The Berry Wildlife Corridor has been given a helping hand thanks to a group of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) students who volunteered their time during National Volunteering Week.
Twenty-one students and Berry Landcare members worked in four different sites within the Berry Corridor.
They planted more than 450 local native tube-stock, mostly grown by the Berry Public School nursery and weeded lantana and tobacco bush.
The work sites included Crown Land on Boundary Road and private properties on a ridge off Tindalls Lane, and beside the Princes Highway, all northeast of Berry.
The Berry Wildlife Corridor is linking existing remnants of native forest between Seven Mile Beach National Park and Barren Grounds Nature Reserve.
The corridor extends in elevation from sea level to 600m and will conserve native habitat for wildlife movement across consenting landowner properties.
The corridor will promote biodiversity and assist native fauna in adapting to environmental impacts, resulting from climate change.
Berry Landcare has been given a NSW Environmental Trust grant for a 10 year project to manage and rehabilitate the corridor which relies on a volunteer workforce.
“The event was a terrific way to kick off numerous project sites in what promises to be several years of activity on more than 50 private and public land sites within the corridor,” Berry Landcare Chairman, Jim Jefferis said.
“We can only do this with the assistance of volunteers like the UTS group, Landcare, the Berry Forum and involvement from local landowners.”
“The students, who were part of a UTS initiative called ‘the Big Lift’ were great, we were impressed with their youthful energy, interest and they put in a huge effort and enjoyed themselves socially.”
Great Eastern Ranges (Bush Connect) Project Officer, David Rush said the UTS student event was a boon for each of the project sites.
“They were so helpful that Berry Landcare would like to have them back again to be involved in other similar sites within the Berry Corridor,” he said.
“These sites provide critical stepping stone patches of bushland habitat for native wildlife which we aim to continue to protect and connect across the Berry Corridor over several years.”
Local landowners Lisa Havilah, James and Jennifer Moffitt, Phill Bragg and Carolyn Ridge commended the students on their efforts.
“The UTS students were fantastic, they have provided us with much needed support with our weeding and tree planting and we are delighted with the results,” the agreed.
David Rush said there will be many more projects ahead.
“There are fauna surveys, production of a Landholder guidebook, securing landowner agreements to weed, fence and plant and conduct landowner workshops all supported by the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust Bush Connect funds,” he said.
“We are currently working with Roads and Maritime Service to link one of our sites via a Berry Bypass under-bridge tree planting to a threatened Fishing Bat (Myotis macropus) habitat on Broughton Creek for a community event on National Tree Day this July.
“We currently seeking expressions of interest from landholders within the Berry Wildlife Corridor to register their involvement in the Berry Bush Links project.”
For more information about the project, to volunteer or to see if your property is within the Berry Wildlife Corridor, contact David Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0418 977 402.