Rowan Woodland Flora and Fauna reserve is a significant 3.9 hectare conservation area located off Teralba Close, Dingley Village, behind the tennis, netball, and baseball facilities on the corner of Springvale and Westall Road extension.
Two ecological vegetation classes are present in the Rowan Woodland Flora and Fauna Reserve. The southern higher end of the reserve is on sandy loam soils and presents a Coast Manna Gum / Narrow Leaf Peppermint Heathland Woodland community (EVC 48). The reserve slopes down to the north-western corner where there are silty loam soils and an example of a Swampy Woodland (EVC 937).
The north-western corner is naturally seasonally inundated however the flooding regime has been somewhat reduced through the construction of drainage channels. The understorey of the reserve is dominated by indigenous grasses, including Spear Grass, Tussock Grass and Weeping Grass. Rowan Woodland boasts the most intact sward of Stipa Grass (Stipa mollis) in the southern metropolitan region. Sedges, such as Thatch Saw-Sedge (Gahnia radula), Rushes, such as the Spiny headed Mat-rush (Lomanda longifolia), and a variety of Orchids and Lilies also make up part of the understorey. Small Grass trees (Xanthorrea minor) also grow in the reserve, their beautiful flower spikes can be seen poking out from the rest of the understorey from November to December.
Eight species of Orchids and several species of lilies exist in the reserve, including Donkey Orchids (Diuris corymbosa) named for their yellow and red flowers which resemble a donkey, and Chocolate lilies (Arthropodium strictum) which bare attractive, violet, chocolate scented flowers from September to December.
Four species of Eucalypts can be found in the reserve including the regionally rare Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora). Upon visiting the Woodland you can make use of the Nature Walk notes to identify all four species!
Up until the late 1980’s the Rowan Woodland Flora and Fauna Reserve was inhabited by a small population of Southern Brown Bandicoots (Isoodon obesulus) however unfortunately due to urbanisation and predation by pest animals it is now believed the population in the reserve is extinct. Rowan Woodland does have a healthy population of both Ringtail and Brush tail possums, while bats and gliders may also visit the reserve. When visiting the reserve you are sure to see many skinks foraging in the leaf litter. These skinks are predominantly Common Garden Skinks (Lampropholis guichenoti) which live under rocks and logs and feed on insects and moths, other species of skink may also live in the reserve. If you are lucky you might also spot a Copperhead snake or a blotched blue tongue lizard!
Rangers work with the Friends of Rowan Woodland (bi-monthly working bees) and local school groups to remove pest plants and undertake revegetation.
Dingley Primary school students have played a major role in looking after Rowan Woodland, undertaking revegetation projects in the reserve for National Tree Day and producing some spectacular murals to brighten up the southern fence line.