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Growers for Greenspace

The aim of this 18 month project, funded by a NSW Environmental Trust grant, was to promote the protection and rehabilitation of biodiversity corridors on both public and private land across the Strathfield, Ashfield, Bankstown, City of Canada Bay and Hunters Hill council areas. The project ran from July 2010 to December 2011 and involved training and assisting community members to propagate and grow native plants (in their own backyards, courtyards and balconies) for revegetation projects in the Parramatta River catchment.

Project highlights

  • A total of 85 residents across the catchment participated in the project and completed nationally recognised training in Basic Plant Propagation.
  • Collectively they propagated over 7,165 native seedlings that were planted at 10 strategic sites around the catchment.
  • Over 65 of the participants were new to environmental volunteering (78% of the total number of volunteers who completed training).
  • The volunteers engaged in the project were from a diversity of age groups and cultural backgrounds.
  • A total of 355 participants were involved throughout the project, including planting days.

Project background

The Parramatta River Catchment Group recognised there was an opportunity to attract a greater variety of volunteers, specifically those who may consider themselves to be time-poor, or perhaps physically unable to participate in other urban environmental volunteering activities such as bush regeneration, revegetation, and flora and fauna monitoring. Additionally, the PRCG identified that the number of local provenance plants required for installation at Bushcare sites across the catchment is beyond the supply capacity of council and community nurseries.

To address these needs and to raise awareness of biodiversity issues in the catchment, the Growers for Greenspace project aimed to recruit new volunteers and provide them with the knowledge, skills and materials to contribute to the rehabilitation of biodiversity corridors through the production of locally indigenous native plants in their own homes. It was also anticipated that the project would engage and build on the skills of keen home gardeners and encourage them to grow native plants for their own gardens rather than other exotic species.

Project outcomes

The Growers for Greenspace Project was highly successful in engaging the community in hands-on environmental restoration projects in the Parramatta River catchment. The project was also very successful in raising community awareness of ecological issues of the Parramatta River catchment and of native plant species indigenous to the catchment and its many vegetation communities.

The project captured the imagination of the participants and many expressed their intentions to come back in five and ten years time to see the trees and shrubs that they grew from seed. The participants who generously gave their time as part of this project enjoyed their involvement, as shown in a follow-up survey of all participants in October 2011. A total of  51 responses was received from 85 participants. Highlights from this survey were:

  • 96% of respondents would recommend the program to others
  • 37% were interested in propagating more plants at a community nursery
  • 61% were interested in propagating more plants at home
  • 90% were interested in seed collecting for local revegetation projects

Comments from participants:

“This program was a good opportunity for me to try propagating and growing native plants at home, which I’ve never done before. The training was fun and engaging, and it was rewarding to plant out the seedlings that I raised and watered for months. I’m looking forward to seeing the difference we’ve made 1o years into the future when the plants are bigger. I will definitely come back and do it again, and I’ll bring some friends with me!”

“Thankyou very much this project inspired me to go back to TAFE and I am doing conservation and land management cert 3 & maybe cert 4 & diploma”

“Thankyou very much for a great project! It was a lot of fun. I learned a lot and met people from my local area with similar interests whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise!”