Over the past 30 plus years, the Kowree Farm Tree Group has been a steady figure among
conservation efforts in the Wimmera. Their successful track record in leading conservation projects
led to the group being invited by our local federal member, Anne Webster MP, to submit an
application for the Communities Environment Program.
The Communities Environment Program forms part of the Australian Government's 2019
environment policy election commitment, Our Plan for a Cleaner Environment. The Program
provides each of the 151 electorates across Australia with up to $150,000 to fund
small, community-led environment projects. These projects aim to address local
environmental priorities. In consultation with their community, each Federal Member
of Parliament identifies potential applicants and projects in their electorate and
invites them to apply for a grant.
The endangered South-east Red-tail black cockatoo is listed EPBC and is one of 20 priority
endangered bird species. It is also a valued element of our local community. Since its adoption as the
official mascot of the 2006 Commonwealth Olympic Games, this species has become somewhat of a
local celebrity, even being adopted as the icon for our local Art Gallery and Golf Club. One of the
major threats to the bird is the loss of its rather specialised feeding habitat of Buloke and Stringybark
The 'Restoration of the South-east Red-tail black cockatoo feeding habitat' project, aims to
establish new feeding habitat, in existing habitat areas for the endangered South-east Red-tail black
cockatoo. The group was successful in securing funding for the project. Already well underway, the
project will establish new feeding areas for the South-eastern red-tail black cockatoo on a total of 4
properties. There will be a total of 8 ha of feeding sites established via creating stringy bark and
buloke plantations, and 20 ha of feeding sites established by planting and guarding 50 individual
paddock trees. With work well underway in total 1100 stringy bark and 280 buloke trees have
already been planted during the July - Sept 2020, planting season. The areas have been fenced off to
protect them and are now waiting for more rain to ensure their success.
The project had also intended to involve local school groups, with students from St Malachy’s school
and Edenhope College invited to participate in education programs and tree planting activities.
Unfortunately due to Covid-19 lock downs only a small number of students were able to participate
in these activities, mostly during Term 1. A successful nature walk through the Edenhope Flora and
Fauna reserve with Foundation and Grade 1 students from St Malachy’s school, led by Gloria
Freeman of the Kowree Field Naturalists, allowed the students to observe the cockatoo’s feeding
on local Stringybark’s. Several students were also involved in planting activities on one of the sites.