Transport for NSW, John Holland Rail, The Hunter Great Eastern Ranges Partnership and Taronga Zoo have partnered for a second year to run their highly successful Regent Honeyeater Project along a disused rail corridor in the Upper Hunter. Each partner offers a crucial ingredient to a conservation recipe, combined to help halt the decline of the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater and many other woodland animals.
The Hunter Great Eastern Ranges Partnership offers extensive knowledge in connectivity conservation, which seeks to connect people and nature by restoring and revegetating patches of private land that create ‘stepping stones’ to the protected, public reserve system. Work undertaken by the partnership across the Hunter has helped fund, deliver and align many projects with private landowners with ecological and agriculture benefits.
Taronga Zoo has a long-standing and well-respected conservation ethic, which not only educates the community about animals through captive enclosures but also undertakes important recovery projects for species such as that of the Regent Honeyeater, involving reproduction and eventual release into the wild. This year Taronga will resale a record 100 Regent Honeyeaters into the wild.
Transport for NSW owns many kilometres of used and disused rail corridors within NSW. In this project, they offer the corporate funding and on ground space to create unique restoration sites for the Regent Honeyeater along a disused rail corridor stretching from Merriwa to Sandy Hollow.
As part of this year’s project the partners have delivered school workshops and a planting day for students from Sandy Hollow, Denman and Martindale Public Schools. Workshop activities included; school nature surveys, close encounters with Australian native animals during a visit by the Taronga Zoo-mobile, plant propagation and school ground habitat assessments.
Workshop activities were followed by a tree-planting day at a restoration site along the disused rail corridor from Merriwa to Sandy Hollow. “Tree planting along the disused rail corridor will involve the community in habitat protection for locally occurring, threatened woodland species such as the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater” said Amber Grant, Environmental Manager for John Holland Rail.
The workshop and planting day aims to develop a sense of stewardship among children for the protection of their local environment, a message that can then be communicated back to their families and the wider community.
Media Contact: Daniel Lumby, Environment Coordinator – John Holland, Country Regional Network, M: 0418 309 338
Link to photos: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/WfRRo
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John Holland Rail, on behalf of Transport for NSW, Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the Hunter Valley Partnership of the Great Eastern Ranges formed a partnership to deliver a Regent Honeyeater Restoration Project along the disused rail corridor from Merriwa to Sandy Hollow. This unique partnership aims to improve community education about native wildlife and restore habitat connectivity by increasing biodiversity within non-operational rail corridors.
The project, funded by Transport for NSW, commenced with a one-day workshop with children from Merriwa Central and Sandy Hollow primary schools. The workshop aimed to develop an understanding of locally occurring threatened species and to create a sense of stewardship among children for the protection of their local environment. Educational activities were warmly received by the students and included bird surveys, seed identification and planting trees in the school grounds. A visit from the Taronga Zoomobile allowed students to get up close and personal with native fauna including an echidna, ring tailed possum, frogs and a shingleback lizard. As part of the workshop children had the opportunity to work on environmental action plans to present back to their school, families and community.
The project concluded with a tree-planting day at a two hectare site along the disused rail corridor at Gungal. Restoration works involved planting 2100 grassy box woodland plant species which aims to improve habitat for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater, a nomadic visitor to the region as well as many other native plants and animals. The site is situated between the Goulburn River National Park and the Manobalai Nature Reserve and will create a ‘stepping-stone’ across the landscape, improving movement corridors for wildlife.
The Hunter region is ecologically unique due to a natural gap in the Great Eastern Ranges making it one of only three areas on the eastern seaboard of Australia where coastal ecosystems extend inland. As such, movement corridors between the east and west are important as well as those to the north and south along the Great Eastern Ranges Corridor.
The partnership hopes to deliver further restoration projects of a similar nature in the future and will continue to engage new schools and the wider community in the process.
A hightail link to a few of the photos taken from the project can be found by following this link https://spaces.hightail.com/space/llTgO
Also, see the link(s) (either hightail or youtube) below to the promotional video taken of the two day project with school kids from Merriwa and Sandy Hollow Schools:
https://www.hightail.com/download/cUJYTkFqayt6RThUWThUQw OR https://youtu.be/zByfOpxdcZM