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“A time to celebrate & inspire” – 2024 Annual Community Tree Planting Recap

 In 25 years, News, Restoration, Tree Planting, Uncategorised, Volunteers

Rainforest Rescue 2024 Annual Community Tree Planting Attendees

What an amazing Daintree day of tree planting!  

After what has felt like the longest wet season in recent memory, it was a real joy for the Rainforest Rescue community to come together at Nightwings Rainforest Centre on 18th May. In the 25th Anniversary year of the organisation, the Annual Community Tree Planting (our 9th at Nightwings) was always going to be a noteworthy occasion.

Thanks to everyone who participated, the day exceeded all expectations!

 

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Enjoying Nature’s surprises

Due to the late-ending of the tropical wet season, our planting plot was a little soggier than previous plantings! However, the location of this portion of the restoration project site also signalled it was time for championing native species that like ‘getting their feet wet’, as the lowland slope creates an area that will naturally become a wetland.

Relishing the challenge, together we planted 2,400 young and healthy rainforest trees from 82 species into the soil. The Native Nursery team were on-hand to guide planters with information about each tree species, explaining the curated choices for the prepared plot.

This year, 139 volunteers, local residents, business and conservation partners and Rainforest Rescue team members made the event one of much more than rainforest restoration. That’s not to undermine the amazing hard work from everyone involved, instead, it’s the realisation that days like this are bigger than us. They are a clear signal of a determined movement of people who care deeply about the natural world and its future.

Nightwings Rainforest Centre owner, Annie Schoenberger, set the tone of inspiration and celebration for the tree planting with a wonderful (and original) poem:

To the Kuku Yalanji, I give my heartfelt thanks,
For their support and presence in these forested ranks.

As the Walkers greet everyone to this cherished ground,
May the ancestors blessings forever be found.

When I bought this beautiful patch of land in 2014
Nothing but cane was to be seen.

And being a carer, who looks after the flying fox,
I thought, let’s plant a habitat that rocks.

For all the wildlife that lives in this shire,
a stunning home which they would desire.

A place for all the critters to call home 
For bandicoots, pademelons and cassowaries to roam

Along came the Rainforest Rescue Team,
Taking on the job with great esteem.

From day one, they were such great help,
Their dedication and experience made my heart melt.

Growing little seedlings into beautiful plants,
And even helping me out with grants

Because as much as I wanted to plant tree after tree,
Unfortunately nothing in this world comes for free.

To fulfill this dream with financial support,
Was their idea and the best forethought.

So they planted out this land, stage after stage,
From cane to rainforest they’ve definitely turned the page

With every seed and sapling we sow
A sanctuary for wildlife begins to grow

With every tree we plant, we pledge to defend
This precious habitat, that will never end.

For the rainforests future, we stand as one
Guardians of nature, until time is done.

So come join us now, in this noble endeavour,
To plant, to protect and cherish forever.

Annie Schoenberger

Annie’s poem was a lovely surprise to all who heard it, emphasising the time and energy it takes to ‘plant a rainforest’ and the brilliant legacy it in turn creates.

Throughout the tree planting, Rainforest Rescue’s good friend and traditional Yalanji Owner and Elder, Bennett Walker, kindly shared stories with people after welcoming them to Country, which preceded his friend and Traditional Owner from nearby, John Hartley’s beautiful smoking ceremony. Along with Annie and Rainforest Rescue’s nursery manager, Marine Deliens, Bennett guided tree planters around the regenerated rainforest site. These walks highlighted the rapid growth of the rainforest plants, as well as examples of where mini-ecosystems are forming, such as around a fallen tree from the wet season storms.

Together, the trio wove stories of ecology, culture and history into the tours. For those listening in, it was a valuable chance to learn about the rainforest and its significance.

 

Tree Planting and Rainforest Tour at Nightwings Rainforest Centre

 

Away from the flourishing forest, the Walker Brothers band and our wonderful Conservation Partners created a ‘mini festival’ feel. In a relaxed, convivial environment conversations turned to ones of hope and good cheer after a difficult start to the year in the Douglas Shire. The Wet Tropics region has a great deal of interconnected environments and inhabitants, so this was a perfect opportunity to bring those connections to the fore. From fruit bats to fungi, bush tucker to beetles, we’re amazed at how far our Annual Community Tree Plantings have come as a point in time to join together for nature.

To see so many familiar smiling faces makes all of us at Rainforest Rescue incredibly proud. Thanks again to those who could attend and the continuing support of those of you who couldn’t on this occasion.

 

A day to remember

Rainforest Rescue’s CEO, Branden Barber, summed up the spirit and endeavour of the Tree Planting:

“This is a special time for Rainforest Rescue and its supporters. Coming together to plant thousands of trees in the Daintree is always precious, but to do so in our 25th anniversary year is unreal! Today is a chance to celebrate and inspire, to take action through restoration. It really is the best time to plant a rainforest!”

Each year our mission resonates with more and more people and partners. Our Annual Community Tree Planting is testament to the shared belief in something valuable to us all – healing the land and restoring the plants and animals of this most ancient of rainforests in Far North Queensland.

We simply cannot do what we do without you; you make us possible and you make us successful. We are so much better together.

#TreesAreTheAnswer #TheBestTimeIsNow

 


 

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