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Caring spirit restores Bass Coast

SOUTH Gippsland’s countryside is looking all the better thanks to the efforts of the staff and volunteers of the Bass Coast Landcare Network.

Working with landholders, the Landcare team is revegetating the Bass Coast Shire and also parts of the shires of South Gippsland and Cardinia.

A team of volunteers grows trees and understorey species at the Landcare network’s community nursery and these trees, as well as trees grown by commercial nurseries, are planted by the network’s works crew and volunteers.

The network’s ecosystem services coordinator Robbie Gray said Landcare staff and volunteers offer a specialist approach to enhancing the environment.

“We like to think of ourselves as being more sensitive to environmental restoration,” he said.

“We can offer expertise about the best methods of doing work and even about which plants to choose.”

The works crew not only undertakes planting, but also spraying, weed control, erosion and landslip work, planting mangroves, revegetation of river banks, fencing and environmental consulting.

The crew is available to work for landholders and Landcare can even help with the cost of works by facilitating access to grants.

“This winter season landowners and our works crew have planted 205,000 trees, all under the Bass Coast Landcare Network,” Mr Gray said.

Their work is first class, as evidenced by their recent Green Carpet Award.

The crew’s ninth trainee has just completed his studies. All members combine work with studying a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management through TAFE.

Crew supervisor Derek Snowdenw was nominated in the Young Landcare Leader Award at the Victorian Landcare Awrads last Friday.

While he did not win, the network was also highly commended for its Environmental Detectives Program and the Three Creeks Landcare Group was also highly commended.

He completed his traineeship with the network and then worked at the Wonthaggi desalination plant for several years, helping to plant 220ha at the site.

Mr Snowden has been integral to the formation of South Gippsland’s Intrepid Landcare Group for people under 35 and recently organised an event at Woolamai where 4500 plants were planted.

He’s also been trialling low herbicide methods for weed control, investigating at which stages of life weeds can be controlled without herbicide or by using more natural methods such as steaming and heating, and organically accredited commercial herbicides.

Based at the Bass Recreation Reserve, the network’s community nursery grew 30,000 plants this year, in just its second year.

A core group of 10 volunteers attend the nursery weekly.

“Most of the volunteers did not have any experience at all and were just interested after attending a series of workshops we held,” Mr Gray said.

“It’s a very social group and that’s what has held it together. There’s also cake and morning tea.”

The group meets on Wednesday one week and Friday the other, from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

They pot up, sow seed, prick out seedlings, feed and weed, and pick out orders.

Volunteer Anna Spiden wanted to help after Landcare revegetated her property at Ryanston.

“It’s about giving back to the community and I love the group. It’s an eclectic group and it’s amazing how they’ve clicked,” she said.

More volunteers are welcome to join the community nursery, particularly during the busy period of November to December.

Under the advice of Frank Smolders of F&M Smolders Revegetation of Fish Creek, the Landcare nursery is now raising plants in round tubes instead of the conventional square forestry tubes.

Being smaller, more tubes can be carried by planters and they can spread more trees across a planting site in a shorter period of time.

Trees raised at the community nursery go to landholders for shelter belts and revegetating river banks, as well as Landcare projects.

 

Transforming countryside: Bass Coast Landcare Network’s ecosystem services coordinator Robbie Gray (centre) with community nursery volunteers Carol Timothy (left) and Anna Spiden and a selection of seedlings at the nursery.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22431

Posted by on Sep 5 2017. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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