Some very kind words from Timothy Hyde re. the tree planting weekend held in
the Capertee Valley a couple of weeks ago.
On this particular weekend some 200 people helped plant 7 000 trees and shrubs
at two sites. The Capertee Valley Regent Honeyeater Group, set up initially by
Birds Australia Southern NSW and ACT Group, have been planting trees on private
property in the valley since 1994 and we are now really starting to see changes
in the landscape. Some sites are visible along the main roads but many more
are off the beaten track, just as most of the local Regent Honeyeaters are.
How things have changed. When we started work in the valley we were allowed to
plant on very small sites, often just a few trees wide and often on rocky
sites. The sites we are planting on now are considerably larger - a 100 acre
block at Glen Alice has just been completed and planting on another 100 acre
block between Glen Alice and Glen Davis is well underway. "Farmer Bob's" block
mentioned by Timothy was a bit smaller, about 15 acres but it had location,
location, location. We are now in the position where landholders are coming to
us with offers of land to be planted out. This means being able to look at
sites and establish priorities based on factors such as the proximity to sites
used by Regent Honeyeaters. I think this attitudinal change has come about by
a continued exposure to the group and to birdwatchers themselves (although I
still regularly get complaints about birdwatchers standing in the middle of
roads blissfully unaware of the traffic and parking in dangerous places).
Landholders in general are not planting trees because they like Regent
Honeyeaters, although there are a couple of exceptions, but because we are
helping find solutions to their broader land management issues such as soil
erosion, salinity and tree loss. A win-win situation is being set up and
landholders respect where we are coming from.
Another important aspect of this project is that we are supporting the local
community. Planters are booked into local cottages and dinner is provided by
the P&C of the local school (enrolment currently seven pupils but set to swell
to twelve next year) and Community Association. A raffle is run at each dinner
by the Community Association to raise money for the establishment of tennis
courts next to the school. In all, birdwatchers are now seen by many locals as
an asset to the valley.
Organising these planting weekends can be a bit of a nightmare at times but the
results are priceless. Look forward to seeing some of you at the next Capertee
planting weekend on 11-12 August.
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator
P.O. Box 2111
Dubbo NSW 2830
Ph. Freecall 1800 621 056 or 02 6883 5335
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