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Greening Australia launches new Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo project in Victoria

Casterton Primary School Grade 5 Students with from left Teacher Jo Rhook,  Principal Rosemary Lewis and Kerry Gilkes - Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo Recovery Team Casterton Primary School Grade 5 Students with from left Teacher Jo Rhook,
Principal Rosemary Lewis and Kerry Gilkes – Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo Recovery Team

Over 50 people took part in the launch of our new project to increase critical food sources for the endangered Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo at Casterton Primary School last week.

Over the next two years, we will plant 480,000 Stringybark trees, a key food source for Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos, across 2,000 hectares of public land. The seeds of the Stringybark provide a reliable food source for the iconic bird species and its availability is one of the critical factors in ensuring their long-term survival.

The project sites located at Rennick State Forest near the South Australian Border and Drajurk State Forest near Casterton, will be planted with tube-stock and also direct seeded using a new rapid deployment methodology.

Kerry Gilkes from the South-eastern Red-Tailed Black-Cockatoo National Recovery Team spoke on the day about why the bird is endangered and emphasised the importance of Stringybark seed as a vital food resource.

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo pair. Photo copyright Bob McPherson. Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo pair. Photo copyright Bob McPherson.

Grade 5 students from Casterton Primary School will be assisting the new project by growing Desert Stringybark trees from seeds. The students have already been involved in a previous planting day run by Greening Australia.

“The involvement of Casterton Primary School Grade 5 children in planting days, growing trees and this launch is particularly appropriate. The actions taken today to assist in the long-term survival of the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo could help ensure that these special birds are still seen and enjoyed when these kids become adults,” said Greening Australia’s Senior Project Officer Doug Phillips.

Following the launch, participants went on a field trip to view the results of earlier direct seeding work completed at Drajurk State Forest.

GAs Dave Warne & Doug Phillips with Mitch Williams (DELWP) explain direct seeding techniques GAs Dave Warne & Doug Phillips with Mitch Williams (DELWP) explain direct seeding techniques

Greening Australia’s David Warne said, “Germination results to date have exceeded all expectations and if we can get these seedlings to survive through the summer, then we will have returned a significant number of Stringybark trees to the landscape, dramatically increasing food sources for these endangered birds.”

“So far this year we have direct seeded 200 hectares of public land at Drajurk State Forest at a rate of 240 seeding plots per hectare.”

Direct seeded Desert Stringybarks Direct seeded Desert Stringybarks

Greening Australia will plant another 1,800 hectares of habitat in 2017 and 2018 across the two state forest areas.

The project is funded through the Australian Government’s 20 Million Trees Programme (part of the National Landcare Programme).