Habitat Recovery Alliance Seedlings For Bushfire Affected

Since March 2020, around 220 individual volunteers have been caring for and growing seedlings in readiness for planting this season on properties affected by the Cudlee Creek bushfires in 2019.

Habitat Recovery Alliance (HRA) administration have worked tirelessly and methodically through the list of growers, negotiating suitable times for each grower to return their seedlings, in readiness for batching. With about 16,000 tube-stock ready to be returned from HRA volunteer growers, people like Julie Brodie (pictured here) from Naracoorte, were not sure how they could return their trays, with the current Covid-19 situation. Julie attended nursery workshops held earlier this year, however, current restrictions have presented problems.

“I really enjoyed growing the seedlings and being able to contribute to such an amazing project. It has really made me feel valued and as if I have made a difference. To get them back to Mt Pleasant wasn’t meant to be this hard! Thank goodness for the goodwill of Naracoorte Freight (TOLL), who have stepped up and will deliver my seedlings free of charge back to the HRA project team to be distributed to those who need them,” Julie said.

Kim Thompson said, “Our project vision is much different and far more complicated than what we had anticipated for this stage of our bushfire recovery project, however, like all community driven projects there is always a solution to every problem”. Terese Stephens, HRA project admin officer approached Naracoorte Freight to see if they could help getting the seedlings back to the Adelaide Hills. “They couldn’t have been more helpful and didn’t hesitate to offer to pick up the seedlings from Julie and even delivered them back to us.”

“This grass roots project has already attracted significant volunteer support with the wider community pitching in where they can, providing HRA with a real opportunity to wildlife habitat outcomes on the ground. Funds from the Landcare Australia Grant and Lockheed Martin Landcare Grant will enable the Habitat Recovery Alliance to deliver essential habitat restoration across the fire scar. This will include site assessment and preparation, provision of appropriate plants, guards and stakes, facilitation and coordination of planting, building and installation of appropriate wildlife nest boxes for each site.”

With extra challenges due to the recent coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, and the ongoing daily changes to government requirements in attempts to stop the spread of this pandemic, HRA are now finding ways to coordinate the collection, planting and distribution of volunteer grown seedlings. The Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board have offered assistance to support the HRA, with their many tasks.

Kim said, “This will add to the existing capacity of the Alliance to support our volunteers, communities and environmental restoration in this challenging time.”

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The Habitat Recovery Alliance anticipates the project will extend into the next three years at least, with the initial grants to be acquitted late 2020. For more information or enquiries please contact Terese Stephens at torrenslandcare@gmail.com or 0417 330 343.