24 June, 2021
Planting seeds of opportunity
CREEK banks and the community are benefitting from a project that will plant 33,000 trees in the Tully, Johnstone and Russell catchments by the end of the year.
The Johnstone River Catchment Management Association, Johnstone Region Landcare Group and Terrain NRM are working together to deliver the $520,000 project, funded through the Queensland Government’s $10 million Reef Assist program.
The benefits of the project extend beyond the on-ground revegetation work with fifteen local people also gaining training and employment through the project.
Mourilyan local Ashlea Hepburn sees the work as an opportunity to work on country and further her skills in environmental management, a field she would like to explore in tertiary studies.
“This job gives me a huge amount of satisfaction, because I know I’m making a difference and improving the health of the environment.”
“I’m interested in studying environmental management and psychology, so this job is allowing me to gain experience in land management and work with a range of community members to achieve outcomes for country,” Miss Hepburn said.
Youth and Traditional Owners are amongst the team of local people employed, with thirteen receiving classroom-based training in cultural awareness, riverine processes, species selection, weeds, and crocodile awareness.
Fay Falco-Mammone from the Johnstone River Landcare Group is leading the on-ground works for the project and believes the benefits of land restoration projects are far-reaching.
“It’s more than a job to the people in our team, they’re involved in something that’s helping the environment and they’re learning a range of skills - in teamwork, problem-solving and resilience.”
“Working in wet and muddy conditions can be testing at times, but our crew are committed to getting the job done and gain satisfaction in knowing they’ve completed the task.”
“It’s such a rewarding process because many of us have collected the seeds and nurtured them into seedlings, which we’re now planting in the ground,” Ms Falco-Mammone said.
The riparian vegetation will provide a range of environmental benefits, including creating food sources for cassowaries and other native wildlife, improving soil health, helping prevent erosion and increasing the resilience to natural disasters such as flooding, cyclones, and bush fires.
Over 9000 trees have been planted on 26 000 square metres to-date.
Tens of thousands of trees are still to be planted with the project scheduled to be completed by the end of November this year.