Alec is Coffs' green grandfather
LAST Friday we shone the spotlight on one of the founding fathers of the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden, Mr Alec Floyd.
He was awarded an OAM in the 2008 Australia Day honours for not just his contribution to the Garden, but also for a pivotal role in the 1970s and ’80s describing the rich botanic diversity of rainforests across the State.
That work included surveying places like the Big Scrub near Lismore, where the Terrania Creek protests were to be held, and the mountainous wilderness west of Bellingen which was to later become parts of the Dorrigo, Bellinger River and New England national parks.
When the Environment Minister Peter Garrett and a convoy of national media this week visited Darkwood for the launch of the world-first Bush Blitz program, few were probably aware of Mr Floyd’s previous botanical forays into the area.
“I was loaned out by State Forests to national parks and over a six-year period I surveyed every rainforest in the State,” Mr Floyd said.
“It got a bit tricky when my work started highlighting the need to protect the forests from logging, so State Forests let me go and I formally joined national parks.
“It was hard dirty work carrying out the rainforest inventory, but it was a project I loved doing.
“I am immensely proud of the World Heritage listings, the nature reserves, and the general awareness of rainforests that has come out of my work.”
But as well as being a botanist Mr Floyd was also a forester who contributed greatly to the development of the hardwood plantation industry that is now so important to the timber industry.
With eight plant species bearing his name and his books a must-have reference for botanists, Alec Floyd is very much Coffs Harbour’s green grandfather.