30 years of the Capertee Valley Tree-planting project

Thursday, 20 June 2024

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30 years of the Capertee Valley Tree-planting project

Celebrating 30 years and over 150,000 native trees and shrubs planted in NSW’s Capertee Valley

30 years is a huge milestone for any habitat restoration project – especially one led, implemented and coordinated entirely by volunteers. But in May, BirdLife Australia’s Southern NSW branch celebrated just that: the momentous 30-year anniversary of its tree-planting project in NSW’s Capertee Valley.

In the centre of the frame, a kneeling man in beige pants, a blue top and navy hat pats the soil beside a child, wearing purple pants, a green top and a pink beanie. They are both compacting the soil around a tree they have planted in the paddock.
Volunteer tree planters in action! Photo by Mick Roderick

Hundreds of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers have been attending autumn and spring planting events here since 1994.

Together, they’ve now planted over 150,000 native trees and shrubs across 300 hectares and 53 properties in the Capertee Valley – a key breeding area for the Critically Endangered Regent Honeyeater. As part of a national recovery effort to help their population recover, this project aims to revegetate, restore and enhance habitat for Regent Honeyeaters and other woodland birds.

On Saturday 4 May 2024, around 160 volunteers turned out to the planting day, followed by a celebratory dinner at the Glen Alice Community Hall. Here, staff from BirdLife Australia’s Woodland Birds team presented framed certificates to volunteers in recognition of their efforts – including to long-time volunteers Dick Turner and Iain Paterson, who’ve been on the organising committee and involved in the project since the very beginning. 

In a crowded hall, two men are seated at a table with a colourful red tablecloth, holding framed certificates with Regent Honeyeaters and smiling at the camera.
Dick Turner (left) and Iain Paterson (right) were presented with certificates in honour of their 30-year long involvement in the project. Photo by Mick Roderick

And on the Sunday, over 70 people attended a walk-and-talk event organised by BirdLife Australia and Central Tablelands Local Land Services. This included a tour of one of the oldest stands of plantings from the project – transformed from what was once a bare paddock to a thriving woodland habitat, home to threatened woodland bird species including Hooded Robins, Diamond Firetails and Brown Treecreepers.

Year after year, it’s heartening to see hundreds of volunteers rallying in support of this project and the woodland birds of the Capertee Valley.

Special thanks to BirdLife Southern New South Wales, the committee and army of volunteers who’ve made this extraordinary feat possible, to the Glen Davis Community Association for hosting the dinner, and to NSW Land Rover Owners Club, Cumberland Bird Observers Club, Birding NSW and the Blue Mountains Bird Observers Club for their organisational and logistical support over the life of the project.