East Gippsland Water Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation Grants
The Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation Grants Program has been developed as part of East Gippsland Water’s 2018-2023 Pricing Submission (business plan).
Since the launch of the grants there have been ten successfully completed projects, with many more still ongoing.
Raymond Island Abbey Native Revegetation Project
Grant awarded to: Anglican Earthcare Gippsland
Located amidst the natural environment of Raymond Island and boarded by the sea on three fronts, The Abbey is a very inviting place, full of spirituality.
Over the years The Abbey has hosted many conferences, training events and camps. A high ropes course was installed when the site was used as a children’s campsite, but had subsequently fallen into disuse. Aided by a Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation Grant, Anglican Earthcare Gippsland have been able to safely remove the high ropes course and begin revegetation of the site, with the project coordinated by The Abbey’s Priest, the Rev. Edie Ashley.
Planting native and endemic fauna species to mimic the shoreline has started to regenerate the local ecosystem.
Edie often now watches the small spinebills flit in the shrubbery and says, “With assistance from East Gippsland Water’s grant, we have been able to help the native vegetation and animals to come back. The melaleuca’s are already self-propagating!”
Centenary Garden at Toorloo Arm Primary School
Grant awarded to: Toorloo Arm Primary School
Toorloo Arm Primary School prides itself on creating a sustainable culture that values building positive relationships in a safe and welcoming environment.
To create a welcoming and friendly environment, the school encourages children to take time outside the classroom.
Funding from East Gippsland Water’s Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation program has helped the school create a centenary garden full of native flora, with a centenary plaque and pavers bearing the names of past students. The focus is on instilling the school’s key values in the minds of students past, present and future.
The garden mimics the recreation reserve across the road and provides an impressive floral entrance to the school.
The teachers and staff feel the garden has brought new life to the school.
The school’s Business Manager, Julie Cameron says, “The sensory learning that the garden has brought has been immeasurable. During break times the students get to touch and walk through the garden. They see, smell and touch the changes happening as the garden grows and the seasons change. It has been such a fantastic addition to our school.”
St Brendan’s Primary School Indigenous Edible Garden
Grant awarded to: St Brendan’s Catholic Primary School
St Brendan’s Catholic Primary School in Lakes Entrance aims to give every student the individual care and attention they need to be successful and flourish in life. To assist in their teaching approach, the school has regular gardening and cooking activities.
Their East Gippsland Water Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation Grant has enabled a previously unused tree grove to be converted into an indigenous edible garden. This has an integral role to play in gardening and cooking classes, with the project being led by teacher, Mike Ryan.
Planting indigenous plants such as yams, kangaroo apples and Strawberry Gums, has brought an increase to bird numbers in the school grounds and the children have started to eat the produce they have planted.
Mike says, “The kids love the garden and they are really excited to start cropping the yams. It’s amazing to see how they connect with the garden and learn about what people ate traditionally on this land”.
Bringing back the birds at Buchan Primary School
Grant awarded to: Buchan Primary School
Over the past five years the Buchan community have been through tremendous hardships. The ongoing drought which has impacted East Gippsland hit this small community hard and the 2019-20 bushfires devastated the area.
Buchan Primary School was approved for a Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation grant to bring back the local birds, and to create a beautiful and bright native habitat for both the school and the community to enjoy.
Students and staff have done an amazing job planting, painting and organising the project, with help from the local men’s shed and community members.
After the last few years it is great to see such a healthy and blooming garden – full of colour, native flora and returning wildlife
Romawi Landcare Group Revegetating East Gippsland
Grant awarded to: East Gippsland Landcare Network
Located seven kilometres south of Bairnsdale, the Forge Creek Reserve is an ecologically important area; encompassing a chain of freshwater ponds that flow into the Gippsland Lakes.
Utilising an East Gippsland Water Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation Grant, the Romawi Landcare Group and East Gippsland Landcare Network have been able to enhance the biodiversity of a section of the reserve – revegetating the area with endemic plant species.
Native flora seedlings, purchased with the grant, have been protected from hungry herbivores with plant guards. These guards are now slowly being removed to allow room for the established plants to grow.
East Gippsland Landcare Network Project Manager Matthew Stephenson says, “While the site has struggled with invasive plants, the growth of endemic species has vastly improved the biodiversity of this ecosystem. The reserve is becoming a successful revegetation site.”
Children’s Centre Edible Native Vegetable Garden
Grant awarded to: Gippsland Lakes Complete Health
The Gippsland Lakes Complete Health Children’s Centre in Lakes Entrance was approved a grant to create a native indigenous food garden in an eco-friendly wicking bed.
The children who attend the centre have had a blast helping in the gardens and creating a vibrant space for all to enjoy.
The edible plants have started to make their way into the kitchen, with a few favourites being the Chocolate Lily, Blue Berries, Sugar Bush and the Grass Tiger Plant – which happens to be an edible flower!
Sunset Drive Groundsel Control and Remediation
Grant awarded to: Paynesville Landcare Coastcare Group
Paynesville’s Sunset Drive is a locally popular walking trail along the foreshore – boasting views of Newlands Backwater and Lake Victoria.
It is also home to many native species of flora and fauna, though this vegetation along the trail had become smothered by the invasive species Climbing Groundsel, and dominated by garden escapees such as Blackberry and Agapanthus.
Paynesville Landcare Coastcare Group, have put their Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation Grant to good use to drive out the invasive species and replant with Lomandra – to reduce future erosion on the steep slope.
Paynesville Landcare Coastcare member, Russ Peel, says, “You need to keep on top of monitoring these invasive species. Otherwise, they just take over everything! With this funding we are able to stop the spread and help the Melaleucas and Lomandras grow.”
Landcare Groups Revegetating East Gippsland
Grant awarded to: East Gippsland Landcare Network
Located on the eastern shore of Lake King, Tambo Bluff is home to wetlands and feeder gullies that flow into the lakes.
The Tambo Bluff Landcare Coastcare Group, with funding from East Gippsland Water’s Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation Grant, have been able to revegetate the land with indigenous trees and shrubs grown from local seeds and provide habitat for native fauna, such as the Eastern Whip Bird.
Plant guards are used to defend the growing seedlings from hungry animals, such as rabbits and swamp wallabies, and are removed when the plants have established roots and start to require room to grow. The plant guards are then re-used with the next round of seedlings planted – to ensure nothing goes to waste.
Tambo Bluff Landcare Coastcare Group President, Glenda Maloney, says, “We have worked hard to restore and conserve the indigenous plants and it is wonderful to see them taking off like this. It’s great for the community to see what can be done when the work is put in.”
Native Garden and Wildlife at St Joseph’s Primary School
Grant awarded to: St Joseph’s Primary School, Orbost
St Joseph’s Primary School has completed the mammoth task of transforming their existing garden into the vibrant native garden and wildlife retreat it is today.
The school was approved for a Native Vegetation and Habitat Creation grant to create an interactive learning environment for students, with areas specifically aimed at the local wildlife.
Students have had a great time watching the development of the garden and have started to add their own personal touches such as mosaic tiles and water bowls for the wildlife.
Kelly Hyslop, the school’s resident Chaplain says, “The project has been such an uplifting and positive focus after the last few years. The kids love having class outdoors and are enjoying the additional play area.”
Orbost Secondary College Pathways to Learning project
Grant awarded to: Orbost Secondary College
Orbost Secondary College was approved for a grant to create a native garden to further enhance the attractive new entranceway to their campus.
With minimal student and staff attendance during last year’s remote learning period, construction of new classrooms, an administration office and entrance got underway. Passionate teachers and staff got to work designing and planting the vibrantly colourful gardens surrounding the entrance, which includes pathways leading towards the newly constructed buildings.
All native plants and materials have been locally sourced, with working bees formed to help maintain the beautiful and thriving gardens. Plans are also underway to extend the native vegetation into other parts of the school grounds.