Planting efforts boost forest understory
Just a few years ago this section of the Margaret River foreshore was just grass and weeds – but thanks to local school students it is now packed with native plants and becoming a forest with habitat for wildlife.
It’s just one of several sites that local students visited as part of Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s Adopt a Spot program, involving Year 4 students from nine schools across the Capes region. Each class learns about an area of bushland, river, foreshore or coastline, and throughout the year the students care for it by weeding, planting native seedlings, and watering, bagging and staking the plants.
This week, the Year 4s visited locations such as Merchant Street creek that were tackled by their predecessors in 2021 and 2022 to see what their efforts will look like in a few years’ time. And the students were blown away by the remarkable transformation, with areas that were cleared or choked with weeds just a few years ago now home to a wealth of native shrubs that are in full bloom, providing food and habitat for native bees, other insects and pollinators, birds and marsupials.
Adopt a Spot program officer Tracey Muir said the successful revegetation was a testament to the enthusiasm and hard work of our local school communities. “The kids, teachers, parents and volunteers in our Adopt a Spot program are all keen to get their hands dirty, to make a difference and actively care for the landscapes we all love,” she said. “Being connected to nature is so important for our wellbeing and to counteract all the doom and gloom. It’s a way to recharge and fell inspired, knowing we can make a positive difference.”
In the last 12 months, the Year 4 students planted more than 2000 cuttings, almost 900 seedlings, and laid down 5 trailer-loads of brush to protect seedlings and dunes. Sites that have been cared for and rehabilitated include riparian zones along the Margaret River and its tributaries, as well as coastal and foreshore conservation at some of the region’s most popular beaches, including Redgate, Hamelin Bay, Cowaramup Bay and Yallingup.
Nature Conservation Margaret River Region general manager Drew McKenzie says environmental education is vital for inspiring the stewards of tomorrow and a key part of the not-for-profit group’s work. It includes the Adopt a Spot program, involving Year 4 students from nine schools, and the Our Patch program, involving Year 3 and Year 6 students from six schools in the Margaret River region. Adopt a Spot is generously funded through the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River’s Environmental Management Fund and the Line In The Sand philanthropic group.