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In the scenic hinterland behind world-famous Byron Bay remains cleared paddocks which were once a thriving subtropical wilderness. To the public eye, the drive through Ewingsdale is beautiful, covered in rolling hills and Australian trees along the roadside. But beyond the preserved couple of trees on display, there are huge paddocks from old dairy farms cleared 150 years ago. This clearing and cattle farming has caused mass erosion, both the extinction and endangerment of native species, poor water quality, and property segregation.
The Top Coins team collaborated with Eco Recharge to help with afforestation and reforestation projects, starting with the degraded property. It’s the first of many socially responsible activities that the team will be undertaking. Our group went out to the land in Ewingsdale, where Ben Jennings and his team–who are dedicated to planting trees in Australia–have already planted over 150,000 specific plants. Their hard work will create more biodiversity, lock up carbon, and replenish the natural habitat of species who rely on forests in Australia to thrive. There is increasing momentum in rainforest reforestation and other tree-planting efforts, as it is known as the single most effective and economical solution to environmental problems. Trees play such an essential role in our air quality, water quality, ecosystems, and mental health in urban settings. Beyond that, forests in Australia and the rest of the globe provide 1.6 billion jobs, making it all the more important to ensure their longevity.
On September 9th 2020, our team got grubby while helping dig holes, mulch, plant, and weed from the replenished creeks. It was so incredible to see the power of a group effort, hands dirty with the hope to help future generations of both humans and species who rely on trees native to Australia to thrive. On Wednesday, we were specifically planting the Pezoporus Wallicus Psittacidae (Eastern Ground Parrot) which are endangered due to the deforestation for dairy farming. I learnt that there’s so much that happens behind the scenes to successfully repair an ecosystem, especially when it comes to reforestation. The plants weren’t just any plants. In fact, the definition of a weed is “a plant growing where it is not wanted”. We often participate in planting trees in Australia with great intentions, but without proper education, it can cause more harm than good. Some of the plants we planted were Kangaroo Grass, Sweet Wattle, and Crinkle bush–to name a few.
These were specifically grown in a nursery to accommodate the land and recreate the natural forests in Australia for native species to feel at home.
Creating wildlife corridors and aiding travel for Australian mammals is also a crucial part of the reforestation process. According to Ben, four and a half years ago, when they first started the site’s bush regeneration, only 10-15 species of birds were present. After 1 year of planting, that number had already doubled. And today, there are over 80 species of birds alone. Birds are even migrating from the Northern Territory thanks to Eco Recharge bringing back paperbark forests, eucalyptus trees, rainforests and wetlands–all trees native to Australia. Other animals, like wallabies, frogs, snakes, and kangaroos, are all thriving too.
It was incredibly inspiring for us to see how much impact a day’s work can have on the environment, especially having planted over 400 trees native to Australia ourselves. To know that one day we can go back there and see the baby plants we handled so delicately as big trees and scrubs thriving and supporting biodiversity.
Our team from The Top Coins wishes to extend our gratitude to Ben & Eco Recharge for the opportunity to be involved in this sustainability project and look forward to more socially responsible reforestation projects and initiatives in the future.