Environment

Grubby knees for growing trees!

Tucked away near the mouth of the Huon River, Shipwrights Point is a popular local government-owned public recreation reserve that includes a campsite, playground, dog-walking areas, and a jetty. It is also an important foraging and nesting area for the critically endangered Swift Parrot.

Swift Parrots, recently listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ are in decline due to a number of factors; including a loss of suitable habitat for feeding and nesting, as well as nest predation by the introduced sugar glider. A migratory parrot, they breed mostly along the south-eastern coast from St Helen’s to Southport.

The black gums (Eucalyptus ovata) that can be found at Shipwrights Point are not only part of a threatened coastal woodland vegetation community but also provide an important food source and nesting habitat for Swift Parrots, who feed on the nectar of the flowering trees and make their nests inside hollow tree branches or trunks—which can take hundreds of years to form.

From 2013-16 NRM South and the Huon Valley Council’s NRM Unit have been undertaking habitat enhancement work and community engagement to take care of the important vegetation community at Shipwrights Point. The health of native vegetation has declined over a number of years at the site, this is partly due to the fact that Shipwrights Point experiences large visitor numbers and has to accommodate a range of recreational activities. Mature black gums at the site were suffering from fungal growth, with some trees posing a threat to public safety due to the risk of falling limbs. The aim of the project has been to safely retain as many of the existing mature gums as possible, and revegetating key areas of the site to provide habitat for the longer term.

From 2014, staged revegetation works were carried out at the site, which were completed in May 2016 with community planting day involving 167 students from Sacred Heart Primary School, and additional support from pakana services and Castle Forbes Bay Landcare Group.

“The community tree planting event was a great success. It was educational, engaging and gave a sense of ownership to the local community in this project and the values at Shipwrights Point. Kids were able to learn more about Swift Parrots and how they will help to protect them.” Tim Ackroyd, NRM South Facilitator

Over the next year, the focus for the site will be maintenance, weed control, in-fill planting and installing interpretation signage. Check out our gallery from the final tree planting day in May. Five different year groups from kinder to Grade 6 spent the day flexing their green thumbs and planting a range of native seedlings, which will one day be welcome habitat for the endangered Swift Parrot that is known to use this site at Shipwrights. Well done to Sacred Heart’s ‘Green Heart’ warriors!

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