Community-led effort to plant thousands of seedlings

Community-led effort to plant thousands of seedlings

    By Katie Loughran  March 19th, 2024

    Two dedicated site coordinators are hosting a month-long planting event supported by Planet Ark’s Seedling Bank.


    Nestled among urban sprawl lies a hidden gem – the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Gully, home to the serene Upper Tucki Tucki Creek. Despite its urban surroundings, this creek serves as a vital refuge for the endangered platypus and purple spotted gudgeon populations. However, recent environmental assessments by the local Landcare group have highlighted a crucial need to enhance the creek’s health by planting vegetation right to its water’s edge. Throughout this May, a community-led initiative aims to transform this vision into a reality.  

    The project's goal is clear: to plant along the entire length of Upper Tucki Tucki Creek, enriching its banks with native vegetation. The initiative, spearheaded by the Goonellabah Tucki Landcare group, seeks to safeguard the platypus population, and improve the overall water quality of the creek. With the support of around 200 volunteers from The Living School, Lismore Nature Kids, local residents, and community groups, they are aiming to plant 4,000 seedlings to rejuvenate the ecosystem and provide vital support to local wildlife. 

    Secretary of Goonellabah Tucki Landcare, Shaen Springall, has been working with volunteers to create a large corridor along Upper Tucki Tucki Creek riparian zone to improve the creek health over the last four years. The creek is in poor health because of its urban location with ongoing development and runoff entering the creek. Shaen and volunteers are aiming to filter the runoff by planting right to the water line at the end of the wet season.  

    “I’ve grown a variety of five different species that can get their roots in deeply quick, so they don’t get washed away by the time the next wet season rolls around.”  

    Planting native vegetation along the water’s edge serves multiple purposes. Not only does it provide crucial habitat for the endangered species, but it also helps stabilise the banks, mitigating erosion and reducing sedimentation in the creek.   

    Last year’s efforts, supported by Planet Ark’s Seedling Bank program, laid the groundwork for this blossoming conservation project. Over 3,000 native seedlings kickstarted the journey towards a healthier, happier riparian zone and a thriving ecosystem. This year’s planting event builds upon the success of past initiatives.  

    Shaen and his planting partner Doug - who has 50 years of experience in bush regeneration - take a month off their full-time jobs each year to commit to this ongoing project. They’ll be planting every day in May with the help of others to ensure all 4,000 seedlings get planted. As the community bands together once more, their united efforts serve as a beacon of hope for endangered wildlife and the fragile ecosystems they inhabit. Through their dedication and collective action, Goonellabah continues to set an inspiring example of environmental stewardship, showing the transformative power of community driven initiatives. 

    “I know that if I plant trees, I can make a difference in my community and I just hope that I can also influence others to join me,” Shaen says. 

    Every extra set of hands helps reach the 4,000 native plants target, volunteers can register here. They will also be hosting an educational Open Day on 1st June where anyone from the public can come and attend educational talks, plant a tree or watch a wildlife show. You find out more information on both events through the Goonellabah Tucki Landcare facebook page.  

    For National Seniors Week this week they will be hosting a guided walk through the creek to encourage Senior citizens to join community environmental restoration projects. 


    Positive Actions

    Katie Loughran

    Katie has a broad experience in non-profit program management and communications. Outside of work, she finds joy in gardening, cooking, and hiking. With a passion for animals and environmental conservation, she often spends her weekends volunteering at her local dog shelter and participating in beach clean-ups. Katie's goal is to see 30 million trees planted for National Tree Day.

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