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Nature Conservation Margaret River Region has applauded a mammoth community turn-out to two volunteer planting events last Sunday June 26, one on the banks of the Margaret River and the second a Redgate Beach.

A whopping 100-plus volunteers arrived with gloves and planting trowels to get nearly 2000 native plants into the ground to create habitat for critically endangered Western ringtail possums along the banks of the Margaret River near Kevill Falls.

The revegetation work in the riparian zone near the banks of the river enhanced existing wildlife habitat, building on four years of work by Nature Conservation volunteers.

“This was the final planting in a targeted five-year habitat enhancement project covering more than two hectares,” says Lauren Scanlon, NCMRR’s Western ringtail possum coordinator. “It’s just so heart-warming and incredible to see this many people turn out to help with this habitat enhancement project and help protect Western ringtail possums!”

Cultural custodian Zac Webb from Undalup Association did a welcome to country, with a fascinating talk about the Western ringtail possum and its main habitat – peppermint trees.

Volunteer Valerie Vallee said: “We walked away with such good feels. So many trees planted for the possums, awesome people, magical weather and epic sharing of culture by Zac Webb. I learned lots!” Another volunteer, Benjamin Robinson, said: “Epic show of community spirit to improve the health of the planet.”

Also taking part in the planting was Margaret River resident Alex Tost with his wife Nancy and their daughters Evelyn and Marnie. “We had such a great day. It was epic to get our hands dirty and plant so many trees and shrubs. It feels good to give back to this amazing place we live. And what a great turnout with a pretty special feeling of community spirit,” Mr Tost said.

The second planting session focussed on coastal conservation, with important brushing and planting at Redgate Beach, also on Sunday June 26. More than 30 volunteers turned out, getting the planting and brushing work done in less than 30 minutes.

Nestled between granite outcrops, Redgate beach is renowned for its gorgeous sandy beach and surf break. “But this beautiful beach is in need of some love,” says NCMRR coastal officer Mandy Edwards. “It was amazing to see so many dedicated people help to restore the dunes with brushing and planting. Brushing with native tree prunings helps slow erosion, traps sand and windborne seed, and protects new seedlings. It’s a simple way for us to contribute towards the protection of this fragile environment. Plus it’s great fun and an awesome way to meet new people and give nature a helping hand.”

The Margaret River planting day was delivered by Nature Conservation through funding from the Australian Government, in partnership with South West Catchments Council, and Shire of Augusta Margaret River through the Environmental Management Fund. The Redgate Beach planting day was funded through the Line In The Sand philanthropic group.