End of an era

Store to close af­ter 92 years

Geraldton Guardian - - Front Page - Francesca Mann

For four days a week, the Community Nurs­ery in Wag­grakine is a bustling hive of ac­tiv­ity as vol­un­teers grow na­tive plants to help reveg­e­tate lo­cal bush and beach ar­eas.

Run­ning since 2004, the Community Nurs­ery grows a wide range of lo­cal plants that are used to com­bat damage to the nat­u­ral bush­land.

In 2017, the vol­un­teers grew a record-break­ing to­tal of 33,000 plants. This year, with 50 vol­un­teers on the books, the team hopes to grow 20,000.

City of Greater Ger­ald­ton Community Nurs­ery and nat­u­ral ar­eas of­fi­cer Wendy Payne said the nurs­ery was an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to give the en­vi­ron­ment a much-needed help­ing hand.

“We’re very for­tu­nate in Ger­ald­ton — we have all the com­forts of a big city but we also have the bush right there,” she said.

“The bush is im­pacted by so many things, weeds, feral an­i­mals, peo­ple go­ing four-wheel-driv­ing; we al­most love it to death.

“Sometimes it doesn’t re­cover eas­ily from the pres­sures and sometimes the only way to help is through reveg­e­ta­tion.

“Com­ing here makes me feel like I can do some­thing, it’s very em­pow­er­ing.”

Orig­i­nally in Pass Street, Won­thella, the nurs­ery moved to Ade­laide Street, Wag­grakine, in 2013. Over the years, the nurs­ery has be­come more than just a place to grow plants, with the team also con­duct­ing their own re­search on the best way to ger­mi­nate dif­fer­ent seeds.

All of the work done by vol­un­teers over the past four years has been recorded.

While some of the knowl­edge has been gath­ered through trial and er­ror, Ms Payne said the group had picked up a lot of tips and tricks ver­bally. “A lot of what we do is ger­mi­na­tion tech­niques that have been passed down,” she said.

“For ex­am­ple, we were told the ni­traria bil­lardieri, or sea grape, has to pass through the gut of a bird be­fore it will grow.

“We need it writ­ten down; if the nurs­ery closes to­mor­row, then we’ll still have all that in­for­ma­tion.”

Ms Payne said the team hoped to pub­lish a book­let de­tail­ing the re­search.

“Peo­ple would be able to ac­cess the book­let,” she said.

“Any­one can (ger­mi­nate seeds) with th­ese meth­ods, it’s not high tech.

“It’s all about co-op­er­a­tion, the more you co-op­er­ate the more you get done.”

For the army of vol­un­teers, aged from 18 to 82, the Community Nurs­ery is also a chance to get out­side and meet new peo­ple.

The nurs­ery is cur­rently un­able to take on new vol­un­teers.

But Ms Payne said those in­ter­ested in help­ing out could con­tact the City of Greater Ger­ald­ton and be placed on the wait­ing list.

Pic­tures: Francesca Mann

Nurs­ery vol­un­teers Mar­ion Hel­wig, Kim Jack­son, Julie Dwyer, Ken Vai­ley and Rus­sell Coupe ex­am­ine na­tive plants.

Shirley and David Hoare and Ken Vai­ley get stuck into the spinifex.

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