Making a huge difference

Cooler days and wet weather may encourage many people to stay indoors but for dedicated volunteers across Western Australia, the change in weather means it’s time to start planting. Across the State over coming months, hundreds of volunteers will plant thousands of seedlings in revegetation projects aimed at improving the environment.

Natural Resource Management Western Australia (NRMWA) Chair Jim Sullivan said it was thanks to the efforts of volunteers that revegetation can happen at the scale it does.

“The hours of labour put in by volunteers working to improve our environment is phenomenal,” Mr Sullivan said. “Without that volunteer labour, the task simply wouldn’t get done.”

Revegetating degraded environments with locally native plant species provides habitat for wildlife, with direct and tangible improvements in biodiversity.

“Throughout Western Australia there are numerous examples of regional NRM groups working with community groups, local government and others to achieve great environmental outcomes that benefit everyone,” Mr Sullivan said.

Near Busselton, the local group GeoCatch has partnered with the City of Busselton in a long-running revegetation project. The area, vested in the city, abuts the Broadwater nature reserve and was previously farmland. GeoCatch Chairperson Will Hosken said GeoCatch had been working to rehabilitate the site for the past nine years.

“We have made some great progress in transforming former pasture into natural habitat for local fauna and look forward to seeing the revegetated site once it is fully established,” Mr Hosken said.

City of Busselton’s Senior Environment Officer, Will Oldfield, said the project will return multiple benefits. “The revegetation work will help form a buffer for the nearby wetland,” he said. “It will also create a corridor by linking nearby vegetation thus providing the threatened Western Ringtail Possum with important habitat.”

Funding, such as that made available through the Federal Government’s National Landcare Program is often directed towards projects that involve volunteer labour.

“We were excited to see Federal Government continue its commitment to the National Landcare program in the recent Federal budget,” Mr Sullivan said. “We thank and congratulate the Federal Government on committing $1 billion to the program over the next five years. It makes a huge difference to the environment, which means it makes a huge difference to everyone.

“Making a difference is the reason why we all get involved in NRM, and we always have opportunities for more people to get involved.

“Groups embarking on their winter planting programs can always do with more hands on deck.”

To find a group working in your local area and get involved contact your local NRM regional group. www.nrmwa.org.au/regions

NRMWA is a peak body representing seven regional NRM organisations that in combination cover the entire state of Western Australia.

www.nrmwa.org.au

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Media contact: Jill Griffiths 0418 243 655 jill@writecourse.com.au