A fire-affected property in Hawkesdale has 500 new trees where old ones once stood thanks to volunteers.
The first of many tree plantings was held in Hawkesdale on Saturday and more volunteers are needed to help in the area.
ReGreen4FireAid co-ordinator Julie Regan said they planted 500 trees in a shelter belt on Saturday.
She said they had been working in the fire-affected regions of Garvoc, Terang and Gnotuk, which were also hit by the St Patrick’s Day fires, but only a handful of owners in Hawkesdale and Gazette had registered.
The ReGreen4FireAid volunteers who work at Warrnambool’s Deakin University are partnering with Landcare, the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Moyne and Corangamite shires.
She said there was 304 fire-affected properties. “We’ve had donations given to us from the public, a couple of different businesses and DELWP has given us a grant of $5000 which we bought trees with.”
ReGreen4FireAid members and volunteers will work until mid October. “We’ve given farmers 500 trees to start their shelter belts,” she said. “We’re coming to the end of the season now but we’ll be starting again in autumn. Because summer’s coming up it’s getting too dry to start planting. We’ve done quite a few plants already. If we haven’t actually planted them we’ve given lots of trees out. We’ve given thousands away to farmers in the area.”
She said while some owners had registered and had help with plantings, there were some property owners who didn’t realise there was assistance available.
Property owners have to register with the Corangamite or Moyne shires.
She said farmers were rapt to receive the extra help. “They’re extremely grateful. They can’t believe people have been so generous.”
She said it would be fantastic to have more volunteers for upcoming plantings and called on community groups or schools to get involved.
To donate money or trees or to volunteer, message Julie on the ReGreen4FireAid Facebook page.