At the end of 2011 the HREP committee applied for a 'Communities for Nature' Grant from the Department of Sustainability and in early 2012 were told that we were successful. We had been awarded $185,090.00 over four years to continue the HREP project!
Local MP Bill Sykes (back left) with representatives from the four Strathbogie groups who received the Communities for Nature Grants. Click image
HREP since 2012
Revegetation along the Honeysuckle Creek verge has continued with great success. As well as maintaining the existing planted areas six new areas were weed matted and planted out. Several understory plantings were completed under the main stands of remnant River Red Gums and Box trees in the Northern grassy woodland area of the Recreation Reserve and a large grove of 200 sheoaks and bulloaks was created. We hope this grove will develop into a restful and contemplative place for people to sit or wander through. Until 2014 good rains helped the new plants to thrive. However 2014 - 2016 have been increasingly dry and hot so a large portable water tank was purchased so that the HREP group could water the newest plants over the worst summer months.
The number of community members willing to help at working bees grew steadily. Working bees also became good social events followed by a friendly tasty lunch or evening meal. The HREP group had a purpose built trailer made by local engineers to hold all the large tools, tree guards, ladder and picnic equipment we need. It is proving to be an invaluable asset at working bees and community field days.
As well as involving the community in our working bees, under the Communities for Nature grant HREP has also taken on a program of community engagement. Each year 2 or 3 Field days have been held at which environmental experts lead walks or make presentations that inform the community about the natural environment, the geology and geomorphology and also history of our local area.
Field days held since 2012 include:
Major Mitchell and the Honeysuckle Creek Chain of Ponds
The Chain of Ponds upstream
Creekside plantings on "Honeysuckle" farm
Nest boxes and Birdwatching along the Honeysuckle Creek
As well as field days HREP also organises a Honeysuckle Festival every second year.
Since February 2013, two night time spotlighting surveys and two daytime surveys per month have been conducted in the HREP area of the Recreation Precinct. Over time these surveys will tell us whether our efforts to restore the native habitat in parts of the Recreation precinct have had any effect on the numbers and varieties of native animals inhabiting it.
At the end of 2015 the HREP Group was successful in obtaining a 'Threatened Species' grant which will be used to analyse the results of the fauna surveys completed so far and on until December 2016. See link to Fauna monitoring results.
In 2015 the HREP group published the 'Birds of the Honeysuckle Creek' brochure which is designed to assist visitors to identify birds as they walk along the walking track.
In 2016 a further brochure was produced by the HREP group called the Honeysuckle Creek walking track. This is available free to locals and tourists to increase their awareness of the walking track and encourage them to use it.
By mid 2016 the Communities for Nature funding of HREP ends. The HREP committee is now seeking new funding sources so that it can continue its work improving the natural environment in the Violet Town Recreation Reserve and in raising community awareness and understanding of the importance of preserving our Australian native environment.