NAIDOC Week planting helps community and environment

July 12, 2010

Local community members from the Friends of the Spectacles joined a Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) team to mark NAIDOC Week last Thursday by planting 750 seedlings around the Spectacles wetlands in Beeliar Regional Park.

The planting followed an Aboriginal guided walk around the large lake at the Spectacles and a lunch of traditional Australian dishes, prepared by the Medina Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

DEC’s Healthy Parks, Healthy People Coordinator Cathy Gazey said the activities happened as part of the planting season in the park which last month enlisted the help of Kwinana Scouts in planting hundreds more seedlings.

"Local environmentalists have enjoyed the winter sunshine while revegetating an area next to the amphitheatre at the Spectacles, using funding from the Fiona Stanley Hospital project," Ms Gazey said.

"Seedlings have included local banksia plants (predominantly Banksia grandis), which were propagated from seed previously collected on site by the Friends of the Spectacles, and other local seedlings including acacia, grasstree and hakea species.

"The seedlings planted will eventually be used as foraging habitat by the endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoo and will attract other native bird species to the area. Some of the plants will also provide medicinal, food and fibre sources for local Aboriginal people who still retain strong connections to the land.

"In addition to providing habitat and a food source for the unique native fauna, the revegetation effort will also serve to improve the general health of the wetland ecosystem at the Spectacles."

Ms Gazey said that volunteering was associated with many health benefits, including higher levels of physical activity, lower rates of stress and depression and stronger social networks and volunteering for the natural environment increased these benefits.

"Participants benefit their health by being involved with the planting days and also help the environment," she said.

Plants and other materials were paid for using part of $40,000 in funding provided by the Fiona Stanley Hospital project in 2010 to promote healthy community activities in areas such as Beeliar Regional Park which is managed by DEC.

Fiona Stanley Hospital’s Executive Director Brad Sebbes said that supporting local environmental programs is an important part of the Fiona Stanley Hospital project.

"We believe that working with local groups to rehabilitate and maintain the natural environment is a crucial part of our project. Funding for projects such as this planting day at the Spectacles is part of a $2.3 million commitment to support environmental and community programs near the Fiona Stanley Hospital site."