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