On the 14th of September 2020, Natura Pacific facilitated a tree planting day in the Logan Council Area, to aid in the recovery of one of the most threatened plant species in Logan, Melaleuca irbyana or the Weeping Paperbark. The current distribution of this species is limited to only around 1,000 hectares in the Logan and Ipswich City Council areas, with impacts of development, grazing and other tree clearing activities continuing to place pressure on the long-term survival of the species within its range.
Efforts to rehabilitate the species in the local area have involved collaborative efforts from both community members and decision makers, and Natura Pacific have taken the initiative to support these efforts. By bringing together schools, developers, businesses, researchers, property owners and local council members we have facilitated tree planting days that are seeing more of these rare plants being introduced back into their original environment.
The most recent planting day in September took place at Moffatt Park, a Council Conservation Area that is already home to a number of mature Weeping Paperbark trees. One of the highlights of the tree planting day was the involvement of students and teachers from Yarrabilba State Secondary College and Yarrabilba State School, as well as funding partners Rebecca and Ed Plant who came along with their family on the day to help plant trees. As a result of the efforts of Logan City Council, the area had been partly rehabilitated after it had been recognised as having the potential to be transformed from a grassy paddock to an important native forest. This transformation is already well underway, with around 3,000 trees having already been previously planted here, and a number of naturally occurring wetland groundcover species beginning to thrive and replace the pasture grasses.
Throughout the day, there was a definite sense of excitement in the air, as students and teachers alike, expressed their enthusiasm to be out of the classroom for the first time in a long time since the COVID-19 lockdowns came into place. They were happy to be planting trees and getting their hands in the soil, while contributing to a good cause and learning more about a conservation issue that is close to home. There was an extra buzz as the filming of a special Weeping Paperbark episode of Natura Pacific’s video documentary series ‘Back from the Brink’ was happening at the same time, with contributors planting trees either side of getting in front of the camera for their segment. There was also an appearance by local councillor and deputy Mayor of Logan, John Raven, who warmly expressed his support for conservation of endangered species in the local area.
Overall, it was a positive experience for all involved, with a meaningful contribution having been made towards the conservation of the Weeping Paperbark. Manaya, one of the students interviewed for the ‘Back from the Brink’ film, explained “I like being outdoors where its sunny, it makes me feel free”, while Jane Frost, a senior teacher at Yarrabilba State Secondary College expressed how fantastic it was for the students to be involved as a complement to ecological studies undertaken in the classroom, “there’s nothing like getting out and experiencing it in the real world!”. Funding contributor Rebecca Plant of The Business League spoke of how they contribute funds from memberships to support conservation efforts and how such planting days help them and their members feel connected with the land, “It only costs about $6 per plant” she explained , “so for most small to medium businesses, it’s not a lot to get involved and give back [to the environment]”.
The planting day was an initiative created under the ‘Connecting Communities Project’ banner, which is a partnership established through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Natura Pacific, Lendlease, TAFE Queensland and Queensland Corrective Services in 2017. In this partnership, ecologists at Natura Pacific collect seed locally from native trees, which are then transported to Borallon Training and Correctional Centre to our TAFE partners, where students propagate tube stock as part of a horticulture certification (Cert II). Seedlings are then used for rehabilitating previously forested areas, including protected areas in the Yarrabilba development footprint. Seeing these plants going into the hands of local children and then into the ground to resurrect these long-lost habitats during these tree planting days sees the final and most satisfying part of this project come to fruition.
Search for ‘Natura Pacific – Back from the Brink’ on YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Audible and learn more about the exciting ‘Back from the Brink’ documentary and podcast series.
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