2021 Annual Community Tree Planting and Naming Ceremony for New Nature Refuge
Trees are the Answer – 3500 reasons to be proud of your support
It’s difficult to frame in words what was such a rich and remarkably satisfying experience at this year’s Annual Community Tree Planting and the naming ceremony of our new nature refuge, Kurranji Bubu. The photos will help – but to have been there to see the culmination of our team’s efforts and the tremendous turnout in support of a greener Daintree, well, it was truly fantastic!
We had more volunteers turn out than ever before. 119 Rainforest Rescuers who came from near and far – some as far as WA – many who’ve been a part of this work for years. The goal was to make a big impact – especially since last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
And we did, indeed, make a tremendous impact.
3,500 Trees are now on their way to becoming rainforest habitat where once there was only sugar cane.
When I looked at the previous plantings over the last five years, it’s clear that we are indeed restoring the original habitat – rewilding what once was wild. And looking at the canopy rising up according to how long ago it was planted – there’s a beautiful gradient of forest emerging at NightWings
We were grateful to have the continued partnership of Bennet Walker – Kuku Yalanji elder of this land – and his son, Juan Walker (check out Walkabout Adventures). Together they welcomed everyone on to their traditional country and performed a smoking ceremony to help ensure everyone was safe on the land, and to cleanse any negative energy that might have come along for the ride.
Annie Schoenberger, owner of NightWings and avowed bat lady – with a deep love for nature and passion for this habitat that will nurture her bats and all the other endemic, rare and threatened wildlife of the area – expressed her gratitude for everyone’s participation and commitment to nature.
The planting was well-organised as usual – our Daintree Land Manager, Justin and his team did a tremendous job of arranging the trees in a template that will ensure rapid canopy closure and success for this emerging habitat.
Working from the top of the property, at the edge of the Dagmar Range and the southern arm of the Daintree, this wonderful collective of rescuers worked in the hot sun, working at earth that had so recently been soft and was now drying rapidly. But not to worry – volunteers and staff were watering as we went, making sure the trees were positioned well and bedded down nicely. I already know, this will be an extremely successful planting.
And that was just the beginning!
Daintree Native Nursery
Well, I’ve never seen so many cars parked at our little nursery, nor so many people stop by. Billed as a “light lunch” and nursery talk, we had over 40 people show up to relax after our successful efforts, enjoy a bite together, and learn about our nursery.
Marine Deliens, our nursery manager, gave a comprehensive presentation on how we propagate the trees that become rainforest again. Everyone was able to ask questions – if you have any, you can send us an email here with your questions – and we learned about the propagation cycle, how we collect seeds and prepare them, and what it takes to turn an idea into a forest.
Rested and fuelled up (delicious wraps from the wonderful Junction Café), we moved on to the next and final leg of our journey.
The property formerly known as Lot 46
Now, many of you may know about the story of Lot 46 – that it was once the oil palm plantation that disgraced businessman Christopher Skase used to line Port Douglas’ entry road with palm trees. You may know that we went out on a limb to rescue it – even when it was a weed lot covered with car hulks and rubbish and old oil palms. You may have contributed to its restoration financially. You may have contributed some time, sweat and energy.
This was 11 years in the making – and what the ABC called a success story – now it’s made it to the next phase: it is now recognised by the Queensland government as a ‘Nature Refuge’. (What is a Nature Refuge? Click on this link to find out more.)
This protected habitat now provides a safe home for the many rare and threatened species that are able to live on this restored property, in this thriving rainforest.
But that’s not all, not by a long shot.
Lot 46 is no more. Now it is Kurranji Bubu
We asked the Yalanji Language Committee if they would grant this restored rainforest a new name – one that would recognise it as “coming home” and becoming a part of the rainforest once again. And they did. They chose the name Kurranji Bubu for us.
Kurranji = Cassowary. Bubu = Land or Country.
And to make it real – to sanctify this new identity – local Traditional Owner and Yalanji Elder for the mob that is originally responsible for this land here in Diwan, Andrew John Solomon, brought family and held a very special ceremony, recognising our responsibility to protect the land, to recognise our place in and with the land, and to love the earth as she loves us.
He brought a special mixture of barks to give a special smoke to cleanse everyone and to ensure good outcomes for this land – and for everyone.
It was beautiful.
There were tears. There was laughter. Foremost, there was gratitude. And finally – with the acknowledgement of those who helped on this long road that has now led to the new refuge – we unveiled the official Nature Refuge sign stating that Kurranji Bubu is a state-recognised nature refuge.
So – it is possible to restore rainforest. And it is possible to return it to country.
Together, we are healing nature.
To find out more about Rainforest Guardians and how you can make a personal contribution to the efforts we are completely focused on—Protecting Rainforests Forever, visit our Rainforest Guardians page.
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