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Saving a species Yarrabilba planting program gives Melaleuca irbyana a fighting chance of survival

Saving a species, Yarrabilba planting program gives Melaleuca irbyana a fighting chance of survival.

On Planet Ark’s School Tree Day, Year 7 students Yarrabilba Secondary College have dug deep to plant 56 endangered Melaleuca irbyana, also known as the Weeping Paperbark or Swamp Tea-tree, establishing roots to save the species from extinction. These were planted alongside over 150 over tree, shrub and groundcover species that naturally co-occur with M. irbyana in the wild.

In support of achieving a long-term sustainable community for Yarrabilba, Lendlease formed a partnership in 2011 with renowned environmental consulting company, Natura Pacific, ensuring a greener future for generations to come.

Part of the program involves local school students planting hundreds of M. irbyana seedlings throughout Yarrabilba – a species whose habitat now survives in only 10% of its former range with less than 1,000 ha left in the world. It is thought that over 100 years ago, this rare tree even grew wild at Yarrabilba – so in that light, it’s being brought home!

There are currently over 2,200 M. irbyana housed in the Yarrabilba nursery, which have had their seedlings harvested through an education program called the Connecting Communities Project at several local parks. The seeds are then grown at a number of local prisons.

Natura Pacific senior environmental scientist Dr Mark Nadir Runkovski said 80% of the Melaleuca seedlings are planted in Yarrabilba, with about another 20% planted within Logan, ensuring the survival of the species not only within the city, but within surrounding habitats, enhancing connectivity.

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“Australia is one of those rare places in the world that still has an incredible amount of biodiversity left. There are still amazing natural areas, even in relatively urbanised regions like Logan. If we act now to educate the younger generation and make them aware of this, we can help threatened species and ecosystems avoid extinction. And of course, we too are part of the jigsaw puzzle that is biodiversity, so we too can only benefit from saving fellow species” he said.

“The tree planting day is a fun way to educate students on ways they can help restore our planet and it starts in their very own backyard”.

“A big thank you to Lendlease and Karen Greaves for placing an emphasis on the local environment at Yarrabilba and the work they are doing on-ground.”

Yarrabilba State Secondary College Head of Department James Wendt said it was important to educate the next generation on their role in preserving the natural environment.

“The students have learnt about the Melaleuca irbyana trees and how significant they are to our local environment,” he said.

“Our school has a strong focus on sustainability, to reuse, recycle and regenerate and to be conscious of our impact on the local environment.”

Lendlease Yarrabilba established a circular economy strategy in 2019 and have been recognised as an industry leader within master planned communities. Creating a new era in sustainable living, Yarrabilba is attempting to regenerate the local environment, working with Natura Pacific and school students on biodiversity conservation across the city.

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To find out more about the Connecting Communities Project run by Lendlease and Natura Pacific, check out this short film 

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