There’s an old country song that croons “Don’t Fence Me In” but for students of Gloucester High School, fencing in a paddock tree will provide future benefits for both the school Ag Farm and the environment. Paddock Trees are essential on farms for shade and shelter for livestock, but they also provide wind breaks, improve the ability of soil to hold moisture, store carbon, and are essential habitats for a whole range of wildlife including koalas.
Using fencing materials supplied by MidCoast 2Tops Koala Paddock Tree Project, a tree on the Ag Farm was fenced off to provide protection from the cattle, and Eucalypt seedlings were planted by the students. The fence was placed in such a position that still allows livestock to use the shade of the tree when needed, but prevents damage to the tree by cattle congregating around it.
Members of the Gloucester Environment Group also assisted the school with volunteers attending a tree planting day, ensuring the lonely paddock tree will now have a replacement ready to take over its role in 100 years’ time, and the patch of bush that will grow in the fenced area over the next 3-10 years will provide crucial habitat not only for the koalas that travel through the area but a myriad of birds and other wildlife.
Students also assisted Project Officer Lauren Booth with collecting baseline data about the tree and the site, which will be used for ongoing monitoring over the next three years. “The students were really aware of the benefits of paddock trees and were of great assistance collecting the data,” Lauren said. “It is great to see a school so involved in environmental education with students that are so enthusiastic.”
Remember – the best time to plant a tree was Yesterday!