By: Sheamus O’Connor
“Give me a turn at planting!” One of the students from Mount Gravatt State High School protested down at Site 1 of the Mt Gravatt Environment Group Pollinator Link Project. Over the past two weeks, progress has been at full velocity with the amazing help of students, teachers and many other keen volunteers. Between the bottom and top ovals of Mount Gravatt State High School, there is a superb strip of land once dedicated to the flora and fauna of the area.
Almost 30 years ago (from local sources), this area was planted up majorly with Grey Ironbarks Eucalyptus siderophloia. What may have been planted as part of the understory no longer exists. Around two years ago, a mass population of Guinea Grass Panicum maximum appeared and suffocated the landscape. With this infection came the poison. The entire area between the ovals was bombarded with chemicals, killing everything right to the ‘bone’. Now what remain are a few Ironbarks and Wattles. This project is a critical and vital link between Mount Gravatt Conservation Reserve and Norman Creek catchment via Glindemann Creek, Holland Park.
It was only Wednesday last week that the massive pile of mulch appeared, quickly emitting heat in the pouring rain. However, the on-and-off rain did not deter the students and so mulch was laid down at the most perfect of timing. A reptilian ‘hideaway’ was constructed adjacent to a dug out water course using rocks, large logs, branches and anything else we could find scattered around the area.
The next stage; planting, quickly arrived. Firstly, Scented Top Grasses Capillipedium spicigerum were planted; at least 100 were keenly planted by the students. A small family of Pied Butcherbirds Cracticus nigrogularis greatly enjoyed our company, striking anything that moved in the moist mulch. A number of local residents were highly interested in all of the commotion, as a great sum of the local community uses the ovals regularly for recreational activities. In contrast, Site 1 of 4 Sites has been completed. This project is massive, but enormously exciting and awe inspiring at the same moment.
All we are hoping for now is a long season of rain!