Locals dig in at Scottsdale Reserve's largest planting event

An enthusiastic group of volunteers at the World Environment Day planting event. Photo copyright Bush Heritage.

More than 150 volunteers dug in at the largest planting event ever to take place at Bush Heritage’s scenic Scottsdale Reserve on Ngunnawal Country on Sunday, 3 June.

Hosted by Greening Australia and Bush Heritage, people of all ages journeyed to Scottsdale to help plant almost 3,000 grasses, shrubs and trees in celebration of World Environment Day.

Located 45 minutes from Canberra, Scottsdale, which is hugged on two sides by the iconic Murrumbidgee River, is rich in cultural history and home to many rare birds, animals, fish and reptiles. This includes one of only ten remaining populations of Silver-leafed Mountain Gum, a remnant of Australia’s last ice age.

Greening Australia and Bush Heritage have been partnering since 2009 on a variety of projects across the 1,328 hectare former grazing property to revegetate land, enhance riparian habitat and help threatened species. Over the past nine years, over 40,000 trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers have been planted on the reserve, to restore 300ha of endangered grasslands and grassy box woodlands.

Left: Greening Australia staff at Scottsdale Reserve. Right: Scarlet Robin overseeing the planting. Photos copyright Melia Wenger.

“Scottsdale is a landscape with many amazing values – areas of really high quality vegetation, excellent landscape features and many interesting plants and animals. Some of the areas have been relatively untouched and are incredibly diverse in terms of native species, but there are also parts that have become degraded through intensive agriculture that need some help. We are concentrating on these parts of the reserve, restoring them and joining them up with the higher quality areas,” says Ian Rayner, Greening Australia Project Officer.

“The results of our early grassland restoration have been great. There are lots of wildflowers coming back into areas that were once just weeds.”

Scottsdale Reserve Manager, Phil Palmer expressed his gratitude for the many volunteers who made the trip to participate in the planting day.

“Bush Heritage recognises the role of tree planting in restoring agricultural land to good health,” he said. “The volunteers can go home happy today with the knowledge that they have helped make a lasting and positive change to the Scottsdale Reserve landscape. A connected ecosystem is nothing without all of the landholders and organisations that can and do help to look after the reserve.”

Two of the 150 dedicated volunteers who braved the rain to help plant new habitat for wildlife on Scottsdale Reserve. Photo copyright Bush Heritage.

A site planted by volunteers in 2013 is already showing the rewards.

As Ian describes, “The planting event was very successful and five years on we can really see the results. The 30 hectares that the volunteers planted are growing beautifully and flourishing, with many bushes starting to bloom.”

Greening Australia has begun work on a new project at Scottsdale funded through the Australian Government’s 20 Million Trees Programme, to restore and reconnect the reserve’s threatened box gum woodlands.

“We have a great partnership with Bush Heritage – we share a common ethos and bring different skills, abilities, and resources to the table. By working with their on-ground and support teams we have been able to achieve results which we would struggle to have resourced off our own bats. We look forward to building on the success of our on-ground work and to watching the reserve grow from strength to strength.”

The World Environment Day planting event was supported by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme and Bush Heritage Australia.

The planting site at scenic Scottsdale Reserve. Photo copyright Melia Wenger.

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