by Jo Roberts
As we begin 2016, it’s a great time to pause and reflect on the past year for Red Earth Ecology with an overview of 2015’s planting, recent activity, and plans for this year’s regeneration.
Red Earth Ecology is a specialised crew which nestles cosily in the embrace of Burning Seed’s Leave No Trace Team. We provide a forum to gather and share information about the ecology of Red Earth City and the local Riverina area as well as specific plant groupings and animal associations.
We visit our beautiful forest playground throughout the year, documenting all the changes to the site’s flora and fauna, and creating reference libraries to monitor these changes over time.
In the lead up to Burning Seed we have an important role in educating Burners about how to tread more softly on the land that we all share for that wonderful week of the year, and we also run regular, and popular bush walks during the event to help give participants the opportunity to connect with the land and environment which supports Burning Seed..
Each year, in Autumn, Red Earth Ecology works with local farmers on bush regeneration projects to increase flora biodiversity and also to provide specific types of habitat for several local bird species that are in decline.
This regeneration effort is largely driven by recognition that part of our Civic Responsibility to the community involves off-setting the biodiversity loss to the ecosystem at Red Earth City that is inevitably caused each year by the impact of us few thousand souls who participate in Burning Seed each year.
In late 2014 Red Earth Ecology began a regeneration partnership in Matong with a local farmer and Burner family David, Sonya, Rosie and Digby Spencer -Currie, and in May 2015, about 30 volunteers spent a weekend working
together, planting about 2,500 seedlings of 40 varieties. Check out some of the photos from that awesome weekend.
The crew gathered were like a brains trust of diverse and fascinating knowledge. It was a great opportunity to teach each other more about the plants, animals, changing ecosystems and social history of the local area. In the evenings, we feasted, laughed, loosened, relaxed. Thank-you so much to our hosts, to those Burners who travelled up to 8 hours to be there, to the locals and the Wiradjuri community for their gracious hospitality and participation.
About half of the plants we source each year are grown at cost, in the Brucedale Community Nursery and Seed Bank outside Wagga Wagga, managed by me, Jo Roberts, and my father Keith. In the late Spring following Burning Seed last year we spent time seed collecting, focusing on Acacias and other hard seeded local natives, and battling hoards of ants for the nutrient rich booty, which we then planted during a small working bee in December.
This year we are continuing to plant on the same land, extending last years plantings, and beginning on some new goals for 2016 and beyond.
We’ll be holding another bush regeneration planting weekend on 22-24 April 2016. If you want to get involved sign up on the event page on Facebook.