The group behind planting 85,000 in Bundy trees and counting
A NATIONAL environmental group is seeking more local projects to complete in the area after planting 85,000 trees in the Barolin Nature Reserve in the past three years.
For one Bundaberg Regional Council employee, gaining the support of not-for-profit group Greenfleet has been the highlight of his job because of how much it has been able to achieve on the protected 220 hectare reserve.
Melbourne based Greenfleet chief executive Wayne Wescott attended a tree planting event at the reserve yesterday, attracting about 30 volunteers which included senior eco-tourists from places such as the Blue Mountains.
On this occasion there were 750 trees being planted including acacias, banksia, bottle-brushes, and an endangered tree called Gregs Wampi, which were supplied by Gin Gin Landcare.
Greenfleet applied for title protection of the land, which is owned by the state government but managed by the council, with the aim of protecting the trees for a century.
Mr Wescott said the organisation found benefit in continuing projects beyond the reserve because of the high growth rate of trees, which was superior to most places in the country, and because of the need to decrease light glow to protect loggerhead turtles.
The group was in discussion with a local indigenous group further up the catchment for another site, and in other areas that should not have been deforested.
"You have got to think long-term multi-generations about how we can develop hope," Mr Wescott said.
"People need jobs and development, I totally understand that.
"We don't want to lose those 30,000 tourists that are going to bring in millions of dollars every year, so you've got to work out how to manage that."
Last week the state government announced a five to six storey height restriction on developments in Bargara.
Mr Wescott preferred not to comment on local political processes considering he was an interstate visitor, but he welcomed a debate in managing the environment.
"All power to those who are coming up with ways to encourage development that's sustainable, that's what we're about.
"Queensland is going to continue to develop but what we need to do is make sure it's smart for the future, not the past."
Bundaberg Regional Council's Botanica and Arboriculture coordinator Carl Moller said that Greenfleet's local involvement attracted support from other organisations such as Disney and the Prince's Trust, which led to last year's royal visit to the area.
"The involvement of Greenfleet has probably been the highlight of my professional life in council," Mr Moller said, having worked there six years.
"I rang them up because someone referred me to them, I'd never heard of them.
"I never realised it would develop into such a big project...it's led to so many things."
Mr Moller said planting on the reserve was significant in protecting Mon Repos, having been in an ideal position to block more lights from Bundaberg.
Burnett Mary Regional Group program manager Nick Maclean described the reserve as "a nice slice of bushland on the coast in such a highly developed area."
He said it would have taken 30 years for the council to complete the work that Greenfleet did in three years.