“He who plants a tree, plants a hope”

– Lucy Larcom

Rivers of Carbon – National Tree Planting Day 2019

On a very misty, cold morning, Tom and I headed out from Canberra to Baw Baw, about 15mins out of Goulburn, to set up our National Tree Day planting site with partners Greening Australia, and landowner Keith Gray. We met at a large, formerly swampy meadow site, and saw that Keith had been very busy with water cubes all ready to go, stock moved, and a broad smile welcoming us to his property. As we busied ourselves with signs, registration tables, BBQs and many many plants, I reflected on how fortunate we are to be doing activities that can engage people from many different places, but with a common purpose, in this case planting trees.

Misty morning with the site a ‘blank canvas’ apart from strategically placed water cubes.

Greening Australia’s Jenilee Delandre and Lucy Wenger getting buckets and plants ready.

Lucy Wenger taking volunteers through the planting demonstration and safey briefing.

Buckets and plants ready to go into the hands of volunteers. All photos: Siwan Lovett.

At about 9.45am people started to arrive, and we were underway. Over the next 45 minutes we had 120 people join us on site, completing planting demonstration and safety briefings, and then heading out with their mattock and bucket of plants to get their hands dirty. It was incredible to see the transformation of the swampy meadow take place. Here are some photos that show the change. You will notice that the site is broken into two fenced out areas with a stock laneway in between. This is to enable Keith to move his stock across the property without them damaging and trampling the plants volunteers put in with such care.

All photos: Andrew Lowes.

This year we also provided an added incentive for people with the Coffee ‘n Cream van strategically situated between the two planting areas. Hot chocolates, teas, milkshakes and coffees were provided to say thank you to our wonderful volunteers. We were delighted to have so many families, students and community groups come along and share the morning with us.

All photos: Andrew Lowes.

In just under 3 hours we planted 1200 trees, shrubs and grasses to transform the site. Our BBQ lunch was a happy affair, as we sat above the site and looked out at the great work we accomplished together. Keith was absolutely delighted, and thanked everyone for their efforts and goodwill. We had so many people help us, and I want to extend a particular thanks to Andrew Lowes who took so many great photos, Stuart Naylor, our WaterNSW partner who travelled from the Blue Mountains to be part of the morning, Lori, Sophie and Kelly for being great bus and site marshals, and Ange, Lucy and Jeni from Greening Australia, who get things done and are a pleasure to be around. I also want to mention my husband Tom, who took on various roles including lugging signs, being a parking attendant, BBQ maestro and all round general support of all that we do.

Photo credit: Andrew Lowes.

Landholder Keith Gray delighted with the morning’s efforts. Photo credit: Andrew Lowes.

BBQ time. Photo credit: Andrew Lowes.

Friend Andrew Lowes who happily planted trees and took on the role of chief photographer. Photo credit: Volunteer.

Tom at the BBQ. Photo credit: Siwan Lovett.

Keith thanking everyone for their efforts. Photo credit: Andrew Lowes.

Photo credit: Andrew Lowes.

It was a really great morning, and we were particularly pleased to be working on a swampy meadow site. Last year we worked to raise the profile of swampy meadows and their importance in this region, so it was terrific to be restoring such an important site. If you want to know more about swampy meadows you can follow this link to our film and fact sheet:

>> Buffers, sponges and moderators: Managing swampy meadows, wetlands and chains of ponds

The work at Keith’s place is also very much a part of our Stock and Waterways focus, and Keith has taken a couple of extra Guides as a way to talk to his neighbours about possibly joining with Rivers of Carbon to extend the work we have started on his place. It is these connections that are vital for change to occur, and with Keith’s help we are hopeful of doing more work in this district.

>> Visit the Stock and Waterways website and guide

As we drove home I felt so happy to be part of something where people can come together and really make a difference. Thanks again to everyone who was part of this special day.

Siwan 😊

Site at the end of the day. Photo credit: Siwan Lovett.

Group photo – Jeni, Andy, Ange, Stuart, Lucy Keith and Tom (Siwan)

Group photo – Jeni, Andy, Ange, Stuart, Lucy Keith and Tom. Photo credit: Siwan Lovett.