Above From left, Anthea Nicholls, Jennifer Penfold, Wendy Marriott and Jacquie Ridler hard at work during a Wednesday workshop at the The Jallukar Native Grasslands Project.
Jallukar Landcare Group’s area covers the Mt William catchment in the Wimmera. The group is one of the 11 member groups under the umbrella of Project Platypus Upper Wimmera Landcare Network.
Revegetation has been a priority for the group with a major project to plant corridors of trees that link the Grampians to the Pyrenees. The group has also tackled rabbit baiting, weed control, and advocacy for their local landscape.
Their most inspiring recent project is a commitment to saving the area’s native grasslands. In 2016 a meeting with the Wildlife Art Museum of Australia Foundation (WAMA), the Grampians branch of the Australian Plants Society, and Greening Australia, revealed the critical need for native seed in order to restore the region’s grasslands.
The Jallukar Native Grasslands Project was created under the auspices of Jallukar Landcare Group. Members collect seeds from native grassland species and propagate these species in the group’s nursery. The aim is to grow the seedlings in seed production areas and harvest the seed for larger grasslands projects.
The project philosophy of restoring native grasslands through building community capacity has rejuvenated the group and galvanized members.
There is a deep commitment to the value of local flora and fauna within the group that is dynamic, social and increasing membership.
A nursery has been established along with one seed production area, and two further seed production sites are planned for 2019. Several workshops on seed collection and identification have been held and the group has hosted visits from local schools and other community groups.
According to the group’s chair, Glenda Lewin, the project has really brought people together.
“It’s such a positive story. The project is all about doing something active for the environment and it sparks joy for all involved,” Glenda said.
“The seedbank project has inspired volunteers of all ages, although most of the regulars are semi-retired, tree changers or they own lifestyle blocks. We’d like to see younger people involved so we have made a deliberate effort to increase engagement through social media and links with schools, as well as those visiting the Grampians,” Glenda said.
The group has developed strong links with the Grampians branch of the Australian Plants Society and WAMA and is partnering with Greening Australia.
Jallukar Landcare Group’s native grassland restoration project is an outstanding example of volunteer achievement – both for the environment and for the spirits of the people involved.