About a month ago I volunteered with Greening Australia for two days at the Scottsdale Reserve, located just 45 minutes outside of Canberra. Greening Australia is an organisation that aims to restore and manage the environment with the help of the community. They are working alongside Bush Heritage at the Scottsdale Reserve to restore the endangered environment at the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands. The plant community at the woodlands is endangered mainly because of the invasion of the weed named African Love Grass, which spreads fast and deteriorates the environment. The aim of this joint project is to bring the Scottsdale Reserve environment back to the condition it was in before the African Love Grass invaded the area.
During my two days on the reserve, I got to learn what this project is all about and get my hands dirty – literally! Indeed, I got to plant trees on areas that were previously scalped.Scalping a site means that the entire area is free of all vegetation, increasing the chances of the plants we planted being successful. On the first day it was just me, Ben, the man from Greening Australia, and three other students. We worked together and planted about 200 trees, following this procedure.
- Collect a certain number of trees in bucket and go to the planting site.
- Dig a hole with either a shovel or a pick in a spot designated for it.
- Grab a tree out of the bucket and gently tap it against the handle of the shovel to separate it from its container.
- Put the tree into the hole and fill with the soil until the roots are covered.
- Place a triangular guard around the tree to protect it from animals (i.e. kangaroos). To do so, plant one stake facing the valley about 1/3 of its length down and put another stake through the guard. We then put the container on top of one of the stake to signal the plant needed watering.
- Once finished planting everything, grab a bucket, fill it up and water each plants using about a third of the bucket.
On my second day, a number of volunteers (about 20) came along to Scottsdale Reserve for the morning to do some planting. The majority of them regularly help out with replanting, not only on Scottsdale Reserve. When I arrived, with another student and Hayden (from Greening Australia), two members of the group joined us to plant at a different site. After lunch, we split the work up into tasks to go faster: one was digging the hole, one was planting and the third was putting the guards up.
This was such a great experience, learning new skills and being part of an amazing project. If you are looking at doing some volunteering while getting some fresh air and enjoying a gorgeous day outside, I encourage you all to contact Greening Australia. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
For more information, look at the following websites:
Valerie-Anne Ohl (u4597720).