East Gippsland Landcare Network is this week distributing 44,000 seedlings to Landcare groups in the area. More than 100 different indigenous species will be distributed to those that have applied and been approved to be part of the network’s revegetation program for 2017. Grasses and groundcovers, shrubs and over-storey trees are all included in the list of plants being distributed. Landcare group coordinator for the East Gippsland Landcare Network, Paul Harvey, said the natives support birds, insects and butterflies to survive. Mr Harvey said the majority of Landcare members planted the seedlings to “reinstate native vegetation that once existed but had disappeared due to land clearing or grazing”. “White box, for example, is able to grow in the High Country in tough conditions and rubbish soils.” Mr Harvey said natives support indigenous wildlife and “most people interested in the seedlings are on acres of land or are farmers”.
“Traditionally, Landcare plantings were for farmers’ shelter belts, but we do have a few people who are on house blocks and are interested in planting natives.” Since 1998, East Gippsland Landcare Network’s seedling program has provided over three quarters of a million seedlings for members of the 24 Landcare groups in the area. Marion and Arch Sutherland, of Nicholson, have been Landcare members since arriving in East Gippsland nine years ago. They, along with others who make up the Nicholson Landcare Group, regularly plant seedlings because they care for the environment. The Sutherlands have been very involved in planting trees and shrubs along the rail trails in the area. “We’ve always had native grass paddocks,” Mrs Sutherland says. The couple lives on five acres at Nicholson. The seedlings they collected this week were for planting on a private cattle farm on the Nicholson-Sarsfield Road. “We have a lot of old members (in the Nicholson Landcare Group) and it would be great to get some new young blood to help with plantings,” Mrs Sutherland said. Those interested in joining a Landcare group should contact the local Landcare office in Bairnsdale.