Native seeds creating community connection

Native seeds creating community connection
22
Jun

The South East Queensland Native Seed Project

How green can we make 2018?

2018 has seen the start of a really exciting native seed project taking place in South East Queensland. It will bring together different parts of our community to do something really special for nature.

Some past victories for ‘greening’ South East Queensland

Since winning the Minister’s Grand Prize at the 2014 Healthy Waterways Awards alongside SOWN and the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, Natura Pacific has had a passion for breathing new life into the green space of our cities in the form of revegetation and rehabilitation of natural areas.

In 2017 we released the free GroNATIVE app with the help of Griffith University and the Queensland Government which encourages people to easily identify and purchase suitable native plants to grow on their property and encourage biodiversity back into their lives by simply entering their postcode. Now we have taken on an exciting new project which will actually help provide these native plants ‘in the flesh’ as it were, to different projects and community groups all over South East Queensland.

What is in store for 2018 and beyond?

The idea involves 3 contributing parties that together comprise a production line of plants for use in revegetating disturbed areas or helping rehabilitate threatened ecosystems. The plants will be collected from wild-sourced seeds, grown into young tubestock in our new nursery and finally distributed throughout the region to suitable locations and projects.

Acacia granitica growing near Logan

Collecting the seed…

The first part in the production line is us here at Natura Consulting. This is our primary business pillar at Natura Pacific, and is the arm of the company that provides expert consulting services to developers, NGOs and governmental sectors alike to assist in sustainable development projects. Our consultants visit sites such as the Yarrabilba priority development area in Logan to collect seed from native plants that are to be removed during clearing. This process prioritises threatened species, and then species that characterise or are special to the area where the clearing is taking place.

Our consultants use the best seed collection techniques and storage procedures and process the seed to remove any diseased specimens, husks and litter with the help of our University internship students. Then the seeds are labelled with identification information and growing instructions and sent on. One important factor in this stage of the process is to try and obtain a mixture of seeds from across varying locations. This is to ensure that genetic variability is maximised wherever possible which in turn strengthens the genetic health and longevity of the germinating plants.

Nurturing seeds in to young healthy seedlings…

The destination of this precious seed cargo is the Borallon Training and Correctional Centre in Ironbark, near Ipswich. Here there is a specialised team of TAFE horticultural teachers who teach part of the AHC20410 Cert II in Horticulture course to prisoners at the centre. These TAFE officers provide propagation and cultivation advice to the inmates and together they work as a team to successfully grow as many individual plants as possible from the seeds provided. The plants are grown in small trays and carefully transplanted out into small tubes ready for distribution to the sites where they are needed. One of the key points here is to successfully grow as many young plants into tubestock as possible, to create a volume that is sufficient to match the demand.

Planting of native seedlings to help ‘re-green’ South East Queensland…

Now for the final stage in the project – getting the young plants back into an environment where they can grow and thrive. Of course the final destination of these plants will vary over time according to the needs of the environment and the community.

Very soon Lendlease Communities are due to receive a lot of the young plants we are producing as part of their commitment to maintain and enhance 25% of the Yarrabilba satellite city as natural area. We will provide native plants that are of particular importance to the Yarrabilba region such as Acacia granitica and Acacia baeuerlenii as well as state-wide threatened species that have been discovered growing on the site such as Melaleuca irbyana and Eucalyptus curtisii. En-masse we will also provide seeds from more common species that are fundamental to the different ecosystems naturally occurring at Yarrabilba, to help restore and rectify disturbances to fauna corridors and greenspace areas.

Other organisations that will end up receiving seedlings in the years to come include schools and educational establishments that wish to rehabilitate their grounds or a nearby park. For example, we will provide seedlings of the extremely rare Cooneana Olive (Notelaea ipsviciensis) to Griffith University for supplementing their ‘Rare and Threatened Walk’ at the Gold Coast campus which is used by students as part of their environmental studies. We will also continue to work with a number of schools as part of education programs delivered by Natura Education to hold revegetation days with children ‘re-greening’ their campuses or local nature reserves. This includes All Saints Anglican School who have worked tirelessly for the past 5 years to reinstate a large wetland on their school grounds. This school was even a part of our original application to win the 2014 Minister’s Grand Prize and were delighted to be co-winners with us. There are many other exciting projects around the region that will receive our plants, and most importantly of course, is the fact that they will be provided for free.

 

But wait… there’s more… We are creating habitat with nestboxes too…

This program also extends to inmates wishing to gain qualifications in carpentry and fabrication through the construction of nestboxes specifically designed to meet the needs of Australian fauna species for nesting. This project brings in the expertise of TAFE Queensland to guide inmates in constructing quality nestboxes out of recycled plastic and timber, with these boxes destined for installation in bushland sites to provide additional habitat for fauna such as arboreal mammals and birds.

The most exciting part of the project in its entirety is its contribution to creating connection within our community and an ongoing connection between communities and the natural environment.

If you would like to get involved with the South East Queensland Native Seed Project, please let us know, we would love to hear from you. Contact us at info@natura-pacific.commailto:info@natura-pacific.com or give us a call at our head office on the Gold Coast on 07 5576 5568.

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