Students Join Revegetation Project at Blackwall Reach Reserve

The Blackwall Reach Reserve is witnessing a remarkable transformation as Santa Maria College EcoSisters and other students actively participate in a revegetation project aimed at restoring the area’s biodiversity. Led by a team of our staff, the students recently engaged in tree planting and will continue to contribute to a scientific study monitoring the survival rate of banksia seedlings over the next two years. This collaborative effort not only seeks to revive the natural habitat but also enhance the overall biodiversity of the reserve.

On Sunday 11 June, the students gathered, excited to be making a positive impact on their environment. Their agenda for the day included planting seedlings and assisting in setting up the scientific study. Tasks such as mapping the seedling sites, collecting fieldwork data, and recording abiotic and biotic information were carried out to ensure a comprehensive study of the revegetation site.

The primary objective of the project is to reintroduce several species of Banksia into the remnant Tuart woodland. By doing so, the project aims to revive the original middle-storey vegetation that once flourished in the area. This restoration process is crucial in improving the overall biodiversity within the reserve and creating a more favourable habitat for native flora and fauna.

However, the project’s scope extends beyond mere tree planting. The students’ involvement in the ongoing scientific study is of great significance. Through their participation, the team aims to experiment with different planting and watering techniques, monitoring the survival rates of banksia seedlings. This invaluable data will contribute to improving revegetation methods for future projects, fostering a more successful restoration process.

The success of this ambitious undertaking is a result of the collaborative efforts of various community organisations. The Rotary Club of Melville played a pivotal role by successfully securing a $20,000 grant from the Australian Government’s “Planting Trees to Celebrate the Queen’s (Platinum) Jubilee” initiative. Spearheaded by President Peter Neesham, the Rotary Club, in partnership with the Bicton Environmental Action Group and the City of Melville, has been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.

To commemorate the project’s significance, a ceremony was held on 26 November 2022, at Point Walter Reserve/Blackwall Reach Reserve. During this event, a commemoration plaque was unveiled, honouring the collaborative efforts of all those involved. Members of the Santa Maria College EcoSisters and Junior Sprouts, alongside other dedicated community volunteers, were invited to witness and celebrate this momentous occasion.

Looking ahead, plans are in place to ensure the seedlings receive adequate water during their critical first summer in 2023/2024. This initiative aims to support their establishment and maximise their chances of survival. By nurturing these young plants, the project aspires to create a flourishing woodland that will inspire future generations to cherish and conserve the natural environment.

At the helm of this inspiring initiative is Bruce Ivers, the devoted coordinator who has worked tirelessly to bring the project to life. Bruce’s expertise and passion for conservation have been instrumental in shaping the success of this endeavour, guiding the students and community members towards a brighter, greener future.

The revegetation project at Blackwall Reach Reserve serves as a shining example of the power of community collaboration. Through their involvement in tree planting and scientific research, the students of Santa Maria College are actively contributing to the preservation and enhancement of their local environment. With each seedling they plant, they sow the seeds of a greener, more biodiverse future for generations to come.

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