Quiksilver Foundation sponsored the day's planting and this enabled Quiksilver staff to work alongside members of Torquay Landcare and Angair. Because attempts to re-vegetate Red Rocks had failed on earlier occasions, different techniques were tried that had not been used in the area before.
Hail was forecast for the day but this did not deter the twenty Quicksilver staff who volunteered their working day to join twelve more volunteers from Torquay Landcare and Angair in order to re-vegetate Red Rocks – an outcrop of the Surf Coast, adjacent to the Point Addis Marine Park and the Surf Coast walk along the cliff tops. All this was possible because Quiksilver Foundation sponsored the day’s activities.Red Rocks is a tough spot, with compact red clay and ironstone as soil, deeply eroded gullies and an aspect open to the southern ocean of Bass Strait, without the cover of protective vegetation. In previous years, other groups had tried to re-vegetate the site. The first major planting in 1997 had little success; similarly three more years 2000, 2002, 2004 produced few surviving plants. June 9, 2009 was the second major attempt to re-vegetate the area, so you can be sure there will be planters who return to the site to inspect its progress over the following months and years. Quiksilver staff were guided in their planting by members of Torquay Landcare and Angair – a longstanding conservation group from Anglesea and Aires Inlet. Because there had been failed attempts before, different techniques were tried that had not been used in the area before.
A pinch of crystals as wetting agents was added to the base of each hole a tablet containing fertilizers appropriate for indigenous plants, was carefully dug into the side of each hole. Mulch from local indigenous trees was spread in a circle around each plant (but far enough away so as not to cause ‘collar rot’), to hold the moisture in the soil, protect roots from excessive heat of summer sun, and enable fungi from these chips of wood to enter the soil and break down the nutrients in the soil, making them available, as food, to the tiny seedlings. Planting in early June will help the seedlings get a head start before the long hot summerGuards were not used, enabling young plants to grow without the flapping of plastic.A mechanical auger was used to dig most of the holes. This more than
doubled the number of plants we were able to get in the ground on the
day.Volunteers found it was fun to be working communally and in the process, six hundred plants were planted in the tough Red Rocks environment within the three hours that were available before the downpour. Quiksilver staff were interested to learn that seeds had been collected from the area 9-12 months earlier, and propagated by a group of dedicated conservationists from Angair as well as Geoff Clark of Otways Indigenous Nursery. When revegetating, conservationists aim to replant species that already grow in the area – ‘local provenance’, this is called. It takes a lead time of about a year to collect appropriate seeds, propagate and grow as seedlings in tubestock for several months. Plants that were considered for the late Autumn/ early winter planting of Red Rocks included: Sarcocornia quinqueflora - Beaded glasswortApium prostratum – Sea CeleryAlyxia buxifolia – Sea boxGoodenia ovata (sp prostratata) Correa reflexa – Common correaLeucophyta brownii – Cushion bushLeucopogon parviflorus – Coast Beard-heathRhagodia candolleana – Seaberry saltbushAllocasuarina miseria – Dwarf sheoakAllocasuarina verticulata – Drooping sheoakMelaleuca lanceolata - MoonahAcacia pycnantha - Coast wattle
Pomaderris paniculosa (needed for a future planting)Correa alba var resembling pannosa - White correa (needed for a future planting)Strong muscles and willing spirits from Quiksilver pushed wheelbarrows the 100 metres from mulch heap to planting site. Land Managers of the area, ParksVic, supplied a 4x4 bike and trailer to transport even more mulch, along with two very able staff, Suzanna Mccoy and Lochlan Davies. The Surf Coast Shire supplied truckloads of mulch. Landcare Co-ordinator from the Surf Coast and Inland Plains Network (SCIPN), Mandy Coulson added her experienced hands to the efforts of the day. And Amos, aged 7 years was there, hard at work with his wheelbarrow. The all important hot and nutritious refreshments of the day were managed by one of Torquay’s characters, ‘the ice-cream man’ from ‘Frenchy’s on the Esplanade,’ who donated his services and equipment for the day. Hot lamb and vegetable soup, crusty bread and dim sims warmed the grateful planters as they came in from the cold. All declared they’d ‘do it again next year’, and hoped that more people would join the process of revegetating the coast.