Threatened Species Day was commemorated near the village of Taralga on September 9, with a community tree planting at Eel Hole Travelling Stock Reserve.
It was also Landcare Week and over 20 people attended, planting nearly 150 shrubs and trees on the afternoon, and hearing presentations from Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) ecologists who spoke on the requirements of a range of locally threatened species and encouraged people to be involved in community recovery efforts for these endangered species.
Local environmentalist Marke Selmes said for some former Taralga Primary School students it was a return to the site where they had planted trees in 2009.
“Jem Green and Mikayla Hall were delighted to find the eucalypt trees they had planted eight years ago, and then helped to plant more on Saturday,” Mr Selmes said.
“Casie Hall recalled the fun of that past schools day out where she had been shown how to collect and identify many of the tiny aquatic invertebrates in the nearby creek, as part of a stream health program. Her sister Annie Hall remembered being told to watch out for crocodiles, after someone had placed a fake croc in the creek.
“Sheridan Trevenar was a teachers aide at the original school tree planting and has witnessed the growth of the trees over the last 8 years while driving past on her way to work.
Danielle Green, one of the parents at the schools day said: “it was amazing to return and see how they’ve grown.”
Saving our Species (SoS) Community Engagement Officer Debbie Hunt spoke about the SoS program, which is attempting to address the growing number of plants and animals facing extinction in NSW, and the need to raise awareness of the important role locals can play in ensuring their survival.
“Community cooperation was also the theme for OEH botanist and SoS project officer Anna Murphy, who highlighted issues with the endangered Buttercup Doubletail orchid and plans for future hand pollination of plants to prevent possible extinction,” Mr Selmes said.
“Everyone can be a ‘citizen scientist’ and help in the identification of further populations of this species . Damon Oliver (OEH) focused on locally threatened birds - including the Gang gang cockatoo, scarlet and flame robin and diamond fire tail, and the need to protect hollow bearing trees where possible. We were very fortunate to have such knowledgeable presenters on the day.”
Mr Selmes said the recent plantings were designed to support the few older remnant trees on site and the 60 gum trees planted by the schoolchildren years ago.
“It will hopefully improve the reserves biodiversity values, creating a mosaic of habitat requirements and help in bringing back some of the areas declining bird species. A fun day of positive actions for all ages, combined with an important message for conserving our precious native plants and animals into the future,” he said.