In July, in a collaborative effort facilitated by FINIA, the Great Plant Giveaway was held at Eurong. It offered stock raised in Eurong’s QPWS nursery by FIDO volunteers to be used by island property owners. It was made clear that no plants could be removed from the island.Because the Nursery is not open to the public for security and other reasons, the public was invited to the Eurong township to help themselves to whatever plants took their fancy from a selection of over 300 plants and more than 20 species taken down to the display area.
The Plant Giveaway is the first of what is planned to be many giveaways to encourage more island residents and landholders to plant native plants sourced from genetic material sourced only from K’gari. Unfortunately, no precise statistics were kept for the event. This is something to be rectified for the next event that we are anticipating will be held in the early part of 2019 (to coincide with the best growing season). With the variety of species and the number available in the nursery continuing to expand, it is now foreseeable to be able to distribute hundreds of plants annually.
Between half and 60% of the 300+ plants on offer were taken, but we think with better timing this could be significantly improved. For example, if the distribution were during a school holiday period such as Easter when more absent landholders might be in residence this would increase the uptake of plants. While traditionally for cost and logistical reasons FIDO has avoided school holiday periods for working bees, it may be a much more opportune time for landholders. It is something that FIDO has begun to explore in readiness for the next Plant Giveaway.
The Plant Giveaway was also an opportunity to engage with some of the locals. The communication between the landholders and the FIDO volunteers was two-way and this may be helping to encourage a greater appreciation for K’gari’s native plants and its natural environment. FIDO is also hoping that as the range of species that are raised in the nursery expands it will also be able to cater better to those landholders who would love to see a riot of colour, such as dahlia beds, around their properties rather than the natural bush colours.
A significant start has been made and FIDO is anxiously hoping to have the financial resources to continue this vital program now that funding support that used to come from the Burnett Mary Regional Group has ceased.
Article submitted by John Sinclair, Fraser Island Defenders Organisation