Life­long pas­sion for ecol­ogy turns into grat­i­fy­ing ca­reer

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - JANN HOULEY [email protected]­news.com.au

MARK Cachia is a pro­po­nent of the Bradley method, which in­volves re­gen­er­at­ing bush­land by work­ing “from good ar­eas to bad”.

It is named for sis­ters Joan and Eileen Bradley, who orig­i­nated a world­wide move­ment 50 years ago of coax­ing the bush back to health through care­ful weed­ing and gen­tle cul­ti­va­tion.

“It’s amaz­ing what rem­nant veg­e­ta­tion you can find in a me­tre ra­dius un­der one tall tree out in the pad­dock,” Mr Cachia said.

“And there are lots of species that can be found around Rock­hamp­ton you don’t find any­where else.”

Mr Cachia re­cently moved from Gayn­dah in south Queens­land for work but says the two towns are part of the same biore­gional “belt”.

The Bri­ga­low Belt is a wide band of wooded grass­land that runs be­tween Queens­land’s trop­i­cal rain­for­est on the coast and its semi-arid in­te­rior.

It is named after aca­cia har­pophylla, a species of sil­very wat­tle.

Mr Cachia works as a su­per­vi­sor at Eco­sure and is await­ing coun­cil ap­proval to start his own na­tive nurs­ery on a block of land in Port Cur­tis.

“I do a bit of prop­a­gat­ing from seed and I also buy in from a re­tailer in Kin­garoy,” he said.

Some of the species he brought to his mar­ket stall on Bolsover St on Sun­day in­cluded na­tive pomegranate, dar­ling lily, whale­bone tree, hum­ble ebony and a rose­wood spec­i­men.

Mr Cachia re­calls be­ing pas­sion­ate about plants and an­i­mals when he was “only two or three”.

“My aware­ness of the need to take care of the bush really started in high school when I got in­volved with some land­care groups,” he said.

“I won a $50,000 grant to in­stall wa­ter tanks at my school in NSW.”

Now he’s slowly get­ting in­volved with the Fitzroy Basin As­so­ci­a­tion and the Rock­hamp­ton Re­gional Coun­cil’s sus­tain­abil­ity de­part­ment.

“Birds and an­i­mals can move into an area quite read­ily,” he said.

“But plants can’t; we have to find the patches that re­main and al­low them to spread back out.”

You can find Bring­ing Back the Bush Eco­log­i­cal Restora­tion on Face­book.

Photo: Jann Houley

BUSH RE­GEN­ER­A­TION: Mark Cachia of Bring­ing Back the Bush Eco­log­i­cal Restora­tion.

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