Preparations had been going on for weeks at Crookshanks for the continuation of the planting of a proposed seven kilometre wildlife corridor from the Murrumbidgee River in Crookshanks’ River Paddock to Crookshanks’ Peak along Dry Plains Road near Cooma. At Crookshanks, we were very grateful to have received enough funding and assistance from the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, from Rivers of Carbon, from Greening Australia, from Land for Wildlife, as well as from our Upper Snowy Landcare Network and its volunteers to enable this to happen. Continuing funding from the Biodiversity Conservation Trust, is contributing to the creation and maintenance of Crookshanks’ healthy native grasslands which are very much a part of the broad wildlife corridor.
The first tree planting day, 26 April 2022, started in an early morning of bustle and the arrival of Nicki Taws, a zoologist and botanist from Greening Australia in Canberra. At the appointed time, 7.30 am, Nicki was there with her delivery of 1,000 trees for the West Peak Creek riparian planting. These koala-attracting trees and shrubs were the third 1,000 trees having been donated by Greening Australia, Canberra to the Crookshanks’ proposed corridor over the previous three years. Nicki also delivered that morning a second 1,000 similar trees, separately funded by Rivers of Carbon for our Murrumbidgee River riparian planting.
Spot spraying of weeds to make way for the trees had been the first task in preparation. This had started along West Peak Creek some seasons before but following La Nina, with a couple of wet summers, more initial weeding was necessary through the first weeks of April. Our River Paddock had also needed to be divested of a thick carpet of serrated tussock. The kilometres of 60 cm deep careful trenching by Cameron Potter of both areas having been completed a few days before, another round of spot spraying the trenches was necessary in the days leading up to planting. Several volunteers and workers had already been staying in the cottage attached to the homestead from three days before, performing these last minute tasks to ensure the future viability of our new trees and shrubs.
The amazing international team of Stone Brothers’ tree planters arrived soon after Nicki Taws, agreeing, as usual, to insert soaked water crystals in the bottom of each tree hole, and to bury each tree or other plant halfway up the seedling to ensure the development of deep roots. Our many volunteers and friends from the Upper Snowy River Landcare began to arrive about 8.00 am to build 2000 tree guards, always keen, always jovial, as in the earlier plantings. There were people assigned to deliver water crystals and tree guards to the planters throughout the morning along West Peak Creek, and in the afternoon, along the river.
Meanwhile, the luncheon chef and storyteller (John Boyd) engaged some volunteers on the cottage verandah to assist. As midday approached delicious barbeque and varied salad scents were wafting out into the paddocks to draw in the volunteers to an “as much as you can eat and drink” Crookshanks’ lunch. Old friends renewed acquaintance and new friends were made, as is usual on these occasions. We are always so grateful to have this selfless, willingly offered assistance from so many volunteers.
The late April day was short, and the evening closed in early. Many of our volunteers had returned home to their families. For those who stayed the night there was a convivial evening meal and more planting to do the following day. It was a huge task to finish the whole job of planting 2,000 trees in two days. John and I feel hugely grateful to all the participants, volunteers, and paid workers alike. We were also very pleased to have younger children come along to help with their parents who are aware enough to be introducing them to environmental issues necessarily early in life. This all bodes well for a healthy future for our planet.
As the years progress and another 5,000 trees are planted, we are hoping that our volunteers will feel some ownership of the wildlife corridor that they have helped create. We also hope that some will be young enough to visit our wildlife corridor on a continuing basis, and in twenty years, to admire and to study the transformed environment replenished with wallabies, koalas, platypus, rikali, quolls, possums, wombats, echidnas and other native mammals, endangered birds and snakes, and Macquarie perch. As well, we are hoping there will be tall forests of healthy native trees, with a thriving understorey of shrubs, forbs and grasses to house them. Our Crookshanks’ friends will know that they have contributed to Australia’s efforts to slow global warming and climate change.
A huge thank you to all who contributed to a healthier and safer world, and in particular to the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, to Rivers of Carbon (Lori Gould), to Greening Australia (Nicki Taws), to Land for Wildlife, as well as to our Upper Snowy Landcare Network (Lauren Van Dyke) and its volunteers, and to the Biodiversity Conservation Trust, in supporting our wildlife conservation endeavours.
Crookshanks Wildlife and Conservation Reserve
1227 Dry Plains Road (PO Box 212)
Cooma NSW 2630
+61 2 64537209