Federal member for Petrie, Luke Howarth congratulated the team on their efforts and outlined the objectives for the Federal Government’s Green Army Programme which not only provides opportunities for local youth to gain some important skills and experience, but also provides some real resources for the environment in terms of rehabilitating areas like Hays Inlet.
Councillor Koliana Winchester, like Luke another great supporter of the local environment, provided participants with a sausage sizzle and also congratulated the Green Army team and the Redcliffe Environmental Forum for their work within the community.
The group was then provided with a tour of the area with Chris Joyce providing some expert comments and stories on the local plant life and wildlife. The short tour finished at the impressive Osprey’s nest before the group returned to the rehabilitation site in order to plant over 200 trees and shrubs. The planting project was designed to help stabilise and enhance the local Melaleuca freshwater swamp, as well as provide extra habitat for local the local koala population.
Participants also had the chance to learn a little more about the area and its value through presentation displays provided by Pine Rivers Koala Care and the Redcliffe Environmental Forum (who also set up some interpretative signage around the area). It was also pleasing to find some of the local people turn up for the event and it was recognised that with the right care the park would become a valuable community asset.
Finally it should be acknowledged that this was a great community event, with some fruitful conversations between various community group leaders including Luke Howarth and Koliana Winchester with members of the public, the Redcliffe Environmental Forum, Pine Rivers Catchment Association, Pine Rivers Koala Care, Redcliffe Rotary, the Friends of the Botanic Gardens, the Redcliffe Scouts as well as professional staff from the Moreton Bay Regional Council and Conservation Volunteers Australia. REF would also like to acknowledge the support of the Redcliffe Golf Club and the Redcliffe Rugby Union Club for providing access to their facilities during the project.
All parties agreed that the site had tremendous potential to be developed as a wildlife refuge and an important community asset. We are now waiting to see whether our application for the next stage of the project is approved by the Green Army Programme so we can continue to work with the community, improve the ecological function of this important area and provide further opportunities for youth in our area to develop their experience and skills.