Conservation ‘super group’ recruiting more than 300 new volunteers to restore native habitat after Cudlee Creek

Landcare Australia

Eight environmental groups have joined forces to support bushfire regeneration in the Adelaide Hills after the devastating Cudlee Creek blaze destroyed over 21,000 hectares.

Boosted by funds from the Landcare Australia $300,000 Bushfire Recovery Grants, the Habitat Recovery Alliance is focused on habitat restoration through the seeding and planting of local native species on private and public properties.
With partners for the Habitat Recovery project including Kersbrook Landcare Group, Barossa Bushgardens, Mt Pleasant Natural Resource Centre Inc, Cudlee Creek Fire-Garden Recovery, Seeding Natives Inc., Mt Pleasant Farmers Market Inc and the Mt Pleasant Progress Association, the Upper River Torrens Landcare Group (URTLG) called for volunteer assistance.
This generated an avalanche of email responses resulting in over 300 new volunteers who wanted to be involved in the nursery activities.
Kim Thompson, Secretary of the Upper River Torrens Landcare Group said: “This grass roots project had already attracted much volunteer support and there was a real opportunity to increase engagement with the community and deliver wildlife habitat outcomes on the ground. The formation of the HRA will strengthen those efforts in the road to recovery.”
In February and March, the HRA worked together to facilitate seedling workshops for eager volunteers. Upon the completion of each of the workshops, the growers were able to take home the kit they had prepared and take care of seedlings until planting season. These efforts produced 16,750 seedlings from 42 different plant species offering a practical way for the wider community to support the recovery process for wildlife habitat.
Though progress has been delayed by the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, the HRA are in the process of planning and scheduling the next stage of the recovery by getting those seedlings in the ground.
Furthermore, HRA have collaborated with the local Mens Shed and Rotary Groups to build and install nest boxes for around eleven native species that have been impacted by these fires.
The species include birds Boobook owl, Grey Strike-thrush, Kookaburra, Treecreeper and small mammals like microbats, pygmy possums, ringtail and brushtail possums. Natural tree hollows are essential habitat for these species, so providing artificial nest boxes during this recovery can really make a difference.
Made possible due to the extraordinary volume of donations from generous organisations and private donors, the Landcare Australia Bushfire Recovery Grants will support 23 wide-ranging regeneration projects focusing on activities including impacted rainforest revegetation, nest boxes for decimated native species and feeding programs for endangered wildlife.
Kim added: “Funds from the Landcare Australia Bushfire Recovery Grant will enable the Habitat Recovery Alliance to deliver essential habitat restoration across the fire scar.”
Key issues for all the grant recipients include restoring essential wildlife habitat, management of invasive weeds, erosion control and protection of our waterways and aquatic habitat.
The funding came from generous donations during the bushfires from across the country and around the world, including Landcare Australia partners Brambles CHEP, Bushman’s Tanks, Bloom Aid and Hawkes Brewing.
**Kim Thompson is
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