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International Student Volunteers

posted 11 Apr 2013, 18:37 by Kestrel Maher   [ updated 11 Apr 2013, 18:38 ]
student volunteers 2012 on the lantana
This year Sustainable Living Assoc director, Karyn Maher, will be leading three teams of young student volunteers from USA and Canada for six weeks between May and July to rehabilitate a vital wildlife corridor at the Bellbunya Centre for Sustainable Living.

Bellbunya is uniquely placed in the Mary Valley as a vital link between two major forests; the Mapleton National Park to the East and the West Cooroy State Forest to the West.  A main tributary of Belli Creek meanders through Bellbunya, derived from underground springs on the property.

Last year we were able to build and extend on past projects rehabilitating Belli Creek tributory, as a targeted waterway.  We were able to rehabiliate and extend a pivotal wildlife corridor between the Cooroy West State Forest and the Mapleton National Park, supporting existing Catchment Care and Council projects in the region that develop these linkages.

Working with 2 international volunteer groups, we lead two 10-12 person task forces over a total of 26 days of intensive land rehabiliation.  Through organic methods and a significant amount of labour, we were able to clear around 4 acres of invasive weeds, including Lantana, Desmodium, Glycine, Pepper Trees, Mock Orange and Ochna serrulata  from riparian areas.  In the process of clearing, we idenitified and liberated several thousand young native flora that were being smothered and inhibited by invasive weeds.  The clearing will encourage and support this process of natural regeneration.

We were able to infill important creek banks and overflow area with fast-growing native trees to provide bank stability and cover to inhibit kikuya growth, enhancing the environmental work carried out over the past 8 years and building on existing remnant vegetation, including Regional ecosystem 12.3.1.  This work will encourage and support endangered and vulnerable frog species known to inhabit this creek, including the Giant Barred Frog, the Cascade Tree Frog and the Tusked Frog.

before and after
We infilled areas of past regeneration projects and existing remnant areas, using a variety of native species that were not present on site yet would once have been part of this eco-system.  Species planted include vulnerable and rare species, such as the Giant Ironbark tree, and important habitat plants for endangered species, such as the Richmond Birdwing vine to support their known populations in the area. 

Consistent with our organic approach to land rehabilitation, plants were fed organic fertiliser and mulched when planted to facilitate initial plant growth.  In grassy areas, weed matting was used to inhibit weed competition.

In all, we planted around 1500 indigenous plants incorporating almost 100 diverse species and liberated an estimated 5000-6000 young native plants that would otherwise have been lost.  We rehabilitated around 4 acres of important habitat.


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