THE GREENING AUSTRALIAN
THE YEAR IN REVIEW | 2011
LIST OF STAFF and board In Darwin Phone: 08 8947 3793 Fax: 08 8947 2176
In Katherine Phone: 08 8972 2349 Fax: 08 8972 2350
Greg Leach Drew Shugg James O’Sullivan Jenny Petursson David Oakley Zoe Carmichael Catherine Orme Matthew Butler Rachel Kennaway Rene Prosser
David (Ned) Barry Clare Pearce
Chief Executive Officer Environmental Management Services Manager Acting CEO Environmental Management Services Manager Corporate Service Manager Environmental Management Services Supervisor EMS Officer & Site Supervisor Land for Wildlife Coordinator & Grass Seeds Coordinator Land for Wildlife Coordinator Corporate Service Manager Finance Officer Reception and Administration
In Alice Springs Phone: 08 8953 2882 Fax: 08 8952 7434 Oliver Eclipse Tim Leane
Alice Springs Nursery Manager Alice Springs Nursery Manager
Board Members Tim West – President Peter Jacklyn– Vice President Maria Kratz – Secretary John Mckenzie– Treasurer Libby Benson Sharon Hillen David Hoseason-Smith Geoff Kenna Tania Paul
Darwin Nursery Phone: 08 8947 2176 Fax: 08 8947 2176 Yvette Brady Kelly McMeeken Jasmin Gretton
Katherine Nursery Manager & Grass Seed Officer Katherine Nursery Manager & Grass Seed Officer
Darwin Nursery Manager Nursery Assistant Nursery Assistant
Contents President’s Report
Front Cover Main image: St Mary’s Primary School planting day Contact PO Box 1, Berrimah NT 0828 Phone: 08 8947 3793 Fax: 08 8947 2176 Email: email@example.com www.greeningaustralia.org.au
Northern Territory November 2011
vegetation management and protect and restore the health, diversity and productivity of our unique Australian landscapes.
To engage the community in
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I believe that as a cohesive team we have the ability to overcome the recent financial woes and move confidently into a new era...
Without any doubt 2011 has been one of the most tumultuous years in the history of GANT. Without the dedicated effort of staff to keep GANT liquid and their dedication in working towards a better and brighter future, which I firmly believe is just around the corner, GANT could have quite easily been an entity of the past. The year has seen staff numbers reduce and a relocation to Thorak Road which has consolidated operations. This was undertaken with some trepidation but plenty of effort and has produced a far better team environment for the organisation. The Thorak Nursery has been undergoing a rebuild to fully achieve NIASA (Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia) accreditation and provide a modern, efficient and hygienic plant production system. Congratulations to Yvette and team in their efforts to achieve this target. Acknowledgement must also go to Dave who has been the lynch-pin in coordinating the nursery works. The new Environmental Management Services Manager Drew Shugg, along with CEO Greg Leach, have been extremely active in finding new work for GANT and providing a positive, inclusive leadership style that fits perfectly with the GA way. Great leadership in trying times. There has been a further downsizing across the Territory this year with the Board decision to close Alice Springs minimizing our presence down there. The Katherine office had staff changeover with Clare Pearce leaving and Ned Barry taking over from her. Katherine has also been getting some positive media attention recently, probably as a result of Ned’s gregarious nature and can-do attitude. Overall, GANT is treading water and will be for a couple of months. It is important to stay focused on moving forward to where we want to be. With an almost completely new team, who have come to GANT with great vigour and enthusiasm, I believe that as a cohesive team we have the ability to overcome the recent financial woes and move confidently into a new era that keeps GANT cemented as an integral part of the NT vegetation management community. All GANT staff are to be congratulated on their positive and dedicated outlook in these tough times and I and the Board are extremely proud to be associated with such a great team of professionals. Let us now focus on the future and create a new GANT that is a valued and functional player in the broader NT community.
Tim West President Greening Australia NT November 2011
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The Year in Review 2011
There is no doubt 2011 has been a tough year. There was perhaps a sense at the end of 2010 that the worst had passed. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) was supposedly over and Greening Australia NT (GANT) had survived – somewhat mauled but still breathing. However, the ongoing tight financial environment saw a continuing significant drop in our revenue. In particular, there was little funding for community programs and we relied almost totally on the income coming in from the Environmental Management Services group. We have registered our worst ever financial return. In response, we have continued to downsize as we attempt to cut our cloth to suit the current financial environment. Loss of longterm corporate memory is always hard to cover and there has
been a significant amount of retrospective activity as we continue to wind down and acquit a number of projects. However, amongst these challenges we continue to look forward to seek new business opportunities and partnerships. The year has seen a number of highlights in our activities and these are reported through the following pages. The year started for me with a clear direction from the Board to consolidate our activities on the Thorak Road site and abandon our offices at Dinah Beach by mid-February. We had a week with the Darwin staff sweating it out in sorting, packing and loading the truck with years of accumulated material at the Dinah Beach Road building. It was a great team effort and we gratefully acknowledge the support
Greening our Streets The biggest single project for us in 2011 has been the NT Government awarding us the delivery of the ‘Greening Our Streets’ initiative. The Chief Minister launched the program and emphasised that government is seeking to both increase a sense of community and achieve a ‘greening’ of street verges in Darwin and
Palmerston. The program has been devised in a competition format with people being asked to nominate their street for verge landscaping. It is going to be a challenging project to deliver in terms of scale and timing but GANT was chosen for our skills in both community engagement and supplying and planting trees.
Hendo lends a hand ! We will be working closely with the Darwin and Palmerston City Councils and the government. The project will be happening over the 2011-12 wet season so I look forward to reporting next year that this project has been successfully delivered. Perhaps so successful that it is repeated again! Michael Gunner MLC for Fannie Bay, Chief Minister Paul Henderson, GANT CEO Greg Leach and EMS Supervisor Jenny Petursson start work on Greening our Streets
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Welcome Although we lost a few staff – we also welcomed a few new people and we now have an almost completely new look for GANT. Drew Shugg stepped into the role of the new EMS Manager position. We have been incredibly lucky to get the services of Drew as he is a well-known local from the landscape industry and brings a wealth of top end landscape experience and his extensive knowledge of the local industry. Rachel Kennaway (right) joined us initially as our part time receptionist but has very ably moved into the role of a Finance Officer and is our link with the Finance team down in Canberra. Rachel is part time as she studies at CDU for her degree in accounting.
Dave Oakley (left) joined us as our ‘jack of all trades’ and we have particularly welcomed his enthusiasm to pitch in with wherever or whatever is needed around the nursery and the EMS team.
Ned Barry (right) is mentioned below as our new staff member in Katherine. Ned has already made a mark in grasping both the nursery and the on-ground coordination of the grass seed business. He achieved legend status with the single handed cleaning of over a tonne of Heteropogon contortus seed.
Rene Prosser (left) enthusiastically took over the part time receptionist position and has provided a very welcome orderliness and sparkle to the front office. Kelly McMeeken joined us late last year in the nursery and is working with us part time while she undertakes study with interests in the environment and permaculture. Oliver Eclipse is holding the fort in Alice Springs as we try to carve out a new niche for ourselves.
from Shaws Transport with the provision of a truck and driver for the day. Our communication systems were a bit stressed and we are still trying to resolve the best infrastructure and service providers for our needs. This was a very exciting step for Darwin. It brought all the staff together on one site and it has been great for the team to be able to interact on a daily basis. It was also to be the first step in the future developments on our block and the vision of a “Sustainable Living Centre”.
The Environmental Management Services (EMS) team of James O’Sullivan (up to his departure in April), Drew Shugg (commenced April) and Jenny Petursson has been the financial backbone of the organisation for 2011. The diversity and number of projects they have pulled in and completed has been fantastic. The increasing number of projects won in the latter part of 2011 is a strong testament to the skills and work ethic of this team which is being increasingly recognised by both existing and new clients.
We have had surveyors on the block and detailed site data was provided so we could start the site master planning process and the development of a concept plan for the Centre. Unfortunately this process has been stalled somewhat through concerns from the Department of Lands & Planning about the level of development in the Knuckey Lagoon area. At the time of writing there is still a cloud of uncertainty over this project.
The Darwin nursery has also seen a lot of activity around a revamp of much of the infrastructure. Yvette and her team in the nursery have been kept challenged all year with juggling the plant propagation in between ground works. Despite this they have kept up production and we have received many compliments on how great the nursery looks. Land for Wildlife is funded through the NT Government’s Ecolink
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program and was our major community program during the year. We were fortunate in having Catherine Orme as the original project coordinator and Catherine’s efforts certainly got the project wellgrounded with a solid foundation. I also highly commend the efforts of our volunteer in this project Diane Rickard who ably supported Catherine. With Catherine’s sojourn to South America, the coordinator role was ably taken up by Zoe Carmichael.
only animals; of course, wildlife includes plants and the vegetation that makes up the fabric of the ecosystem. Most of the Darwin people that have joined Land for Wildlife are living on rural blocks and seek to retain quality native vegetation. This is what GA is all about. The issues of weed control and managing fire fuel loads are critical to managing vegetation. Access to local native plants to revegetate is also something we provide.
The project continues to exceed milestones in terms of the number of properties signing up. There will be two major challenges in the coming months. One will be to seek new sponsorship as the initial grant from the government currently only extends to June 2012.The second challenge will be to meet the increasing demand from property owners to join the scheme.
We believe there is real scope to introduce Land for Wildlife to Katherine. At civic events in Katherine this year we gauged the level of interest in Land for Wildlife and we certainly received enough interest to merit seeking funding to try and establish the program. This will be a focus for the coming year.
The Land for Wildlife program in Darwin has been a good linkage to the community for our activities. People tend to think of wildlife as
The launch by Gerry Wood of the “Grasses of the Northern Territory Savannas – a field guide” at the Tropical Garden Spectacular was a significant milestone for Sam Crowder, Boronia Saggers and GANT. For
It has been pleasing to get out to a few schools during the year. This provides a great opportunity for GANT to raise awareness about our native flora. We worked with Bridge Toyota to do a planting at Rosebery school in Palmerston on National Tree Day. Our nursery has been involved with Henbury School and staff organised a planting day at St Marys primary school. We also drove out to Dundee school to take the students into some monsoon forest as part of their lessons on International Year of the Forests. Palmerston Senior College Year 10 students were shown the issues and conservation values of the Howard Sand Sheets during a field trip.
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Sam and Boronia the publication represents some of their wealth of knowledge garnered from years working with our rangeland grasses. Boronia was the coordinator of our native grass seed business but finished up this role during the year. She continues to provide her experience to this business and has been an excellent mentor to Zoe, Clare and Ned. We hope to increase our customer base and expand this activity – once again a focus for the Katherine region. We have welcomed Ned Barry as our new field officer in Katherine and Ned is working in both the nursery and the grass seed business. While our office in Katherine has been able to keep a good presence it has not been the same for Alice Springs. Our nursery in Alice Springs has run at a loss for the last few years. This was despite the efforts of a regular cohort of willing and enthusiastic volunteers and the provision of the nursery facility by Charles Darwin University on the Centralian College campus. Alice Springs has an incredible number of commercial nurseries for the size of the town and this meant quite tough competition. The GANT Board recently took the tough and sad decision that on purely economic grounds we could no longer afford to sustain the nursery operation in Alice Springs. The Board has agreed to try and retain a presence at the office and to seek project work in the region. We hope we can partner with other nurseries to meet our native plant needs for any successful contracts. Of course GANT is nothing without the people that put in the hard yards to keep a not-for-profit organisation going. Some have moved on and we said farewell to:
role as we dwindled down to Tim being the only staff member in Alice Springs. Working alone and a long way from the rest of the staff has significant motivational and management issues and I thank Tim for his perseverance and sustaining our presence in Alice. Tim has headed off travelling and was last seen in the direction of the Kimberley. Matt Butler, our Corporate Services Manager, also moved on to another position. The financial circumstances made this a particularly tough role and as a new CEO I thank Matt for his time and support. In finishing off, I firstly want to acknowledge the support I have enjoyed as a new CEO from the GANT Board. They have willingly contributed ideas, time and experience across many areas. The skills and enthusiasm of the new team of GANT staff has been a pleasure to work with. Along with our group of selfless volunteers that give so much, and our members and supporters, I believe we have the team that can take us through this tough patch. We will come out the other side – probably a bit different – but still a significant community-based player in protecting, restoring and maintaining our NT vegetation.
Greg Leach Chief Executive Officer Greening Australia NT November 2011
James O’Sullivan deserves my grateful acknowledgement for his Herculean support and effort. He filled in as interim CEO to cover the gap between the departure of Clackers in November 2010 and my commencement in January. In this period he was almost the total corporate knowledge of the organisation and covered the CEO position as well as the EMS manager’s role. Clare Pearce has been our long-standing stalwart in the Katherine nursery and the face of GA at many of the Katherine regional community events. Clare was offered a full time position with Parks & Wildlife as the Katherine Community Education Officer. Those who know Clare will appreciate that this is a role to which she is particularly well suited. We wish her the best and a grateful thanks to Clare for these years of service. As Clare is still in Katherine I am sure we will still see her around at various events. Tim Leane was our Nursery Manager in Alice Springs and had a tough
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Meet the Board
President Tim is a born and bred Territorian who has had a strong horticultural/ecological bent from an early age. Tim is a locally qualified Horticulturist (Adv. Dip. Hort) and has over 25 years experience in Top End Horticulture in both production and Natural est W Tim Resource Management (NRM) fields. Tim has worked in both the public and private sectors within the NT Horticultural industry and is a previous employee of Greening Australia NT under the Bushcare Support program. Tim has developed and managed large production nurseries; cultivated broadacre crops and fruit trees; managed horticultural sections within Parks and Wildlife – Territory Wildlife Park; co-owned a rural hardware store; and lectured in Horticulture and Conservation Land Management at Charles Darwin University (CDU). Tim was previously employed by the NT Horticultural Association on a Caring for our Country (CFOC) project implementing ‘best practice’ guidelines for sustainable land use in the NT. Tim has always had a strong NRM focus towards his work in the horticultural industry and has been the GANT Board’s representative on the executive of the Nursery Garden Industry of the NT (NGINT) for the past 5 years. He is currently the NGINT President. Until recently, Tim was employed as the NT Regional Landcare Facilitator. Tim is currently the Executive Director of Tropigro, a horticultural wholesaling business. As a local, Tim has strong indigenous ties in the Top End and has been a diligent supporter of the ALEP program, seen as an integral part of the GANT’s activities. As a pragmatist and a serious sustainability advocate, Tim is keen to further his involvement and support of Greening Australia NT, through the GANT Board. He views this dynamic organisation as a relevant, functioning conduit between community, government and industry with respect to native vegetation management in the NT.
his background in communications and media should help the organisation better engage with and inform the community. Secretary In 1986 Maria came to Darwin as a very recent Science Honors’ graduate to work for six weeks with the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory. There followed 14 years with the NT Government engaged in a diverse and exciting array of work relating to mine rehabilitation, coastal, wetland and pastoral management and Maria Kraatz Landcare. During her time in the public service, Maria completed public sector management graduate qualifications, conducted group facilitation training, developed and managed numerous NRM projects and undertook strategic planning for agricultural and pastoral industry groups across the Territory. Since 1999 Maria has worked as a self-employed environmental consultant. Her clients have included the Commonwealth and Territory Governments, the Natural Resource Management Board (NT), Tropical Savannas CRC, and numerous community conservation groups. This work included national coordination of the Land and Water Resources Audit’s rangeland theme, the provision of recommendations to the Commonwealth government for management of the old Rum Jungle mine site, the writing and editing of numerous NRM documents and more recently, assessment of priorities, risks and potentials associated with the Territory’s inland waters. Maria brings to the Greening Australia Board extensive and diverse knowledge of the Northern Territory’s physical environments, a well rounded perspective of its natural resource management history and an empathy with those living and working in Northern Territory landscapes. Treasurer
Vice-president Peter leads a team in the Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre that develops practical and innovative web-based tools for land managers in north Australia. Peter has also helped edit and write numerous books and newsletters on Natural Resource Management in north Australia. Peter Jacklyn He has a PhD in tropical ecology, is an adjunct senior research fellow at CDU and has been involved in NRM issues in the NT since the mid-1980s with another five years as science and environment broadcaster on ABC Radio National. This allowed him to develop a range of national contacts in the environment area which he further developed with the CRC which operated nationally. He has been on GANT’s Board for two years holding positions as Treasurer and a member of the Finance and Audit Committee. Peter knows the Territory well and is also familiar with national emerging issues that will shape the future of Greening Australia, such as the new carbon economy through his involvement with the West Arnhem Land Fire and Greenhouse Gas Reduction project. His background in ecology proved useful in shaping GA’s approach to the Tiwi Island plantation contract and
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John lives in Darwin and works at the Centre for Child Development and Education, mostly evaluating education initiatives in remote communities. John lived in Katherine for seven years. During that time he worked mostly with indigenous organisations’ board members and staff to help them understand issues they face, particularly in the areas of governance and finances. He often acted as a facilitator and liaison officer for them in their dealings with mainstream bodies such as government departments. His work with groups such as the Wagiman Rangers could be particularly relevant as a Board member.
John studied and tutored at Melbourne University and then worked as an academic at Auckland University for five years lecturing in mathematics and computer science. His work with computational geometry and Geographic Information Systems has made him familiar with the computer modelling of climate, hydrological and ecological systems. During this time he was involved in Landcare groups, with a particular interest in weed eradication.
Geoff has been a resident of Central Australia for over 18 years. After gaining a Diploma of Horticultural Science from Burnley Horticultural College, he worked with the Victorian Department of Agriculture at Swan Hill for 18 years as a District Extension Officer servicing the rapidly expanding horticultural industry. He moved to Alice Springs in 1992 and took up a position with the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries. He held the position of Principal Horticulturalist when he resigned from the NT Government in 2007. The work that he was involved in during these years included research work in the development of a range of commercial crops for the arid areas of the NT, extension work supporting the industry, including the nursery industry, as well as the training and employment of aboriginal people in the commercial horticultural industry. Geoff is currently employed as a VET Lecturer with CDU. He deliver’s training in Conservation and Land Management, Horticulture and Rural Operations. He willingly contributes his experience and knowledge as a board member of Greening Australia (NT). Libby Benson had 12 years’ experience in natural resource management with the NT Government. She has managed community awareness and participation programs such as Landcare, Waterwatch and Coastcare; and large grant programs such as the Natural Heritage Trust and National Landcare Program. Libby has provided Libby Benson executive support to the Australian/NT Government Joint Steering Committee for the Natural Heritage Trust (including setting up the NT Natural Resource Management Board); the Landcare Council of the Northern Territory while they were developing the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan and Investment Strategy for the NT and was the Chairman of the Rapid Creek Catchment Advisory Committee in the period of the conservation zoning of the creek corridor. Prior to government Libby held various positions at Greening Australia (NT) from education and community awareness to Chief Executive Officer. Libby has good community and industry networks in natural resource management, can provide advice to Greening Australia on external funding, collaborative partnerships and NT government policy and contacts.
David has been managing a major packaging company here in the NT for the past 16 years and has been in the packaging industry for over 35 years. He is a successful manager within the industry and took the opportunity to put something back into the environment as a board member of Greening Australia. David brings to the Board good practical business and financial management experience and a good business network.
Sharon is a long term Territorian and regional resident. Four years of training as a Trainee Ranger with the then Conservation Commission took her all over the NT working in park and wildlife management; wildlife research; interpretation; law enforcement and community education and awareness.
In 1998 she took up the position of Regional Manager at GANT in Katherine. As the Bushcare officer she inherited many Bushcare and Landcare projects across the region requiring extensive project management and coordination. Sharon has many years of community development working with the Katherine Town Council; NTG Community Harmony Project; NTG Local Government Reform and Governance and Corporate Planning at the Roper Gulf Shire. She has volunteered with the award winning Katherine Landcare Group since 1996 in various executive positions addressing the priorities for the Katherine River Sub Catchment. Sharon has extensive networks through the Katherine Region and is able to represent this important regional area in the bright future of Greening Australia. She feels a great ownership of Greening Australia having volunteered; worked and advocated for our great company over the years.
Tania has been involved in training and education for the horticulture and natural resource management sector for over 13 years. She has developed and led training programs for a wide range of client groups and has a solid understanding of the vocational training and the higher education systems. She is currently employed as a lecturer in Horticulture at CDU.
Tania also brings many years of experience in developing and leading natural resource management and capacity building programs using participatory approaches in Australia, Timor Leste and Indonesia. She has many years experience in administering and leading large projects and managing programs. She brings a strong commitment to growing the Greening Australia NT brand and is willing and keen to lend her skills in program administration, education and training experience to the organization. She is keen to support the exciting new initiative of a Sustainability Learning Centre, and wants to contribute to its success and usefulness to the community. With her background in training and education she is a useful resource for GANT in developing this new sustainability learning centre and other activities that raise the profile of Greening Australia NT in the community.
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Increasing vibrance and vitality
he Darwin nursery at Thorak Rd has been a hive of activity over this last 12 months, with an ongoing major redevelopment of the facility. Hopefully, the associated works have not been inconveniencing our supporters too much. It has certainly been a trial for the nursery staff to work around. These changes are aimed at allowing the nursery business to go ahead with a number of major projects. The NT government’s Greening our Streets nature strip project is particularly exciting and fits well with the GANT motto of ‘Sustaining our Landscapes’: it will showcase NT native species because they are endemic to the Top End and have adapted to cope with our distinct wet/dry climate. While GANT will be growing the plants and preparing the nature strips for planting, the residents will assist GANT on several community days and perform the majority of plantings. The public’s involvement with this project is a key component as they will be charged with its future everyday care, thereby ticking another box with our charter.
and which will eventually permit us to recycle our water on site. Current works include the construction of the Advanced Stock hardening runs, with a more efficient irrigation regime in the works, a new vermin and weather proof seed raising house, relocated propagation house, an efficient potting area and with a new undercover storage area for plant and other equipment nearly completed, it is almost a new nursery. The renovation of the retail area is also a work in progress with the large shade house nicknamed Ned’s Nursery after a particularly memorable volunteer made it his mission to bring it into full production. While there is currently not a great deal of stock, next season is shaping up to be a big year for the growing of quality hardy NT native plants. I am sure this will be welcomed by our retail arm which has increased its hours: we are now open Tuesday through to Friday 9am-4.30pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm. We have also made a commitment to taking our plants and enthusiasm for biodiversity out and about with a successful presence at Fred’s Pass Rural Show, the Tropical Garden Spectacular and Sustainability Festival, Royal Darwin Show and various ‘Open Gardens’ including an all NT native garden in Moil which was only 18 months old, a fabulous example of what can be achieved - thanks for inviting us to attend Juanita. The comments and feedback from these events have been enormously useful, with the fine tuning of container sizes, species selection and provenance issues.
Katherine Nursery The nature strips will still be owned by the respective Council, who will still be responsible for any serious maintenance. It will have a major visual impact as well as providing shade, food and habitat for our wildlife; it will also aim to be low maintenance and water use. We are hoping this project becomes an annual event potentially moving out to the rural areas and remote communities. We feel very proud to be involved with the ‘Greening’ of Darwin and are confident this will strengthen our existing customer base both wholesale and retail and support the forging of new associations and opportunities. We are on track in regaining our NIASA and Ecohort accreditation, which is a significant acknowledgement of our professional standing. The age of the original facilities has let us down substantially but we are well on our way to overcoming that limitation in the form of a whole block drainage plan which includes the construction of a demonstration wetland dubbed ‘Lake Thorak”
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GANT display at Royal Darwin Show There really has been so much going on this past year that it is impossible to catalog it all, we have had several stock sales and clearances to make way for fresher stock. Despite the fact that a record wet season last year presented many challenges of its own, it now promises to give us a bumper seed crop this season, essential as we intend to increase our collection and distribution of native seed, particularly the grass seed. The bore was another challenge we struggled through, with mounting water
bills, it was unfortunate that two attempts to sink a new bore hole were unsuccessful; however, the rehabilitation of the existing bore appears to have been successful and should need only minor tweaks as we increase our area under production. Cycad salvage has continued to be successful and is an admired specimen in both public and private plantings. We have added Sand Palms to this program and will be experimenting with other mature species such as Billygoat Plums and Cocky Apples this coming ‘wet’. The GANT team are
We have also been involved with youth volunteering and adult education in the form of a regular team of GreenCorps kids and mentors, a lovely pair of Burmese refugees Kinim and Sarasara who, despite limited English skills, managed to carry out a vast amount of potting and other nursery work. Their positive attitudes and desire to better their families lives is very inspirational. We hope the skills they honed during their time here serve them well in the future. The Youthworx clients and work experience students also put in a great deal, principally in the area of weed removal, a boring but very necessary task within the nursery industry. We have also enjoyed hosting a handful of international volunteer backpackers: Lorraine and Faye, both Irish and Victoria, a Canadian, all of whom worked at whatever menial job was thrown their way with very good humour in exchange for a working visa extension.
Salvaged cycads from Johnston now all in the one place with the office at Dinah Beach finally closing and with everyone based at Thorak Road. It has brought us all closer and facilitated better communication between departments. The “Sustainable Living Centre” remains a priority in our planning and with support for the meeting and training centre increasing from all sectors of the community; we now have a firm vision to aim towards. The infrastructure changes have, as I said earlier, been very challenging for our team of staff and volunteers, and they have risen to the occasion marvelously, particularly the Berrimah Correctional Centre volunteers or ‘yellow shirts’ from the Living Skills Unit. We have been very blessed with these low security inmates who have chosen to volunteer their time and diverse skills to the Greening Australia cause. So impressed have we been that we have offered employment to two of the guys whose passion and commitment have been motivational to many and I am sure, will continue to be so. Long time supporters Lynne Gerdes and Mireille Santorini also continue their very valuable work and I can honestly say we would be extremely pushed if they were not so giving of their time and efforts. Thank you both so much!
Seed collecting technique We have had several staff changes in the nursery this past year saying goodbye to Karli Durst, who left to increase her family, and then welcoming nursery hands Kelly McMeeken and Dave Oakley, who bring their own unique ideas and talents and have quickly made a positive impact. Zoe Carmichael left the position of Production Co-ordinator to take on the roles of Land for Wildlife Co-ordinator, Project Support Officer and the vital Seed Collection Co-ordinator, tasks she seems to combine effortlessly. A huge thank you to you all for your efforts in ensuring the nursery is in a good position to realise its potential.
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Environmental Management Services
Diverse services - positive outcomes
Muirhead Breezes vegetation audit A property developer globally renowned for its outside-the-square philosophy on sustainability approached Greening Australia NT in July to assist in the new Muirhead Breezes development in Darwin’s northern suburbs. On learning of GANT’s recent work in vegetation audits and salvaging, Investa Property Group, with its joint venture partner Defence Housing Australia, accepted GANT’s proposal to audit the remaining remnant vegetation on the 167ha Lee Point Road site. The audit was completed in October. The GA team, which included Greg, Zoe, Yvette, Dave and Jenny, conducted the audit on foot using GPS technology to indentify, tag and plot existing trees that could be retained if practicable or removed and stored at the GA nursery until required for new streetscapes and parks. Species with potential for seed collection and future planting back into the estate were also identified. The audit also provided a framework for weed and fire management planning. Through this project we established a partnership with the Aboriginal Bush Traders (ABT), a local notfor-profit group, to identify species of significance to local Indigenous people for their medicinal, food, fibre and cultural values that could provide a focus in interpretations of Indigenous plant use and value.
Managing pigs on Cobourg Peninsula Greening Australia worked with Parks NT to conduct vegetation surveys and construct pig fencing on the Cobourg Peninsula in September. GA staff members Dave and Jenny travelled to Cobourg to assist in constructing the fencing that established isolated plots to allow the damage feral pigs are doing to the vegetation in the Black Point area of Cobourg to be monitored. Later in the wet season we will be back to implement supplementary planting in half of the plots. This is part of a Parks and Wildlife funded project to assess the recovery from the impacts of pigs on floodplain vegetation.
ABT consultants Honorlea Massarella and Lorraine Williams were fantastic to work with on this project, and we look forward to a continuing relationship with the Aboriginal Bush Traders in future projects. New safety management plan In May we commenced the development of a safety management plan to bring Greening Australia NT into line with current Australian Occupational Health & Safety standards. In addition to formulating written guidelines that will inform our operations and set a benchmark for health and safety, taking this step will put GANT in the game
Cycad salvage missions In April 2011 we conducted a cycad salvage on the new Johnston development in Palmerston. More than 400 Cycas armstrongii were retrieved, tagged and successfully transported to the GA nursery. They were bagged up with new potting media and grown on – a fantastic end result for GANT, which now owns these assets. In August we worked with the Department of Construction and Infrastructure to retrieve a further 200 Cycas armstrongii and 100 sand palms (Livistona humilis) from the Jenkins Road/Channel Island Road intersection in Palmerston. In the project, the specimens were re-bagged and are being nurtured in the GANT nursery for DCI to use in other government landscaping projects.
The Greening Australian | Annual Report
to win tenders from federally accredited OH&S compliant companies. Thank you Osbourne Family Holdings All our Christmases came at once, and early, when Osbourne Family Holdings offered to assist Greening Australia NT in our nursery expansion project in June 2011. The group came in with their machinery and took care of all the civil works – bringing in fill, grading, rolling and cutting all the levels to solve all our drainage problems (we hope) in our new grow-out area. We sincerely thank them for their generous contribution. Water usage research Greening Australia NT is working with the Power and Water Corporation in the effort to improve water conservation. In May PAWA made the request for assistance with research into reducing water use in the NT’s water-stressed communities. The plan is to visit communities, gather current water usage data on each and work with each community to develop a practical, action focused plan on reducing water wastage. The Peppimenarti, Daly River and Beswick communities were first cabs off the rank, and GA has conducted community consultations there in partnership with PAWA.
We look forward to continuing our work with PAWA on this project and thank the Territory Thunder team, who we hitched a ride to the communities with when they flew in to deliver their football clinics in October. Darwin International Airport 2011 was the final year of our four-year conservation reserve project with Darwin International Airport. The project was a long-term strategy, in which we designed and delivered a conservation plan, coordinated community plantings and hope to continue to maintain the area to ensure its long-term success. The reserve covers 15 hectares and includes an important wildlife corridor that joins an area of existing bushland with the Rapid Creek riparian zone. In the preceding three years, Greening Australia NT in-planted native trees and shrubs in the bushland to improve its biodiversity, and thousands of trees and shrubs in the corridor to gradually recreate habitat for wildlife. The focus for 2011 was providing weed and vegetation management, which was carried out by Jenny throughout the year. One of the priority outcomes of the reserve has been to revegetate the corridor, and during the life of the project, our project teams have had the good fortune to encounter many species of wildlife that have
returned to the area since the rehabilitation – a sure sign the program is working. GA’s long-term involvement in the Rapid Creek catchment and with the Darwin community has been instrumental in ensuring the project’s success. We hope to work closely with DIA on future projects. We congratulate DIA on winning a well deserved Landcare award for their efforts with the Darwin airport site. Greening our Streets Greening our Streets is a community initiative of the Northern Territory Government, which allocated funds to beautify and ‘green up’ residential streets in Darwin and Palmerston. Residents nominated their street, applications were prioritised and winners were selected. Greening Australia is now delivering the project, which commenced in October 2011 and will continue into May 2012, by consulting with the community and coordinating landscaping and community tree planting days, in partnership with the Darwin and Palmerston city councils. Government wants not only a visual improvement to the landscape but to also engender a real sense of community as people work together to care for their street. Sandy Creek Conservation Reserve After discussions with Lyons Development
Corporation, we were employed to do a final clean up in the Sandy Creek Conservation Reserve before its management was handed over to Darwin City Council. Our EMS team focused on weed control and rubbish removal as our final task for Jeremy after years of working together on the Lyons development. Sharing knowledge We were thrilled to sign a memorandum of understanding with Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus in July 2011. Under the MOU, GANT and CDU will share resources, knowledge and skills to develop training, learning, research and community engagement opportunities in horticulture, sustainability and responsibility. This partnership is an extremely positive step forward for the Northern Territory in helping us walk in the same sustainability direction. Fish River Station opening Drew Shugg attended the opening of the Fish River Station in October, a 178,000 hectare property on the Daly River with enormous biodiversity values. In a new and groundbreaking partnership between government, conservation organisations and the
Maluka Drain revegetation In conjunction with the Palmerston City Council, Greening Australia NT managed the Maluka Drain Revegetation project in Palmerston this year. The project included the supply of plants, planting, installing erosion control matting and six months’ maintenance of the area. Native riparian species were planted to recreate the area’s river ecosystem. It was a productive and enjoyable experience working with Mick Castelli from the Palmerston City Council on this project. Mick’s fantastic passion for what he does was evident throughout the whole process. We’ve had some extremely positive discussions about the Palmerston escarpment land management since the successful revegetation project and have lodged a proposal to conduct vegetation surveys, weed mapping and management, fire management, community development and revegetation of the area. We’re keenly awaiting the outcome of the proposal and look forward to working closely with PCC on future projects.
The Greening Australian | Annual Report
Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), the property was purchased for eventual hand back to the area’s traditional owners. In the meantime the ILC holds the land in a trust arrangement with Greening Australia and is managing the property with Indigenous rangers. The potential for Indigenous education and up skilling in land management practices is obvious, and we look forward to watching the property’s progression. Jilamara Arts - Milikapiti In a joint project with Troppo Architects, Drew Shugg and Greening Australia nursery manager Yvette Brady flew over to Milikapiti in the Tiwi Islands in October to provide an estimate for work on the new addition to the Jilamara Arts museum. The scope of works includes landscaping the entry statement and installation of new drainage. Katherine nursery makeover Ned, our new Katherine nursery manager, was very busy towards the end of the year giving the nursery a complete makeover in preparation for Greening Australia’s annual plant sale. Ned did an unbelievable job – he scrubbed the nursery floor, installed new plant shelving and overhauled the plants themselves, which look brilliant and in tip top condition. Staff members from the Darwin team have visited Katherine throughout the year, something we think is important to solidify the Greening Australia Northern Territory team relationship and culture. Huge thanks to Ned for a job really well done.
Cyclone Carlos recovery After extensive tree damage on major arterial roads when Cyclone Carlos hit Darwin in April 2011, Greening Australia NT was approached by the Department of Construction and Infrastructure to advise on suitable replacement species and supply the trees to the government landscape contractor. 1500 natives were supplied through the GANT nursery.
The Greening Australian | Annual Report
Mitchell Creek revegetation Early in the year we were approached by Steelcon Constructions and the Department of Construction and Infrastructure to install erosion control and to revegetate the bridge crossing at Mitchell Creek and Lambrick Avenue. There was somewhat of a public outcry when the area was cleared for the installation of public services, but even after such a huge wet the area is well on its way to recovery. The erosion control was very effective, and the plants are thriving. This contract has put us in good stead with all concerned, and we have already had discussions with DCI regarding the other side of the bridge and the possibilities of doing more work here.
Landscaping Although we generally work with larger corporate clients and government, Greening Australia also works with the general public on request and it was refreshing and satisfying to deliver a number of private landscaping projects in 2011. We conducted several small jobs in the Darwin area on landscaping issues as well as drainage, planting and mulching. Private jobs have been a valuable additional revenue stream to GANT this year.
Arafura Timor Research Facility expansion Greening Australia was successful in our bid to Norbuilt Constructions to landscape and irrigate the new Arafura Timor Research Facility at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus. Work on the project commenced in October 2011, and will extend into next year as we maintain the site. It’s an exciting relationship to establish, and we look forward keenly to working with Norbuilt. Vestey’s Lake maintenance Darwin City Council awarded the contract to maintain Vestey’s Lake in Fannie Bay to Greening Australia in August 2011. The project will start during 2011’s wet season and includes vegetation and weed management in the lagoon area. We thank Jenny Petursson for her hard work on this project, which put GA in front for the contract.
Katherine Grass Seed business After a very long and wet 2010/2011 season grass seed was in short supply this year. Long periods of cloud cover and rain meant much of the grass grew but the seed failed to ripen. Nevertheless, thanks to our dedicated harvesters we managed to fill our large orders with a little to spare for smaller orders which have been consistently coming in. Although Boronia tried to leave last year, she didn’t quite manage it. We are very thankful to her for all the help and time she has given to Ned, Zoe and Drew to handover the business. The mining companies are already preparing their requirements for next year and we are hoping for bumper crops.
Land for Wildlife
Voluntary wildlife conservation on private land
and for Wildlife is a free voluntary program by which landowners who wish to manage areas of their property for biodiversity and wildlife habitat are recognised for their efforts. Participants have access to support and assistance with regard to habitat management, protection and restoration through the Land for Wildlife Coordinator. The program also provides a link with like-minded people and the chance to network and share ideas through field days, workshops and other activities. Greening Australia NT began hosting the Land for Wildlife program in June 2010 and we have funding in place to continue running up to the end of the 2011/2012 financial year. In July 2011 Zoe Carmichael took over from Catherine Orme as the Co-ordinator of the program. Zoe has worked with GANT for the past 5 years, firstly with the EMS team, then in Reception and Administration and following a short time away returned as the Production Co-ordinator in the Darwin Nursery. Zoe has been working in the field of land management for 20 plus years and is passionate about the engagement of the community in vegetation restoration and management. During the intial six months of the program, Catherine contacted the 185 previous participants of the program who had signed agreements when the program was being run by Litchfield Shire Council. Out of those 185, we had 64 responses, 38 of which have renewed their agreements. There are a further 26 properties awaiting reassessment.
Catherine also signed up nine new properties in the first six months and another 40 have been added to the register since February 2011. We now
Land for wildlife: for all creatures great and small have almost 1000 hectares of privately owned land registered with Land for Wildlife in the Greater Darwin area and have received enquires from landholders from as far away as Katherine and Point Stuart. Land for Wildlife has been, and continues to be a great way to engage with the community. In March this year a proposal to rezone an area of wetland in Bees Creek was withdrawn by the applicant due to the huge response from the community. Many of those who added their voices to the submission against the rezoning were Land for Wildlife members contacted via the program. Two field days were held in the first year of the
Coordinator Zoe Carmichael assesses a property revamped program as capacity building for members. The first, Wildlife First Aid, was held at Knuckey Lagoon Recreational Reserve in November 2010 with a member from Wildcare giving advice and information regarding sick or injured wildlife. The second workshop covered a range of topics including native grass identification, property weed management planning, volunteering as a property assessor and conservation covenants. A number of trees were planted on the day to offset our carbon. The third edition of the Top End Land for Wildlife bi-annual newsletter is due in November 2011 and is being produced this time around with the help of a graphic designer who is a LfW member. Tim has also assisted in setting up a Top End LfW web site. The site is due to be launched in November and will provide a forum for members to engage with each other and share information. Also in 2012 we are hoping to expand the program to Katherine. Although the first Katherine property has been signed up to the program it is not really practical to travel such long distances. We are working hard to find a way of employing a Katherine coordinator to run Land for Wildlife in the area, someone with local knowledge who lives in the Katherine region would be ideal.
A Land for Wildlife property in Katherine
During the next six months it is vital that we do everything we can to secure future funding for this great project. Land for Wildlife is a fantastic program that contributes significantly to biodiversity conservation and it would be an ignominy to see it fold yet again in the Darwin Region. The Greening Australian | Annual Report
of the Northern Territory Savannas a field guide
This field guide identifies sixty six grasses of the northern territory savannas. Each species is accompanied by colour photographs, succinct descriptions, habitat and distribution data plus a grazing value guide.
Available From Greening Australia Grab Your Copy Today Only $22
Darwin Nursery Now Open 9am to 4.30pm Tuesday through to Friday and 9am to 1pm every Saturday. For all other orders/sales, please phone/ fax 8947 2176, Mobile 0417 413 955 or email Sam Crowder & Boronia Saggers
Volunteer for us Want to help out the environment? Volunteer for Greening Australia!
Darwin Office Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm Phone (08) 8947 3793 Fax (08) 8947 2176 Darwin Nursery Tuesday to Friday 9:00am – 4:30pm Saturday 9:00am – 1:00pm 125 Thorak Road (last driveway on the left) Knuckey Lagoon Phone/Fax (08) 8947 2176
Greening Australia success in the Territory has largely been built on the tremendous support of volunteers. Every year volunteers contribute thousands of hours to our projects, assisting with tree planting, weed control, plant propagation and seed collecting. Most volunteers start out in our nurseries.
Friday 9am – 12pm Saturday 9am – 12pm 19 Second Street (Block G Katherine Training Centre) Phone (08) 8972 2349 Fax 8972 2350 Mobile 0488 955 838 Alice Springs Charles Darwin University (Centralian College) off Grevillea Drive Phone (08) 8953 8228 Fax (08) 8952 7434