Half of all tickets sold at Mountain to Mouth 2016 go towards funding a planting program of indigenous species along the 80km walk, called the Green Corridor strategy. It is a long term vision focused on connecting local communities and revegetation organisations together, in order to help revegetate local habitats and retain the regions natural beauty.
Today the Mountain to Mouth team, Karingal Foundation, Parks Victoria and an entourage of over 40 volunteers successfully conducted the first major planting at Big Rock in the You Yangs, an important site for indigenous heritage, ecology and the starting point for the Extreme Arts walk.
650 indigenous flora were planted over two sessions, helping the ecology of the You Yangs to get back on track. Matt Crawley, one of Mountain to Mouth 2016's district coordinators and part of the Bellarine Landcare Group, said the area contained a lot of biodiversity but the ground-level plant life has become sparse due to pests like rabbits.
The planting has seen 150 bidgee widgees, 50 snowy mint-bushes, 250 pots of kangaroos grass and 200 pots of basket grass reintroduced to the area, which will initiate a positive chain reaction for the local environment, including giving natural wildlife such as kangaroos the ideal plant life to graze on.
Suzette Jackson is the Green Corridor coordinator, responsible for overseeing this very important aspect of the Mountain to Mouth project. She has been instrumental in numerous regional sustainability initiatives in the Geelong region and is a director of Innate Ecology. With a strong focus on sustainable living and healthy regions, she is excited to have initiated the project with such success and enthusiasm from partners and volunteers.
Tamara Karner, a team leader at Parks Victoria who is responsible for the You Yangs regional park, says they are ecstatic to have plant life reintroduced to the area after so many years without it. A rabbit-proof fence is being installed to ensure the new plants are not decimated by the pests.
Esther Konings-Oakes, the district coordinator for the Songline Station at the You Yangs will coordinate volunteers to maintain the planting in the lead up to event. This team will also clear the ceremonial circle of noxious weeds and debris in time for Mountain to Mouth 2016's indigenous dance and welcoming ceremony, "Gathering of the Elders". She is in the process of organising regular days where volunteers get together to maintain this important and treasured environment.
The upcoming installation of Mountain to Mouth walking maps and signage at a number of sites will encourage year-round walking of the Contemporary Songline.
Mountain to Mouth is Geelong's multi-award winning journey of discovery, an 80km walk over two days and 11 stages. Register now.