Eprapah – Australia’s SCENES Site
Scouts Queensland is proud to be the custodians of Eprapah, the first SCENES site in the Southern Hemisphere – SCENES are Scout Centres of Excellence for Nature, Environment and Sustainability. Youth environmental activities are regularly held on the site, led by the Branch Commissioner, Environment Education and activity leader team. The 39 hectare Scout-owned property and declared council conservation reserve is an hour’s drive south-east of Brisbane City at Victoria Point.
Eprapah hosts a small but well-equipped bunk house, a campground and ablutions block, a campfire circle and chapel, a visitor centre containing environmental and heritage displays and other resources, an arboretum of ‘at risk’ native plants, and Aboriginal food and medicinal plants.
Forming part of a wildlife corridor from mountain crest to the coast along Eprapah Creek, the Charles S. Snow Scout Environmental Education Centre possesses a variety of ecosystems, and home to the vulnerable and threatened koala, and near-threatened tusked frog.
Bounding one side, the freshwater creek opens to an intertidal zone with mangrove forests which lead to its estuary on the coast of Moreton Bay Marine Park and the edge of a Ramsar area for migratory wetland birds.
The SCENES site ecosystems include the diversity of riparian, estuarine, and rainforest habitats, specifically wet and dry Eucalyptus sclerophyll forests, small pockets of rainforest remnant, Melaleuca and Casuarina swamps, and extensive mangrove areas.
Faunal diversity includes: over one hundred species of birds; mammals including koalas, wallabies, possums, bandicoots and echidna; reptiles; and many insect species. Eprapah provides opportunities for Scouts to experience and connect with the natural world.
With use by the Quandamooka, Noonoccal, and Koobenpul people, the creek and lands acted as the local supermarket, supplying food, shelter, and medicines. With European settlement, the area went through a long period of small crop farming for the Brisbane dining table.
Scouting commenced in Queensland in August 1908, and the site purchased in 1928 as the State leader training centre, including wood badge courses for Scoutmasters and lady cubmistresses. Lord Baden-Powell immortalised his March 1931 visit with his shoeprint in concrete. Many courses and weekends over the years saw Scouts trained and supported by the likes of ‘Chief’ Snow, ‘Beaver’ Masters, ‘Nebo’ Manderson, ‘Grey Owl’ Thomas Gloster, ‘Kiwi’ Weir, ‘Kauri’ Boyd, and ‘Badger’ Richardson. This heritage is captured with interpretive signs at various locations.
Leader training was moved to Baden-Powell Park, Samford, after its purchase in 1953. In 1973, Eprapah became the Charles S. Snow Centre for the teaching of environmental conservation, with a team led by Dr Bernard S. Stone and his Guider and Scouter wife Ann (the daughter of Chief Snow). The training team and the Eprapah site hosted the 1985 Australia–Pacific Environmental Conservation Seminar (APECS). Eprapah continues in its role to educate youth and leaders alike.
Supported by the State’s Environmental Education Team since 1973, programmes for youth members are run regularly through the year, and annual leader training awareness. Programmes include topics of Earth Tribe. Schools and other groups also use Eprapah for its ecological offerings. Several trails guide users around the various habitats, and the lower parts of the creek may also be used for canoeing, for marine environment activities.
Programmes and activities are determined with youth members in line with ACFI (Adventurous, Fun, Challenging, and Inclusive), PAL (Participate, Assist, Lead), and Plan> Do> Review.
Eprapah is possibly the only SCENES site globally solely dedicated for Scout use in environmental conservation. As the first SCENES site in Australasia, it became a pioneer model for the first environmental education programs in Australia in the early 1970s, with its training methods adopted by professional educational institutions.
Environment education team members have attended the Asia Pacific Region Workshop on Environmental Education in Scouting (2014), and representatives regularly attend the Scouts Australia National Environment Conferences, allowing the reviewing and developing of environmental learning experiences.
For the year’s activities, please see the team’s calendar.
Environment Management Plan
Supported by the Eprapah Scout Fellowship for many years, there is work being undertaken to remove invasive plant and fish species, while enhancing native vegetation to stabilise the soils and assist the vulnerable koala. Plans are undertaken with a scout site management committee. The public corner of the scout property has a native food garden, and a short sensory plants trail.
Environmentally sensitive areas on property are protected by the ten formed walking trails (some with boardwalks over low lying areas), to minimise human impact, and all native flora and fauna are protected under Queensland state conservation legislation. All rubbish generated is sorted and removed by site users.
Eprapah has established links with local organisations and projects including Eprapah Creek Catchment Landcare, Land for Wildlife, Waterways Partnerships, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Recovery, Sentinel Site Koala Monitoring, and others.
For more information
Global list of SCENES sites
Site bookings (including bunkhouse, and public camping area)
Environment education programme bookings
Wikipedia entry for Eprapah
Victoria Point Scout Group webpage
Scouts Australia Environment Charter