THE NightWings Rainforest Centre in Wonga Beach will benefit from $95,302 in funding through the latest round of the Australian Government’s 20 Million Trees programme – helping them to achieve their dream of planting 70,000 trees over six years.
Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said NightWings was one of a number of community projects that will share in $5 million to help roll out 64 local tree planting projects across the country – with a particular focus on protecting habitat for threatened native species.
“These latest 20 Million Trees projects will see an additional 1.3 million native trees planted around the country, putting us well on target to achieve our goal of planting 20 million trees by 2020,” Minister Hunt said.
“These trees and other plants will contribute to re-establishing native vegetation, providing habitat to support threatened plants and animals, and creating greener spaces to improve the liability of our cities and towns.”
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch congratulated Annie Schoenberger, the founder of NightWings, and her team for their successful funding application.
“Annie and her team have set themselves an admirable and ambitious project with NightWings – creating an eco-friendly Visitor Centre and Bat Hospital on 15 hectares of land south of the Daintree River.
“This funding will be a huge benefit to them realising a six-year goal of revegetating the land with more than 70,000 trees,” said Mr Entsch.
Ms Schoenberger said the federal funding would help her and her Nightwings team in their mission “to create a shining beacon for the environment, bring back the wildlife, and start an ecotourism venture.”
“Planting trees for this project is being done in six stages of between ten-thousand and fifteen-thousand at a time – with each stage performed during the wet season to make sure the trees are given the best start.
“This federal government money will fund stages two and three of the project as we create a corridor of trees connecting the highlands with the wetlands.”
She said they’re working with the traditional owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people, to only plant trees that are native to the region.
“There are literally thousands of plant varieties in Far North Queensland, but we are planting around 200 species which are indigenous to the local area; with most being significant to the local Yalanji people, and all are fast growing and fruiting to attract birds and bats to bring in more seed from adjoining forest,” she said.
The 20 Million Trees initiative is an important part of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. More information on the initiative is available at www.nrm.gov.au/20-million-trees.