Sustainability group digs deep to restore farming property west of Mt Barker

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Eco-restoration consultant Dr Geoff Woodall and Greens Skills projects manager Basil Schur on the Tootanellup property.
Camera IconEco-restoration consultant Dr Geoff Woodall and Greens Skills projects manager Basil Schur on the Tootanellup property. Credit: Deanna Forster

An old farming property west of Mt Barker is being transformed into a community-led environmental conservation and hands-on education hub.

After an extensive fundraising effort, landcare group Green Skills WA — based in Denmark and Albany — has bought a 50ha property near Rocky Gully.

Nestled between the Mt Roe National Park and the Stirling Range National Park, the property connects the extensive nature and wetland reserves surrounding it.

The project joins a larger conservation effort led by Gondwana Link, an organisation which has worked for two decades to reconnect nature reserves across the South West.

Green Skills projects manager Basil Schur is leading the Tootanellup Eco-restoration project to connect two reserves into a healthy unbroken corridor to allow the movement of wildlife.

Mr Schur said it was the first time the group had purchased land to restore, and it was a big step in its sustainability efforts.

The site of Green Skills’ Tootanellup eco-restoration project.
Camera IconThe site of Green Skills’ Tootanellup eco-restoration project. Credit: Joe Pearce

The site will be used by conservation groups and to provide hands-on learning experiences. “We are planning all sorts of exciting projects,” he said.

“We think it is a great step forward to progressing the vision of Gondwana Link to connect the land between the Forest National Parks and the Stirling Ranges.”

Mr Schur said there were a string of reserves surrounding the property for the group to focus its educational and conservation efforts towards.

“By restoring and re-vegetating the property we will ensure a good eco-linkage along this whole chain of bushland,” he said.

“So for species such as brush wallaby and many other smaller animals, it will safeguard the continuity of all that bushland.

“Re-vegetating that property will fill a gap that will stand in good stead in the future.”

Bird Life Australia and Denmark Bird Group hope to use the property to undertake research at the adjoining Boggy Lake.

The groups hope to explore the site as a suitable home for the endangered Australasian bittern, which was last seen at the site about seven years ago.

Mr Schur encouraged anyone who would like to get involved or support Tootanellup Eco-restoration fundraising to phone Green Skills Denmark on 9848 3310.

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