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Regent Honeyeater Project planting to kick off

Volunteers will travel to Lurg this weekend for the beginning of the Regent Honeyeater Project's annual planting.

August 7, 2014 3:24am

Regent Honeyeater Project volunteers at a recent planting day at Winton.


Volunteers from across Victoria will converge on a Lurg creek bed this weekend for the beginning of the Regent Honeyeater Project’s planting program.

Now in its 20th year, the Regent Honeyeater Project focuses on regenerating the natural habitat of threatened animal species in north-east Victoria.

Project organiser Ray Thomas said 25 habitat sites would be restored for threatened species such as the regent honeyeater, grey-crowned babbler, squirrel glider and brush-tailed phascogale.

‘‘There are threatened species in our backyard because so much land has been cleared over European settlement times and most farmers these days recognise that we have to do something about that otherwise the landscape itself can’t even support us,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve been lucky enough to have over 30000 people who’ve joined in over those 20 years and that’s added up to well over half a million plants in the ground now.’’

The regent honeyeater is one of the rarest species targeted by the project and feeds on the iron bark trees found in only four locations in Victoria, one of which is Lurg.

‘‘Some of the species have got so close to extinction in the district or in Victoria or Australia, they’ve got so low that to do nothing is just criminal really,’’ he said.

‘‘Whatever we do for the rarest ones of course helps all the others too and keeps the ecology healthy and the landscape healthy, and that’s good for all of us.

‘‘We’ve got threatened birds and mammals growing measurably, their populations are certainly improving because of what we’ve done and that’s measured by bird counts and nest box checking.

‘‘It makes wind breaks, stops erosion, improves water quality and all those kind of things so it’s a win-win.’’

This weekend is the first of four where members of the community can participate in the successful program.

Mr Thomas said each year about 35000 trees are planted across the district with the help of schools, local organisations and volunteers.

Benalla Scouts has already assisted with two planting days, with about 4000 plants in the ground.

Planting days will be held on August 9, 10, 23 and 24, and September 6, 7, 20 and 21. Bookings are required for catering purposes; phone Ray Thomas on 57611515 or email ray@regenthoneyeater.org.au

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