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4 January, 2021

The Treeforce was strong in 2020

Despite COVID-1 placing restrictions on activities, Treeforce volunteers managed to plant 3610 trees around Cairns in 2020.

Volunteers helping with tree planting at Huntley Crescent Redlynch Valley Estate earlier this year.

More than 20 Treeforce volunteers gathered on the last Sunday morning of November for a final tree planting activity in what was a strange year.

‘Treeforce’ stands for Trees For the Cairns Environment. Since it was founded in 1992, members of this not-for-profit community group have planted countless thousands of locally native trees around the Cairns region, many of them in the Freshwater Creek catchment.

Activities during recent years have focussed on the Radjirr Radjirr site, behind St Andrew’s Catholic College in Redlynch, and in Brinsmead, along Goomboora bike path, downstream of Goomboora Park, and to the highway.

Recent Cairns Regional Council works on the Goomboora and Glenoma bike paths have linked Council and Treeforce revegetation projects for the community to access and enjoy. 

This year started further up the Redlynch valley with a planting, supported by Cairns Regional Council, at Gamburra Drive. That was before Covid-19 halted activities.

After about six weeks, a limited number of socially-distanced committee members ventured out to Radjirr Radjirr to remove vines. Most were balsam pear (Momordica charantia), which can smother the younger, smaller trees.

A highlight of this activity was admiring the young forest that had grown up in an area which, only two years previously, had been dominated by guinea grass.

As restrictions eased, more volunteers joined the ‘de-vining’ activities before moving to Huntley Crescent, Redlynch, to complete another Cairns Regional Council-supported planting.

In total, 2295 young trees are now flourishing at Gamburra Drive, Huntley Crescent and Rice’s Gully.

Planting, however, is just the start. The little seedlings require attention in the form of watering and weed control for the first couple of years before they are mature enough to fend for themselves, so much effort is expended on this important work.

In normal years, Treeforce hosts occasional groups of overseas students for plantings, works with children from local schools and participates in Clean Up the North rubbish collection.

It has recently expanded its role further to include a variety of Citizen Science projects, having received grants from the Australian Government’s Communities Environment Program and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science’s Queensland Citizen Science Grant.

So far volunteers have been introduced to techniques for conducting vegetation surveys and have been learning more about electric ants.

The coming year will see an expansion of these projects, allowing members to be involved in a number of studies such as water quality assessment and plant and animal surveys – as well as planting more trees.

Next year is shaping up to be an exciting year for Treeforce. After the end-of-year break, regular Sunday morning activities will resume. New (and returning) volunteers are very welcome.

Further information:, or contact Lisa, Treeforce coordinator, at or 0435 016 906. Stella Martin is secretary of Treeforce.

Article submitted by Treeforce Secretary, Stella Martin.

Treeforce volunteers planting trees at Radjirr Radjirr in 2018. Two years on, this Treeforce planting is now a forest, almost as tall as the trees in the middle distance, planted five years ago. Photo: Robert Gesink

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