If you happen to stroll or cycle along the dual pedestrian and bike path through the extensive valley that borders Gardiners Creek in Glen Iris, you'll be pleasantly surprised to pass a diverse range of terrains and habitats. Manicured sporting ovals and playgrounds soon give way to native bush surrounding several lakes into which Gardiners Creek flows. Shame though about several large electrical towers that run through the park and spoil the views.
The wetlands are a significant conservation area for fauna and flora and in one small lake I've been thrilled to discover a gold fish larger than a football happily feeding near the bank; the first live fish I've seen in the waterways since visiting the area on occasion for the past 25 years. Carp are also known to inhabit the waterways and are a threat to native fish, frogs and aquatic plants so the Stonnington Council (administrators of the park) sometimes host a "Catch a Carp Day" to encourage residents to help eradicate this ubiquitous pest. One year a boy of about eight caught the only carp of the day weighing over five kilos.
Birdlife is abundant in the wetlands and display panels throughout the park (those which haven't been vandalised or faded by the sun) illustrate and list the wide diversity of fauna and flora residing in the park, including several migratory birds that call the wetlands home during the warmer months.
Ducks and geese can often be found at a large lagoon beside the Dorothy Laver Reserve in the centre of which is a small island that protects them from humans and predators. Be warned however, that you may witness acts of depravity and violence amongst the water fowl in this area. I've had the misfortune of spotting several large aggressive ducks and geese pursuing a small defenceless duck, brutally pecking it around the head and drawing blood. I'm not certain if this is typical overly-enthusiastic mating behaviour or a demonstration of one's pecking order.
A voluntary group worth mentioning is the Friends of Gardiners Creek. This group provide a valuable service to the community by working to re-establish the native flora and maintain the habitat for indigenous fauna along Gardiners Creek and are largely responsible for the removal of weeds and exotic species from the park. The group holds regular working bees and meet every Wednesday from 9.00am to 11.00am from November to March during daylight saving time, and 10.00am to 12.00 noon from April to October. Their meeting point is the noticeboard in Glenburn Bend Park, between Great Valley Road and High Street, Glen Iris and new volunteers are always welcome.