FNPW Launches New Bushfire Recovery Nurseries

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW), the charity partner of Australia’s national parks, has awarded grants to new bushfire recovery nurseries in New South Wales and South Australia as part of its mission to plant one million trees in bushfire affected regions by 2025.

To date, eight nurseries have been supported by FNPW’s grants in NSW, ACT and SA, with the most recent being Mount Barker District Council (SA), Trees in Newcastle (NSW) and Upper Shoalhaven Land Council (NSW).

FNPW’s grants, supported by One Tree Planted and L’Occitane Australia, will expand the capacity of these existing tree nurseries to propagate thousands more native plants for erosion prevention and animal habitats. Seedlings will be established from indigenous tree species in each of the nursery locations and will be planted in national parks across Australia, as well as other public and private lands that have been affected by bushfires.

Grant awardees include:

Mount Barker District Council (SA)

In partnership with Hills Biodiversity, the Council will expand its nursery facility and upscale its resources to plant a total of 16,000 additional seedlings to support 35 threatened native species, with a particular focus on SA Blue Gum, Wirilda and Varnish Wattle. These seedlings will contribute to the bushfire recovery efforts in the Mount Lofty to Kangaroo Island Connection and cater for volunteers working on Council projects, with many of the plants grown by Hills Biodiversity and the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning group to be planted on private land.

Trees in Newcastle (NSW)

Trees In Newcastle (TIN) is a long-established community environmental organisation made up mainly of volunteers. Since 1989, the native plant nursery has been committed to conserving native vegetation, supporting the community with environmental initiatives and offering bush regeneration and consultation services.

Since the bushfires of 2019 – 2020, TIN has been involved with landowners in the Laguna-Wollombi, Port Stephens and Merriwa areas to collect seed, provide planting advice and supply native trees. With the grant provided by FNPW, the Nursery will expand its capacity by an additional 10,000 trees to plant a total of 33,000 native trees. These trees will support the Wollemi NP, Lower and Upper Hunter, Central Coast and Blue Mountains World Heritage Area regions.

The native trees, including the Grey Ironbark, Forest Redgum, Spotted Gum and Black Sheoak, will support threatened species such as the Glossy Black Cockatoo, Powerful Owl, Regent Honeyeater and Koala.

Hunter Region Landcare Network Incorporated (NSW)

Hunter Region Landcare Network (HRLN) has been working with Merriwa Landcare and the Upper Hunter Shire Council’s sponsored “Green Thumbs” project (created for the community during 2020’s COVID-19 uncertainty) to train community members in plant propagation.

Participants took plants home to grow prior to transferring them to Muscle Creek Landcare’s nursery in Muswellbrook, with approximately 800 native plants produced – the bulk of which were included in the revegetation of areas affected by the Sir Ivan fire of 2017.

Few species currently in the Muscle Creek Landcare nursery are suitable for areas burnt by the 2019/20 fires however targeted seed collection activities in conjunction with Wollombi, Broke-Bulga, Three Valleys (Putty), Congewai and Martindale Creek Catchment Landcare groups will be undertaken in adjoining areas later this year to support the recovery of Wollemi National Park and Blue Mountains World Heritage areas.

The awarded grant will go towards establishing a 10,000 capacity community nursery in Merriwa run by volunteers passionate about restoring wildlife habitat and improving local biodiversity. Hunter Region Landcare Network has ongoing assistance from Hunter Local Land Services to collect and grow primarily Grassy Box Woodland species in the region.

The Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council (the umbrella organisation for landcare in the Upper Shoalhaven, Upper Deua & Lake George Catchment areas in South East NSW)

Given recent droughts and bushfires, it is an important time to bring the Braidwood and surrounds community together to help collect a local seed bank and propagate more native tubestock. This grant will allow for the launch of a five-year-in-planning community nursery program, with the capacity for 16,000 seedlings across 20 tree species, including Blackwood, Brittle Gum, Ribbon Gum and Snow Gum, as well as threatened species such as the Araluen Gum and the Mongarlowe Mallee.

Mr. Ian Darbyshire, Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, said:

These community nurseries play a significant role in restoring our national ecosystem. We are currently working with our government and corporate partners across bushfire affected states around the country to secure more nursery locations so we can sooner achieve our goal of planting one million trees by 2025.”