The best thing I have done…

Me back in 2006. This area were I am standing is now beautiful rainforest. I used to water the 1000s of plants every Wednesday for a few hours during the drought.

Me back in 2006. The area were I am standing is now a beautiful littoral rainforest. I used to water 1000s of plants every Wednesday for a few hours during the drought.

Me with Joan, a lovely woman who was a huge inspiration and mentor for me in my early 20s. I am very thankful of her guidance and passion to inspire me to be a better person everyday.

Me with Joan, a lovely woman who was a huge inspiration and mentor for me in my early 20s. I am very thankful of her guidance and passion to inspire me to be a better person everyday.

… has been getting involved in Landcare. Seriously. I am not being all Landcarey or trying to convert anyone to planting trees, pulling out weeds and cleaning up kilometres of coastline but what if I didn’t get out of bed early one Spring morning in 2006. Where would I be?

Everyday I am thankful for that very experience. Getting on my once beloved Kawasaki EL 250 and cruising across the Sundale Bridge with nothing on my mind other than being eager to know what happens at The Spit and who was behind creating 93 ha of habitat, open green space and a community legacy for generations to come to enjoy and be part of. Wow, my heart just skipped a beat and eyes watered. Why? Because I am thankful for Friends of Federation Walk doing what they do.

For over 14 years the many ‘Friends of’ Federation Walk have gotten up early on a Sunday morning once a month to plant 100s of native coastal plants. Today, the number of plants amount to most likely half a million trees, shrubs, herbs and dune runners to create the littoral rainforest that buffers the narrow spit, a coastal destination loved by many and now an eco-tourism destination only a stone throw from the glitter strip.

This coming Sunday marks another monthly community planting day at Federation Walk Coastal Reserve or more famously known as The Spit. Yes, it is winter and the sun will have only just risen at 7am but now is the perfect time to be up early, enjoying the crisp clean sea breeze and planting a community legacy.

If only we all did a little bit more like the many ‘Friends of’ Federation Walk? What could be achieved? I believe and envision happier beaches. Now is the time to get up this Sunday morning and join Friends of Federation Walk to restore the coastal dunes at The Spit.

When – Sunday 28th June, 7am – 10am

Where – meet at Philip Park carpark opposite the entrance to Seaworld

Have fun!

 

Growing dune plants

Goodness knows how many dune plants I have planted, let alone grow to nourish the narrow dunal corridor along Gold Coast’s beaches. But I have had some time away from the dunes in more recent months while I finished off my Honours thesis so yesterday was quite the experience for me to be back on the dunes and planting native dune plants to help restore the dunes at Lacey’s Lane, Palm Beach.

A group of us got together for International Surfing Day 2015 and planted about 100 plants – 20 plants from pots grown in a local nursery and 60 or so cuttings taken straight from the beach. Most of the people didn’t know you could plant cuttings, so it got me thinking… to propagate and grow dune plants for my local beach. Cause I’ve been wanting to plant more dune plants along the foreshore at the end of my street so I am now one step closer having now propagated some dune plants at home – this morning.

As it is really easy I thought it would be handy to share my knowledge to inspire you to start growing your own dune plants (or other plants) and then even donate them to a local dune care (land care) group.

I hope this ‘how to’ is helpful for you!

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Along the foredunes take cuttings from native dune plants (note: only take what you need).

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I chose Yellow Beach Bean and Coastal Pig Face, it is an easy dune plant to propagate and there was plenty at Lacey’s Lane.

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Cut the runners at about a metre in length so you can take further cuttings from the runner / to re-plant the entire cutting where you might need some dune plant coverage on the dune.

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Be creative about what you can use as a pot. We had some left over coffee / beer bio-paper cups so I made some holes at the bottom to allow drainage.

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Then fill the cup/ bottle/ pot with seed raising and cutting potting mix.

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Hanging pots are great to use too! I found some extra pots in the shed and some plastic bottles in the recycling bin. It’s always best to re-use waste.

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Put a teaspoon of native slow-release selective fertiliser and mix it into the soil.

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Cut the runners into smaller cuttings and place in the soil and then fill up the cup/ bottle/ pot with soil to the top.

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If the runners are longer and you have a bigger pot place them in a circle and cover most of the foliage with soil.

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Then place the propagated native dune plants in the sun and water well once – twice a day depending on moisture. They should be ready to plant in the dunes in about 6-weeks.

Gold Coast Intrepid Landcare have a pretty neat resource about ‘how to grow plants’. Check it out below and get into it! The more plants we grow and plant the healthier our planet will be! More native dune plants planted = happy beaches.

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Give Happy, Live Happy… it’s Volunteer Week

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So, it’s National Volunteer Week and I have been asked to share my two cents about volunteering. Being an obsessed and at times an over-committed volunteer this requests sits well with me. Yeah, that’s fine… I’ll write a blog in my sleep.

But I am inspired and for a million and one reasons! It’s National Volunteer Week! It can’t get any better than this, right?

Well it can. But before I share how it can get better – than right now – I must take a trip down memory lane to share my volunteer experiences.

My parents have always been giving people so it’s in my DNA to be give back too. I am finding it hard to remember the very first time I volunteered, but I imagine it would have been doing fundraising drives at school or church. This soon evolved to run refugee kids clubs at Zonta get togethers when I was a teenager. I had actually forgotten about this until a Zonta member recently reminded me on how she met me… as that was so long ago. Then while cruising through high school we all did the Salvo’s Red Shield Appeal and the 40hr famine – yay for Barley Sugars!

Then boom. There I was standing on a bare sand dune helping a small group, well two other people aged 60+ caring for the dunes at Federation Walk Coastal Reserve on the Gold Coast. I was in my first year of university studying environmental science and was shocked to find out that there was only three people (including me) caring for 93ha of coastal dunes – that day (there is an ongoing group but still). I remember thinking to myself, geez, if no body else volunteers out here we’ll be here forever.

And so, that was my pivotal volunteer moment. I shared my inspiring possibility of encouraging other students to come along and help the oldies do their thing, which in fact turned into my first volunteer project – as I somehow became the coordinator (and didn’t even know it).

Fast forward almost a decade and today I still volunteer. Thinking on top of my head I reckon I volunteer in part or full capacity for 8 organisations… and sit on about 6 Boards / Committees. And in between currently driving four new initiatives – can’t wait to share the new and shiny Gold Coast Intrepid Landcare initiative with you, next week!

I do work in between to cash up my bank account for a while and to pay my bills, but volunteering is more important and it has in many cases opened employment and now consultancy opportunities.

The best part about volunteering is being able to be creative, imagine endless possibilities and have passion and purpose for a cause that is close to your heart. Without getting to soapy, volunteering has connected me to a world filled with amazing people, inspiration and dreams.

So, can it really get better than this, right now? It can and it starts with you …. find a local cause that sits well with your values and volunteer as you never know where it might lead you. And if you already volunteer pick up another volunteer opportunity and go crazy!

If you are looking for an eco-volunteer adventure I’ll give Landcare Australia a plug since I’ve somehow become a Young National Ambassador for Landcare!