The Jesmond Lions Club in Newcastle, NSW has a proud history in environmental conservation.
In particular, the Club has completed various projects at the Hunter Wetlands. Some of the projects include constructing barbecue shelters, boardwalks, bird hides and seating and planting many hundreds of trees and shrubs.
A major Club project was the construction of a fully-accessible sensory trail and boardwalk in 1994, something that other Lions club in the area were eager to get involved with. The sensory trail was a gift from Lions to the City of Newcastle to celebrate its bicentenary in 1997.
Other Lions Clubs in the District worked together to raise funds for the construction, and a state government grant was also awarded, bringing the total money raised to approximately $45,000.
The sensory trail features contrasting coloured pathways, vegetation, bridges, boardwalks, windmills, an ornamental creek and a picnic shelter. The plants were chosen for their colour, shape, sound in the wind and feel so that vision impaired visitors could enjoy the experience.
When able to, the club sponsors international exchange students to visit Australia through the Lions Youth Exchange Program. These visiting students have also been encouraged to get involved in projects throughout the wetlands, such as building new breeding huts for the speckled ducks, an endangered species.
The Club holds its regular meetings within the Wetlands’ beautiful surroundings and helps to run barbecues and other activities during the school holidays.
Another project dear to the heart of the Club’s members is tree planting at Pambalong Nature Reserve near Minmi, where they have planted over 5000 trees since 2012.