment, but also give local apartment dwellers an opportunity to meet each other and socialise in the outdoors among nature. The Acacia Place River Bankers’ next goal is to plant shrubs at the picnic area, so Yarra locals and visitors who use the Yarra Trail have a place to sit and appreciate nature and learn about local Indigenous heritage.
Merv is at every planting bee, which happen at least monthly. He organises garden hoses for watering, takes his van to purchase extra plants, checks up on the garden bed daily and pulls out weeds to prepare for the planting bees.
This work is all voluntary. Merv started with an idea, rallied his neighbours and now Acacia Place River Bankers are a registered volunteer group with Parks Victoria, lead by Merv.
Well done and thank you to Merv for the work you’ve put in to make Yarra a more green, sustainable and beautiful place to be for our community and for generations to come!
The nominees for Community Initiative of the Year
Better Health & Housing Program
This is me
Richmond Youth Brass Band
MASS Mind and Strength Support
Yarra Resident Voice Group
Collingwood Toy Library- Fitzroy Branch
Thanks to all our nominees for your contributions to life in Yarra.