Gemtree Wetlands - Forest for Frogs project
Part proceeds from Gemtree Vineyards’ wine sales is being donated to Greening Australia to ensure the ongoing rehabilitation of the Gemtree Wetlands.
The Gemtree wetlands are a thriving area of prime frog habitat within the Vineyard’s property in South Australia’s McLaren Vale.
Back in 1998 Gemtree had the environmental foresight to establish a wetland complex on a site that sits adjacent to the nearby Peddler Creek catchment. At the time the 10 hectare site was severely degraded. Its six interlocking dams had become severely eroded and the creek line was suffering from rubbish and farm machinery dumping.
In 2005, Gemtree Vineyards and Greening Australia partnered to manage the rehabilitation of this site. The ultimate goal? To involve the local community in environmental rehabilitation and rebuild the habitat back to its original condition prior to European settlement.
The results have been impressive. Revegetation using native species has attracted native fauna to once again make the area their home, including a number of endemic frog species. The project has used the skills of Greening Australia staff to engage the community in tree planting and monitoring activities.
From Farmland to Ecotrail
Over the past 5 years Gemtree Vineyards have been working with Greening Australia SA on the Gemtree Wetlands. In that time the site has been transformed from degraded farm land into a wetland habitat for native frogs and fauna.
The wetland area, located in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia, is currently undergoing a transformation and from April 2011 will be known as the Gemtree Wetlands Walking Ecotrail. In 2009 Greening Australia and Gemtree submitted an application for a tourism grant from the Commonwealth Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. Early this year we were delighted to learn that our application was successful and work has been underway ever since.
The Gemtree Wetlands Walking Ecotrail comprises a 1 kilometre walk with 10 information markers along the way. The trail starts at the newly built car park where visitors can view an interpretive map. Brochures will be provided to help guide people around the ecotrail and inform them about various points of interest in the wetlands. Picnic shelters have been installed as well as a public barbecue, information boards, bike rack and a bench seat for a rest along the way while taking in the views of the vineyard and surrounding beauty of the wetlands.
Sustainable farming practices and the responsible use of water resources by McLaren Vale irrigators will be a feature of the educational program on the site and will help reinforce the region’s leading position in this area. Our hope is that after visiting the Gemtree wetlands people will walk away with a greater appreciation and empathy for our natural environment and aboriginal heritage.
We believe the Gemtree Wetlands Walking Ecotrail will be a unique showcase environmental site highlighting sustainable farming practices and how degraded land can be restored and nurtured back to its original condition. The site will be open to the public in April 2011.
Greening Australia video
Hear Greening Australia staff and Melissa Brown from Gemtree Vineyards talk about the project. Video courtesy of Channel 7 (Adelaide).
- 2007 Winner Prime Ministers Awards Community and Business Partnership (SA).
- McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association SITA Viticulture Award for Environmental Innovation.
- Smorgan Steel award in the South Australia Great Scrap Steel round up.
- Onkaparinga City Council Environmental Grant recipient 2005.
- Involvement of over 300 local community members in hands-on activities including an annual Arbor Day event.