I recently had a very fulfilling (and tiring) experience these uni holidays regenerating degraded farmland with the Green Team and Greening Australia.
Scottsdale farm out towards Cooma has been degraded through grazing and agriculture and needed our help to regenerate the critically endangered Box-Gum Woodlands.
The land was purchased by Bob Brown’s charity Bush Heritage Australia. His charity, started in 1991, purchases land of high conservation value and works tirelessly to restore and manage it. So far 960,000 hectares has been regenerated.
A team came through and seeded the scraped sections of earth with native grass seeds in the preceding days, and then it was our turn to get the trees in the ground.
On my first planting day we were with some fabulous individuals, The Green Team! They are an enthusiastic bunch of mainly retirees who go planting once a week and boy were they efficient at what they do. We had a truck full of trees to plant, Yellow Box, Apple Box and Snow Gum, amongst some others. Time to get busy.
The process is really quite simple once you get the knack of it. Thankfully the green team and Ben, the coordinator of the planting, showed me the ropes. Also thanks to Bush Heritage Australia there were holes already dug for us, I was very grateful for this.
Once you clear out the hole of any remaining dirt:
-Pull the little tree out of the tube (they are called tube stock)
-Put it in the ground.
-Fill in the hole.
-Get some wooden stakes.
-Get a plastic guard.
-Hammer these into the ground.
-Move on to the next one, there are always more to do!
If that sounded simple, you’re right, but wait till you do 450 trees in one day! By the end of the first day and most especially the second day I was planting trees at an impressive rate. It is so satisfying to look behind you and see a whole row of baby trees planted by your own hands.
Time for lunch, I’ve earned it today.
After lunch comes the hard part, watering. Unfortunately these little babies need a bit of help getting started. There were only three of us left on the first day, to water 450 plants; I slept well that night.
Each tree needs about 3L of water to hydrate it and eliminate any air bubbles around the roots that can kill the plant.
Once the lugging of water was done, it was time to drive out and reflect at the work you’ve done.
Now to wait a few years and return to a grassy woodland that was once a degraded farm, how rewarding.
Greening Australia does a great job and the community involvement makes it work so well.