NightWings

Transforming Agricultural Land into Rainforest Habitat

NightWings Restoration

Rainforest Rescue’s Plant a Rainforest projects replant previously cleared areas of rainforest and establish habitat for the plants and animals endemic to that specific ecosystem. The work being done at NightWings is transforming fifteen hectares of old sugarcane fields into a thriving rainforest habitat to protect precious biodiversity.

The story so far

In 2015 Rainforest Rescue was approached by land-owner Annie Shoenberger, owner and founder of NightWings Rainforest Centre and devoted bat carer, to transform fifteen hectares of old sugarcane fields into thriving Daintree lowland rainforest.

In 2016 and 2017, with the help of many individuals, organisations and businesses, we cultivated and started planting trees. We also revived a wetland area to draw in the wildlife.

Between 2018 and 2022 tens of thousands of trees have been planted at NightWings by Rainforest Rescuers, both staff and volunteers, to repair this damaged land.

Today, those seedlings, some of which are now mature trees, are growing and calling this land home. By the project’s end, these trees will be flourishing between the lowland Daintree to the upland Rainforest and beyond to the coast.

Trees Are The Answer

Most of the 150 species of trees are fruiting species that attract birds and bats, further helping restoration by dispersing seeds to adjoining rainforests. These trees were propagated and prepared for planting at our Daintree Rainforest Plant Nursery. The largest trees are now over 5m high, the ground vegetation is lush and insects, lizards, and birds are repopulating this rainforest wonderland.

Rainforest Rescue staff spotted a juvenile Southern Cassowary Cassowary at NightWings in December 2018, this was the first time this species has been seen south of the Daintree River in over forty years! Read more about this sighting here. In July 2022, another juvenile was spotted – watch the video here. This is proof that restoration really does welcome wildlife back to the land they once inhabited.

NightWings Comparison 2016-2022 aerial (web)Aerial imagery of NightWings taken in 2016, 2019, and 2022. Photos courtesy of Martin Stringer Photography.

The environmental benefits are striking, with water tests showing that the replanted rainforests have significantly helped reduce sedimentation and turbidity levels that previously flowed through the rivers to the Great Barrier Reef resulting in coral and species destruction.

“We’re very pleased to partner with Rainforest Rescue and work together to expand coastal rainforest habitat while also improving water quality for the benefit of a healthier reef.” 

– John Rumney, the late and great founder of Great Barrier Reef Legacy

The success of the NightWings project relies on the support of committed people, businesses & organisations focused on restoring these complex and dynamic biodiverse ecosystems.

Annie Schoenberger, owner and founder of NightWings, is committed to this land being a refuge for fruit bats in particular, including a bat rescue center. Once reforestation is complete NightWings will apply for Nature Refuge status for permanent protection.

Projects like NightWings provide hundreds of kilometers of corridors from the headlands to the mangroves, offering wildlife a chance to thrive again in this very unique area of Australia.

NightWings Comparison 2016-2022 (web)Imagery of NightWings taken in 2016, 2019, and 2022. Photos courtesy of Martin Stringer Photography.

With thanks to those who’ve come to our NightWings tree planting days

Image Gallery

Video Gallery

2016 NightWings Planting

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2017 NightWings Planting

2018 NightWings Planting

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2019 NightWings Planting

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Growing a Rainforest Community

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2021 NightWings Planting Day

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Stay in the loop

Head over to Rainforest Rescue’s News page for the latest updates on our work preserving a vast biodiversity of plants and wildlife in our rainforests. Make sure you’re subscribed to our quarterly eNews to receive updates direct to your inbox!

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