Grant kick-starts a great night-life for wildlife

Dianne Mauloni
March 29, 2016

Rainforest Rescue Nursery. NightWings stock awaiting transport to the NightWings land for planting

Rainforest Rescue Nursery. NightWings stock awaiting transport to the NightWings land for planting

An ambitious and unique revegetation project is being undertaken to extend new habitat for a plethora of native fauna including the endangered Southern Cassowary and Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo.

Nightwings Rainforest Centre has received a Community NRM Grant of $30,000 from Terrain NRM to kick start a tree planting exercise across 37 acres (15ha) south of the Daintree River, backing onto the World Heritage listed Daintree National Park.

In excess of 8,000 trees have been planted so far to rehabilitate the area which was cleared over 50 years ago.

Connie Kerr from Nightwings said, “We are coupling the planting with an informative walkway which will include plaques with information about a range of flora and fauna species in the area. 160 species of native trees/shrubs has been planted including the vulnerably listed Black Palm, to provide habitat for the Southern Cassowary, Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo, Grey Goshawk, Grey Falcon, Raja Shelduck, Rufous Owl, Ghost bat, Large-eared Horseshoe bat, the endangered Australian Lace-lid Frog, and Spectacled Flying-fox.

“The project is divided into stages over six years. Nightwings have a vision of creating a shining beacon for conservation, education, eco-tourism and bat rehabilitation.”

An excavator has re-established the natural hydrology of the site, including three ‘plunge pools’ and a “mini-lake” – approx. 25meters long. “We consistently observe the frog spawn of G litoralis in the pools that have been created and in a recent survey there were virtually no trees planted that did not have resident frogs. Many species of Dragonflies have been constant visitors to this excavated wet area, along with regular sightings of Rajah Shell Ducks, Pacific Black ducks and Masked Lapwings and at least two species of fish (Gudgeon and Rainbow fish) and a native crayfish has also been seen there,” said Dave.

Connie said, “Terrain has been critical to the early success of the project. They provided technical support in the development of the application, and continue to support us in reporting on the project outcomes. This capacity has been vital for us in transitioning the project from conceptual to practical.”

NightWings have now secured another round of funding through the Federal Governments 20 million trees program which is now underway.

Terrain’s Community NRM Grant programme is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. Nightwings is a privately funded enterprise and currently seeking donations to continue their good revegetation work.