Reaping the rewards of Rainforest Regeneration
The Crystal Castle Rainforest Walk is a wonderful example of a project where we have been able to partner with members of the community and another local organisation to support something we are firmly committed to - the well-being of our natural ecosystems. In partnership with Rainforest Rescue, over 6,000 trees have been planted on the Crystal Castle grounds over the past 5 years creating a beautiful 1km trail through regenerated rainforest.
The Big Scrub was once the largest expanse of subtropical rainforest in Australia covering over 75,000 hectares between Byron Bay, Ballina and Lismore. Although less than 1 percent remains it is the most diverse ecosystem in New South Wales. The regeneration of this glorious rainforest is vital to the survival of over 100 threatened species of flora and fauna.
Rainforest Rescue is a not for profit organization that has been helping to protect and restore rainforest in Australia and internationally since 1998. The Crystal Castle project started in May of 2006 when Dave and Mandy from the Rainforest Rescue Tree Planting Team designed the planting project and began to clear the lantana and camphor infested paddock that was destined to become our rainforest walk. Once the bulk of the weeds were cleared and you could walk on the paddock we hosted a series of community tree-planting days. The team prepared the site, digging holes and adding water crystals to ensure the new trees had enough water in those crucial early days. And the community turned up in force to plant, water and mulch the young trees. As well as the great feeling of having a heap of like-minded folks come together to work together on a valuable project, the other important mission of the community planting days is to inspire people to go home and plant more trees in their own neighbourhood. You can feel the great vibe and see the valuable work done on one of these tree planting days on this video http://www.youtube.com/user/rainforestrescuer
Each rainforest tree takes two years of care to become successfully established and during that crucial time the Tree Planting Team visited the Crystal Castle site regularly to remove weeds, ensure there was enough water and to protect the trees against grazing animals like rabbits and wallabies. There have been several stages to the project but we are happy to report that the trees through which the walk loops are now fully established and care has been handed over to the Castle gardening team.
And what a joyful sight it is! Some of the first trees planted are nearly 10m tall and are already providing a thick, cool band of shade along the walk. It is very rewarding to know some of these beautiful natural miracles will live hundreds and even thousands of years and that every tree planted will absorb around one tonne of carbon in its lifetime making an important contribution to the reduction of global warming.
All of us at Crystal Castle wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the fabulous Rainforest Rescue team and to everyone who donated a tree or came to one of the tree-planting days. And we extend a warm welcome to all of you to come visit the Rainforest Walk and see for yourself how a weed-infested paddock can be returned to a thriving, beautiful, natural paradise.
For more information about Rainforest Rescue please visit www.rainforestrescue.org.au