May 31, 2011

Garden innovation celebrated for World Environment Day

The latest landscape restoration techniques used by Greening Australia will soon benefit Geelong gardens thanks to practical workshops at Alcoa.

To celebrate World Environment Day 2011, more than fifty Alcoa employees and community members will participate in ‘Habitat Garden' workshops on Thursday 2 June. A habitat garden attracts a variety of wildlife by creating nesting sites, refuge, food and shelter.
Greening Australia has vast experience in landscape restoration throughout Australia and these techniques are showcased through its partnership with Alcoa on the award winning Moolapio project, based on Alcoa’s 520ha of land at Point Henry.
Transferring that experience into household gardens, Greening Australia will lead a free session with hands on learning, practical advice and free plant giveaways.  The topic has proven so popular; a second session has been scheduled to meet demand.
By creating a habitat garden at home, birds, lizards, mammals, marsupials, frogs, butterflies and bees can thrive in an urban landscape that is often fragmented and under pressure from human impacts.
Greening Australia’s Lyn Willcock said a good habitat garden requires planning and the large amount of interest in the workshops reflected the growing popularity in the technique in home gardens.
“To create the best habitat garden, you need to consider the needs of the animals and insects you wish to attract through your choice of food, shelter and breeding sites. The results are amazing and the technique certainly adds a new dimension to home gardens, big or small.”
Alcoa Point Henry Environment Manager Barry Knight said the event supported Moolapio’s aim to increase the community’s skills and knowledge in practical environmental activities.
“Moolapio presents the Geelong community with unique on-ground learning and development opportunities.  The partnership between Greening Australia and Alcoa enables the community to access some of the latest land management techniques that are used in large land areas, can be transferred to the humble household garden with huge benefits.”
Background information:

Lyn’s Top Tips for Creating a Habitat Garden
  • Research local plants and animals and plan your project well
  • Monitor your garden to track changes over time and to test the usefulness of the garden to your focal species
  • Plant a range of plants
  • Use natural mulches and leaf litter – it will attract local critters far easier
  • Include clumps of dense shrubs – to create a refuge for small birds
  • Include nectar plants
  • Provide a cat-safe bird bath, with a clump of shrubs next to it so that the birds have a safe haven
  • Rocks and boulders that are located in the sun will attract lizards to sun themselves
  • Blue flowers attract butterflies!
Moolapio is a ground-breaking initiative that began in 2006 between Greening Australia and Alcoa of Australia, two organisations who have worked together for almost 30 years on environmental management campaigns across Australia.
Moolapio is initially focused on 500 hectares of Alcoa’s land in Point Henry and represents a variety of different strategies for improving existing land management practices, restoring the local ecology and providing environmental learning opportunities for the community.
Moolapio presents a range of exciting opportunities for the education sector and wider community to play an active role in the management of Point Henry land through engaging schools, tertiary institutions and community groups in on-ground management, knowledge sharing and scientific research.
A key feature is the establishment of large scale grassland restoration and establishment of the Southern Australian Centre for Grassland Restoration.
Only 12 months into the partnership, it was awarded the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award for ‘best specific environmental initiative’ and in 2010 the project won the 2010 Victorian Coastal Award for Excellence, for Coastal Planning and Management.
World Environment Day
World Environment Day celebrates its 11th Anniversary on Sunday 5th of June 2011.
Each year on this designated day, the United Nations seeks to focus world attention on the environment, and in particular, on positive programs that work towards protecting or restoring the world's natural heritage.
Media contact
Kate Betts, Alcoa of Australia - 0400 209 497