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Environmental partnership celebrated in botanical art

A collection of botanical watercolours commissioned as part of a three year environmental project has been installed at Canberra Airport.

The project to improve the condition of EPBC listed native grasslands was commenced in 2011 when we began working with Canberra Airport and biologist Alison Rowell on cost-effective methods to improve the condition of the airport surrounds.

The project was the first of its kind, and had delivered advancements in knowledge, skills and techniques to restore grasslands as well as developing tools to identify the best sites for future restoration.

We’ve been restoring large scale Australian landscapes for almost thirty five years. Of particular interest is the restoration and reconnection of grasslands and that experience and scientific knowhow has been critical to the success of this project.

During the project botanical illustrations of the endangered grasses were produced and these will now be on display at Canberra Airport.

We commissioned award-winning botanical artist Sharon Field to paint the collection of watercolours of local wildflowers, and the end result is stunning.

The species depicted in the artworks can be found in the grasslands at Canberra Airport and across the wider Canberra region.

Some of the species painted for the exhibition include the floral emblem of the ACT, the royal bluebell (Wahlenbergia gloriosa), Nodding Chocolate Lily (Dichopogon fimbriatus), Scaly Button (Leptorhynchos squamatus) and Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans).

Practical results

Direct seeding proved to be an efficient and cost-effective method of increasing species diversity and results to date have been encouraging with good germination and survival of Hoary Sunray, Chocolate Lily, Variable Plantain and others.

Some species were slow to produce seeds and needed to be planted  via tube stock. Also a key finding was that for direct seeding to work really well, machines were needed to remove remnant grass thatch so we could direct seed into bare ground.

Canberra Airport Managing Director Stephen Byron said: “Sustainability is a key consideration in everything we do at Canberra Airport, from our water recycling to five and six green star rated buildings to our tri-generation power plant to consideration of our natural environment, such as this project.

“We are delighted to have worked with Greening Australia to learn more about improving the condition of natural temperate grasslands and now to be able to exhibit this exquisite artwork on loan from Greening Australia.

“It is a perfect union of Canberra Airport’s commitment to the environment and public art.”

The collection is installed in the foyer of 23 Brindabella Circuit, Brindabella Business Park and is open during business hours. Admission is free of charge.

For more information contact Richard Gerathy on 0419 203 075.

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