FIDO’s July bush regeneration working bee planted more than 100 new native plants in the Eurong Resort grounds and village. While more than 20 of these plants came from the Kingfisher nursery on the western side of the island, the project wouldn’t have been possible without the rejuvenation of the QPWS eastern Eurong nursery. The availability of a functioning nursery to meet the demands of residents and bush regenerators has challenged FINIA since its founding in 2005.
Although FIDO has worked on weed management in Eurong since 2005, the bush regeneration work has been hampered by the lack of suitable plant stock to fill the void when weeds are removed. Because much effort has been directed towards enhancing the natural integrity of the Eurong Resort and environs, FIDO obtained generous access to Eurong’s sister Kingfisher Resort nursery on the eastern side of the island. This has helped, but it didn’t fully solve the problem. The nursery stock at Kingfisher is targeted at the landscape needs of heath and wetland plants for the western coast found at the resort and isn’t suited to the more exposed areas of Eurong where the stronger winds and salt spray take a toll on plants not suited to a seacoast environment. FIDO and most residents have been seeking nursery stock better suited to the difficult exposed conditions of the eastern side of the island.
A break through came during a chance meeting with Suzanne Wilson during the State Landcare/Coastcare conference on the Sunshine Coast last September. Over 8 years, Suzanne built up her expertise as a volunteer on forays around Coolum collecting seeds and other propagation material for the outstanding Coolum Coastcare nursery every Monday morning. She is familiar with the propagation of the plants needed for the east coast dunes. Since September, Suzanne has joined every FIDO Eurong working bee where she is helping to build up the variety and volume of plant stock in the QPWS nursery. Ultimately, it is envisaged that new stock will be used by island residents for their gardens as well as by FIDO to replace the large volume of weeds being removed.
Suzanne joined FIDO’s bush regeneration program at the same time as a closer collaboration between QPWS and FIDO was evolving. FIDO was delegated more responsibility at the nursery for producing plants in domestic demand. Increasing nursery capacity soon ran into a shortage of key nursery resources including larger pots to grow up more advanced plants. This was solved when the resourceful Suzanne contacted Australia Zoo who offered FIDO thousands of larger pots from their now disused nursery. FIDO supplied the potting mix and perlite to help fill those pots.
The collaborations were further enhanced in late June when a team from the Green Army joined the effort. These strapping young men enthusiastically cleaned up the nursery and repaired the torn shade cloth as well as planting up hundreds of pandanus that will be used by both residents and QPWS.