Riverland and Murraylands NPWSSA staff gather

An all-staff day for National Parks and Wildlife Services South Australia (NPWSSA) Riverland and Murraylands regional staff also doubled as a tree-planting day at Box Flat Campground in Ngarkat Conservation Park recently.

NPWSSA Riverland and Murraylands regional staff*

NPWSSA Riverland and Murraylands Regional Manager Sonia Dominelli said originally the day was a request to help plant out Buloak (Allocasuarina leuhmannii) seedlings, however it was also a perfect opportunity to bring the team together and get to know one another.

‘Not only did we reflect on highlights from 2019-2020 year and what it means to work within NPWSSA, we also managed to get over 90 seedlings planted and protected,’ she said.

‘In the new structure, our regional team has come together really well given the really hard start to the year and it was great to be able to see our full ranger contingent together.

‘It’s great to see how supportive staff are and how well they work across all district boundaries.’

Ranger Rebecca Pudney said it was great to catch up with staff from other offices, particularly as they were so geographically widespread that catch-ups were few and far between.

‘Meeting out in one of our regional parks was much better and far more productive than in a meeting room,’ she said.

Buloke (Allocasuarina leuhmannii) has been extensively cleared in the region, to make way for cereal and pasture development. It is also well liked by rabbits.

The population at Box Flat was greatly affected by the 2006 bushfire, where only a couple of remaining plants (both male) still exist.

‘The species does not recover well from bushfires,’ Rebecca said.

‘They are very slow growing and take many years before they are resilient to rabbit, kangaroo and goat grazing.

‘The species prefers growing in sandy loams usually found in low lying areas and only a small number of hectares of Buloak woodlands are protected in conservation reserves.’

Altogether 93 seedlings were planted on the day from locally collected seed, with each tree protected with a 1.5 metre high tree guard.

*Pictured with the black jacket, going clockwise, is Executive Support Officer Delia Onofrei, Ranger Matt Warnock, Riverland Senior Ranger Tony Stevens, Fire Management Officer Jared Pippos, Regional Support Officer Annette Smith, Ranger Glenn Chisholm, Project Fire Fighter Ashley Francis, Senior Project Fire Fighter Darren Grove, Ranger John Mitchell, Ranger Ryan Hamood, Conservation Ecologist Chris Hedger, Murraylands Senior Ranger Stuart Hicks, Ranger Joseph Gallasch, Senior Project Fire Fighter Robert McGregor, Project Fire Fighter Max Kimber, Murraylands District Ranger Paul Gillen, Fire Management Officer Andrew Mcloughlin and Riverland and Murraylands NPWSSA Manager Sonia Dominelli. Present but not in the photo are Ranger Michael Boon (out of frame) and Ranger Rebecca Pudney (photographer). Ranger Shara Coulthard was absent