A visit from SW TAFE students enrolled in Certificate II in Horticulture, provided a fresh injection of enthusiasm to the Reserves carers; Tarragal Landcare.
Students practiced their skills in identifying weeds and endemic native plants on the reserve. They observed the important role the subsequent decaying plant material plays,(including logs) in providing the emerging plants with a layer of protection against weather extremes. Carbon rich debre plays a crucial role in protecting precious soil from evaporation and provides habitat for invertebrates such as beetles, ants, spiders and larvae.
This important rich layer of debre provides a food source for birds and small mammals of the area such as the antechinus and bush rat. The students were eager to get their hands dirty; pulling out Pittosporum seedlings, planting trees, making and erecting guards to protect them from being browsed by the reserve’s regular visitors, the swamp wallabies.
It is envisaged that the students will play a regular active role in the future by implementing the restorative actions as described in the Trewalla Recreation Reserve’s Management Plan. Collecting seed on the reserve to grow into seedlings back at the TAFE centre is just one of the many ideas that was generated. These can then be used to revegetate the open areas left after the removal of the Sweet pittosporum, with a view to improving the quality and diversity of plants on the reserve and to add to the habitat needs of the local wildlife.
This heathy woodland provides an important stepping stone in a fragmented landscape. These stepping stones are essential for our fauna species to survive predation. Keeping these environments free from weeds facilitates the recruitment of endemic seedlings. Recruitment is essential for the long term viability of any flora site.
The Reserve hosts a large number of birds and bat species including the Masked owl, Rufous and Golden Whistler, Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Crested Shrike-tit and the Common Bent wing Bat just to name a few.
The mechanical removal of large mature stands of Sweet Pittosporum in recent years has opened up the site enabling sunlight and rainfall to reach the soil. This in turn has resulted in the regeneration of native species that were previously being smothered by this invasive plant. Sweet Pittosporum is a highly invasive weed that is spreading throughout our shire at an alarming rate. It has a small berry which is a food source for many bird species. The berry is consumed by birds and distributed through the landscape.
These restorative actions, along with ongoing monitoring and evaluation at this site, are being rewarded as we are welcomed into this shady, bush nature reserve by the rich call of the Grey Shrike Thrush and the sight of the endemic, glossy dark-green, lance-shaped leaves of Kangaroo Apple seedlings. Casting our eyes to ground level we spot hundreds of baby natives including Teatree, Melaleuca and Sweet Bursaria, emerging as they capture the suns energy. Meanwhile under the shade of the Austral Bracken we spot the soft mauve flowers of the Tiny violet nestled among the clusters of their ovate green leaves.
In our efforts to support the flora and fauna of this heathland the group is seeking partnerships with other organizations and volunteers.
We have teamed up with the Department of Environment (DEWLP), Southwest Environment Alliance, the Glenelg Shire Council, Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Southwest TAFE and Conservation Volunteers Australia to manage this site but are always looking for more partners and people who would like to volunteer their time or their services. We believe that integration is the key keeping things vibrant!
If you are interested in finding out more contact the regions Landcare Facilitator: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Tarragal Landcare Group : email@example.com
Together we want to Restore this landscape, Connect it with more people and wildlife corridors and Protect it for future generations to enjoy.