Dan’s Block - A very special way to remember a son, brother and friend

Never too young to plant a tree (Photo Roz Draine) Never too young to plant a tree (Photo Roz Draine)

Dan’s Block is a special piece of bushland in Western Australia’s south west that his family and friends have been lovingly restoring since 2011 in memory of Daniel Pupazzoni.

The project came about when the Pupazzoni family approached us after Daniel passed away in 2010, to see if we could assist in identifying a suitable place for them to undertake environmental works as a living tribute to Dan’s love and great respect for the environment. Through our very long partnership with Alcoa of Australia (we’ve been working together on environmental projects since 1982) we identified the perfect spot on Alcoa farm lands near Wagerup south of Perth in Western Australia.  The land was a highly degraded piece of retired farmland alongside a mature marri woodland, a key habitat tree for the iconic endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo which are seen visiting the area regularly.

Dan’s Block was commissioned and named in 2011 and an official plaque was unveiled in 2012 to mark the area.  Each year, about 100 of Daniel’s family and friends take part in annual tree planting days and by 2015 more than 20,000 trees had been planted to steadily transform the area back to health.

Sadly, on the sixth and seventh of January, a large-scale, intense bushfire swept through Yarloop and surrounds, resulting in a tragic loss of life, property and the destruction of the small town of Yarloop.  Losses also included the Alcoa Landcare Education Centre, Greening Australia’s base in the region, more than 70,000 hectares of bushland and damage to large areas of revegetation including the wonderful work at Dan’s Block.

Dans Block following the Yarloop fires of January 2016 (Courtesy Pupazzoni Family) Dans Block following the Yarloop fires of January 2016 (Courtesy Pupazzoni Family)

Older, more established trees are already showing signs of regeneration but younger, smaller trees were killed by the fire. It was these areas that Dan’s family and friends descended upon on a very cold and wintery Saturday in July 2016. Despite the bad weather over 100 of Daniel’s family and friends come along to what is now, for most of them, an annual get together to celebrate Dan’s life and to do something positive for the environment in his memory.

There were many young children in the group, ranging from babies and young toddlers through to older kids, some of who have been coming to the event all their young lives. Weed control soon after a fire is an important part of bushland management so as well as planting 3,000 seedlings, the group did some hand weeding under the mature marri trees.  Key weed species such as lupins and cotton bush, that started to invade the bushland after the fire, were targeted. Ongoing weed control works will be guided by post fire monitoring and evaluation by Greening Australia’s Bayden Smith, with funding support from Alcoa Australia and the Alcoa Foundation.

Having a blast in the mud (Photo Roz Draine) Having a blast in the mud (Photo Roz Draine)

The weather thankfully held off long enough for the job to be completed and for everyone to enjoy a hot cuppa and a sausage sizzle supplied by the Pupazzoni family and cooked by Dan’s dad, Paul with help from members of the Harvey Lions Club.

The end of a hard but fun day (Taken by Roz Draine) The end of a hard but fun day (Taken by Roz Draine)

For more information on this project contact Bayden Smith on  or Anne Smith at