Six years ago we first invited friends and family to come and plant trees at Yarnauwi. They came, dug holes in a windswept paddock, hunched their shoulders against the cold and ate lunch beneath one of the property’s two big old red gums. That first year most of the plants were devoured by kangaroos and deer. Amazingly, our friends and family came back the following year and every year since, with the tree-planting weekend growing into an annual celebration of moist ground and hope for the future.
With five years of plantings now well-established, in 2018 we’ve been able to scale back our plantings, focussing on filling in gaps and expanding areas islands of revegetation. This year the planting focussed on consolidating windbreaks surrounding the future house paddock, as well as plantings for habitat and erosion control around the dam. We also augmented our woodlots of Eucalyptus cladocalyx and Eucalyptus occidentalis, expanding these areas for future timber harvesting, shelter and bee forage. A dedicated team also braved the chill dam to plant a floating habitat island constructed back in the summer for fox-free roosting for waterbirds (we’ll detail the full project in a separate post).
Through the work of our community of friends, family and neighbours, we’ve now planted 5,500 plants over six years. The first few years required especially persistent optimism with low survival rates and low rainfall. Yet through the support of our community, those early plantings are now well established, reaching through the long grass. There is, for the first time in decades, the sound of wind in sheoak needles and shade being cast. Windbreaks are beginning to emerge from open paddocks and as roots reach deep, the scars of erosions are begin to settle and heal.
Our deepest thanks to the 2018 crew Jeremy, Claire, Innis, Pete, Shani, Freyja, Arlo, Anthony, Andrew, Delwyn, Rowan, Ly, Sara, Sue, David, Jeff, Sue, Mary, Sal, Jacqui, Paul and Estelle.