Tree planting & land caring go hand in hand as port Stephens gears up for National Tree Day

PLANTING: Preparing for Tree Plant day are (from left) landcare volunteer Leonie Auld, Worimi Green Team member Sam and Fran Corner.

PLANTING: Preparing for Tree Plant day are (from left) landcare volunteer Leonie Auld, Worimi Green Team member Sam and Fran Corner.

Two Landcare planting events to improve the environmental and koala habitat on the Tilligerry peninsula will be conducted as part of National Tree Day this weekend.

On Saturday, July 31, planting will take place at Gir-Um-Bit State Conservation Area in Tanilba Bay from 9am-12 noon (meet at the corner of Tanilba Avenue and Lloyd George Grove). Then on Sunday, August 1, the Tilligerry koala forest will be the site for more tree planting from 9am-12 noon (meet at Mallabula Sports Complex).

Tilligerry Landcare group member Fran Corner said that a barbecue would he held after both events at Tanilba Park, Tanilba Bay.

"We ask that people bring water bottles and wear long sleeves, long pants, closed shoes, hat or rainwear, according to the weather. Tools, gloves, materials, drinking water and refreshments will be provided. We are grateful for the assistance to conduct these events provided by the NSW government through its Environmental Trust."

Ms Corner said that the landcare group has been planting trees at the Tilligerry koala forest for three years, but it could have been a very different outcome.

"At one stage the area was earmarked to become the next sporting fields after 2035 if needed, until Tilligerry Landcare suggested that a new sportsground would be better located on top of the historic landfill which had better community access."

She said that the state conservation area had been Tanilba Bay's dumping zone and illegal bike riding site for some time.

"It is a mixture of land never sandmined (Tanilba knoll), land mined by in the 1960s (and not rehabilitated other than planting of coastal tea trees from Nelson Bay) and 1990s re-mining by RZM, which was well rehabilitated.

"We have removed the feral coastal tea trees and are planting koala forest. It is a project we are running with the Worimi Green Team and through the efforts of working together and gaining a better understanding of indigenous culture we have been able to achieve some great outcomes."

Ms Corner said that the goal for Gir-Um-Bit (meaning salt water) was to get the Tilligerry community to appreciate the site for its bio-diversity and environmental values.

"One of the strategies has been to employ the Worimi Green Team, as a result of a 3-year envirotrust grant of $75,000, to remove weeds and use and enhance the skills they have learnt working on their adjacent land and to develop ways of looking after nearby bush.

"We believe their ethic of caring for the land is what is needed for the future. We also believe we all have to work for reconciliation, for a fairer, caring society that acknowledges the bad actions of the past and creates a future Australia we are proud of.

"We are seeking similar actions that have us working together like celebrating a cultural theme for the next Tilligerry Festival and finding a Worimi name for Lemon Tree Passage Hill."

Ms Corner said that volunteer helpers were welcome to attend on either Saturday or Sunday, followed by sausage (and veggie alternatives) barbecue on the Tanilba Bay foreshore. "COVID-19 processes of distancing will be required."

REGENERATE: Leonie Auld (left) and Fran Corner are hoping to regenerate the Tilligerry conservation area to ensure its environmental survival.

REGENERATE: Leonie Auld (left) and Fran Corner are hoping to regenerate the Tilligerry conservation area to ensure its environmental survival.

National Tree Day started in 1996 and has grown into Australia's largest community tree-planting and nature care event. It's a call to action for all Australians to get their hands dirty and give back to the community. In 2021, Schools Tree Day will be celebrated on Friday, July 30, and National Tree Day on Sunday, August 1.

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