Progressive partnerships transform a town
24 June 2013
The Parndana Progress Association has been awarded six state NRM Community Grants since 2009 gaining almost $60,000 for its projects. In return it has provided over 700 hours of volunteer time.The aim of these projects is a challenging one—to eradicate all feral plants from the natural bushland in and around Parndana and plant more appropriate plants around the town. Most of these plants have escaped from gardens in the town except for the pines that were planted many years ago. Volunteers have assisted contractors in removing large Pinus radiata trees and hand-pulled smaller trees and seedlings. They’ve also removed Melaleuca armillaris and also seedling Melaleucas, Sollyas, Grevilleas, Proteas, Cotoneasters, Polygalas, Watsonias, Wattles and other weedy species.The Progress Association has formed a great partnership with the students and staff at the KICE Parndana campus. The school for years had wanted to remove the pines on the school farm since it received advice from an agronomist that it would improve the farm pastures. It didn't have the funding to do so but working together with the Association it has been able to achieve this.This partnership continued with Trees for Towns Grant project funded through Trees for Life. The school provided the facilities to grow the seedlings and children helped with the tube filling, seed planting and watering. With Trees for Towns funding hundreds of native trees have been planted around the school and town. School students visiting from the mainland have also helped with planting and installing tree guards.Parndana Sports Club has also partnered with the Association. Members have provided most of the work force to remove the larger plants. In turn the Association has been able to keep money in the community by paying the Sports Club for their valuable help with manpower and equipment.Natural Resources KI staff have supported the Progress Association by providing advice and assistance in plant removal and assistance with grant applications.To stop the chance of reinfestation the Association has developed a leaflet to educate property owners about problem plants. It is also working with the Kangaroo Island Council to extend the opening hours for the designated area for green waste to more than 2 hours a week to discourage people from dumping it in the scrub. Association members are confident that within the next 18 months all the large weedy plants will be removed from public land. Members will continue to monitor the areas for the next few years. In the areas where plants were removed a few years ago, native plants are growing back well to replace them. Trees and shrubs that have been planted are surviving and will flourish with the winter rains.Progress Association representative Meaghan May said, 'we are delighted with the success of the project and look forward to the day when maybe a once a year working bee will keep it under control!’.