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    LANDSCAPE CHANGE: Volunteers Paul Harrington and John Rivett at the Project Platypus National Tree Day plantout at Elmhurst.

Platypus planters primed

Landcare leaders and volunteers are busy planning for future revegetation projects after a major plantout at Elmhurst celebrated National Tree Day.

Project Platypus Upper Wimmera Landcare Network led the plantout with 60 volunteers helping plant 2400 seedlings on Carolyn McDonald’s property.

The Project Platypus network concentrates its efforts on revegetating and overcoming degradation in the region’s critical upper catchment where creeks and tributaries feed directly into the Wimmera River system at the southern end of the Murray Darling Basin.

The organisation’s Landcare facilitator Andrea Mitchell said the success of community plantout events was measured by more than the number of trees people planted.

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“It’s as much about mud pies made, trees climbed, creeks explored and the feeling of the odd soggy sock as a gumboot is left stuck in the mud,” she said.

“You can’t help but be enthused when children and adults alike are outside enjoying themselves and helping care for the environment by planting a tree.

“Plantouts are also about the friendships made, the sharing of food, a warm bonfire, the camaraderie of working together and of course the knowledge that one day there will be magnificent trees where there are now seedlings in the ground.”

Ms Mitchell said this season Project Platypus had four community-planting Sundays, spread across the upper Wimmera catchment.

She said the revegetation projects included planting indigenous plant species to encourage plant and animal biodiversity. 

“For example, planting drooping sheoaks – Allocasuarina verticillate – will not only provide shade and shelter. It will also stabilise and fertilise the soil with its fibrous roots, provide a future seed and food source for the black cockatoo and create habitat for other birds and insects,” she said.

The latest plantout featured volunteers from across Victoria.

Gordon Flynn, who travelled from Fitzroy, described the event as ‘an excellent day’.

“There was terrific organisation and a really nice community spirit. Grow little plants, grow,” he said.

Project Platypus manager Alistair Stephens was also glowing in his praise. 

“Thanks to all of the volunteers, Elmhurst Landcare Group for catering, and staff who have made the last plantout for 2019 a great one,” he said.

The name Project Platypus for a Landcare network has historically been the subject of some confusion, but Ms Mitchell put it into context. 

“If we care and look after this end of the catchment, we might one day see the return of the platypus, which is in our hopes and plans,” she said.

People keen to find out more about future Project Platypus events can call Mr Stephens on 5358 4410.

The entire August 7, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!