Save our Scarlet Robin Workshop, Bombala 9 Dec by Lesley Ishiyama

SATURDAY 9 DEC 2017. Twenty enthusiastic Monaro landholders attended a K2C Save our Scarlet Robin (SoSR) Workshop at Monaro Native Tree Nursery, Bombala. The workshop was organised by K2C's Lesley Ishiyama and Ryl Parker and is part of the Local Land Services, the Save our Scarlet Robin program, funded by NSW Environmental Trust.
K2C is tasked under the SoSR program to run a series of community engagement workshops to increase awareness of Scarlet Robin and other vulnerable bird species and inform landholders of funding opportunities available through the SoSR program. The workshops aim to engage landholders in revegetating the landscape and enhancing habitat for threatened woodland birds in the region.

Saturday's workshop began at 10am on a gorgeous, sunny morning at the nursery at Gunningrah. The day commenced with Rainer Rehwinkel (recently retired Threatened Species Officer, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and former K2C Chair) speaking about the habitat requirements of Scarlet Robin and other threatened woodland birds. Felicity Sturgiss (Project Officer, Local Land Services) informed participants on how they can be a part of the SOS project. Annie and Michael Platts (Monaro Native Tree Nursery) then talked about their native seed and plant production enterprise that is pivotal in the landscape, supplying plants for Government and private land holder revegetation projects across the region.

Later in the morning, participants were treated to a tour of the nursery and informed about seed storage and proportion techniques. The importance of climate control, biosecurity, watering systems, fertiliser, biological control and fungus mitigation were stressed to keen listeners. Annie described the pros and cons of planting local provinence species versus increasing genetic diversity and landscape resilience by sourcing a wider range of provinences, while Michael stressed the importance of careful planning and site preparation to ensure a successful revegetation project. Green houses, nurturing up to 20,000 plants were marvelled at, prior to commencement of the out door field component of the day.

During the 4wd convoy tour of the property, Michael emphasised the reasons behind the site selection of his plantings. His theory is that in good farm management there has to be a balance. Overall farm management involves a balance between areas for productivity and areas for connectivity and habitat enhancement. Michael's tree plantations not only provide habitat for biodiversity but also shelter for stock. He can see the effect of the shelter provided by the plantings in increased survival of lambs. He then demonstrated the new connectivity plantings and outlined his methods, which includes good site preparation,  creating riplines to retain water and application of herbicide to prevent competition.

While viewing more advanced revegetation plots, Rainer listed some threatened woodland birds in the area which include: Scarlet Robin, Flame Robin, Hooded Robin, Dusky Woodswallow, Diamond Firetail, Brown Tree creeper, Varied Sittella, Speckled Warbler and Gang Gang Cockatoo. Rainer stressed the importance of retaining standing dead and fallen timber to enhance habitat. Felicity described how the tree line plantings suit the distances Scarlet Robins prefer to travel between remnants, which is around 50 to 100 metres. These distances will also suit gliders and other mammals.  Ryl and Lesley remarked on the success of the day, with several landholders registering to participate in the project.

Thanks to Annabelle from Feed Cafe and Catering in Cooma, for a delicious lunch that was enjoyed by all and Thank you Annie and Michael for hosting an informative and enjoyable day.