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Gandangara bush regeneration project Heathcote Rd Menai

Report on tree day project at Gandangara Aboriginal Land Council land on Heathcote Rd Sunday 27th July 2003 Edit Text

A tree planting project with Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council (GLALC), Sutherland Shire Environment Centre (SSEC), NSW 4WD Association, nursery at NSW Waste Services (Lucas Heights) and the general community.



The tree day was quite successful (300 plants, 39 participants competing with 7 other locations in Sutherland Shire on the day) and built better alliances within the land owning and land using community around Heathcote Rd Menai.

This report seeks to reveal the dynamics of a successful consultation and grassroots event involving a range of stakeholders and levels of support and overlapping, mutually reinforcing, strategic aims:

- Humble bush regen effort

- cultural exchange with GLALC (Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council)

- empower Robbie Bell (liaison officer, GLALC) existing environment/sustainable approach voice within GLALC

- strategic alliance with organized 4WD club to wedge the disorganized off-roaders (mainly dirt bike riders) off the area who are trashing the GLALC land at Menai.

- have a social time enhancing the profile of SSEC


The original idea for participation in this existing national PR event ie the general location came from Jo Winkler at SSEC in June 2003 who suggested partnership project with Robbie Bell liaison for GLALC. Robbie agreed in principle. Jim Sloan also of SSEC and Jo delegated to this writer ongoing coordination as part of my SSEC work for the dole time (wftd) contribution (amongst other things).

Robbie really made the site viable for tree planting:

(a) By obtaining senior management authorization within GLALC;

(b) By identifying the specific site Monday 21st July with 3 others associated with the Land Council including Kelly and another, and John Lennis. The latter especially urged the land to be ripped to break up the clay pan effect from 30 years of dirt bike use.

(c) Getting the assistance of a contractor at a discount rate (via Sutherland Council?) to do the ripping and deliver 150 cubic metres of aged mulch

(d) Direction of a crew of (10?) wftd at GALC to further action (a) and (b) above including star pickets and some webbing.

Coordination of the volunteers and local community support for a viable tree day came mainly through the other two main organisers for the day, namely this writer for the SSEC contribution, and Hemmi Voges of the local Suzuki 4WD Club. The latter was supported within her network to the extent of the NSW 4WD Association moving to adopt and support the project. No doubt this gave that peak recreation group strategic profile. An analysis of volunteer involvement shows a breakdown of 23 vollies were rusted on SSEC people/family or sourced via SSEC work (eg telephone calls responding to registration on national tree day web site, networking to Bushcare, invite letter to MP), similarly 15 via 4WD people and 1 from GALC (perhaps disappointing but compare much larger contribution during the week prior, and follow up watering which is happening apparently).

No school participated directly or indirectly in this Sunday event despite invites to three schools. The national office has a framework of a Friday for schools and Sunday for general community. Also the intervention of the school holidays made contacting their staff impossible to move beyond that pre-set framework. As a result the goal of 50 plus participants undershot.

Networking out of SSEC occurred 4 and 3 weeks prior

(a) delivery of posters to 2 local libraries (Sutherland and Menai), Sutherland square, Menai, Bangor an Jannali Public Schools;

(b) invite letters to 3 local Lions clubs, Council (mayor, Brenda - land officer, Christine - Bushcare officer), local MP, local developer (Garry Peacock re water truck) already working for Gandangara, SCRAP at Holsworthy High, Christine - NSW Waste Services nursery at Lucas Heights, with copy to GALC, schools above at (a). See copy attached.

(c) visits and follow up phone calls to several of these at (a) and (b).

(d) Bushcare kindly included our event in their newsletter schedule (2 weeks out). Havent seen this copy.

(e) Registration on the national tree day web site: search by Sutherland Council area, Menai site #2 from memory

(f) Copy of invite letter to journalist Merryn at The Leader

(g) last but definitely not least signage on the day on Heathcote Rd with dual purpose of safety (slow) and advertising (tree day here)
Networking by Hemmi with the 4WD club(s) would also have been extensive see for instance web based information at:


1. show follow up support for the bush regen work so far by participating in follow up watering. Exploit the outstanding offer of Gary Peacock to provide a water truck for a watering visit.
2. Consider how to assist, facilitate, participate in a nursery establishment run and controlled by GALC at the site (e.g. shade house, glass house) including rainwater tank water supply
3. provide (an edited?) copy of this report to Robbie Bell so he can be empowered/skilled up as to the need for promotion during a the lead up time to an event at least 4 weeks prior.
4. a slot on the SSEC web site with digital photo (available showing Nick, Jo, myself) recording in part the good effort on the day.
5. Generate own promo poster without corporates for future years.
6. Ongoing monitoring of behaviour of offroad groups in support of GLALC

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