What is Little Habitat Heroes?
Little Habitat Heroes was born by a group of new mums who met at a Mothers' Group in Castlemaine in early 2016. We wanted to contribute to the restoration of the local environment and give our children the gift of a personal connection with nature.
We are working with Connecting Country* to regenerate a 10 hectare site of the East side of Leanganook (Mt Alexander). The invitation is open for all interested people to participate in the campaign and assist a child to become 'little habitat hero'.
In 2016 we raised enough funds* to order 900 seedlings that propagated in time for a very successful planting day in winter 2017. Almost all the trees are thriving, but we still have 7 hectares to plant, and ongoing maintenance is required. So our fundraising and community building around the project continues each year.
Our aims for the site
By planting indigenous species, we aim to reduce erosion and improve biodiversity, encouraging a return of local wildlife. We also wish to foster an ongoing stewardship of the site with regular events to maintain and nurture the growing habitat.
*Connecting Country (Mount Alexander Region) Inc is a community-based not-for-profit organisation that aims to increase, enhance and restore biodiversity across the Mount Alexander Shire and surrounds in central Victoria.
Give the gift of habitat
Support little habitat heroes.
Join us in creating a community of active habitat heroes that will create and nurture up to 10 hectares of new habitat. Each hectare will cost about $3,000 to plant and maintain*. Any amount you give helps us reach our goals. Here are two ways you can support the campaign.
01. support the project (and a child)
Donate a tax deductible donation to Little Habitat Heroes through Connecting Country's GiveNow page. When you donate you'll be asked whether you want to donate in honour of a child, and this information will be shared with the child's parents. You can also just donate to the campaign without naming a particular child.
02. SUPPORT your CHILD TO BE A HERO
Ask friends and family to donate trees in the name of your child. Perhaps you'd like to tie the request to a birthday or other special occasion. You will receive the names of all donors gifting to your child. Join our tree planting days and get involved in ongoing activities on site, fostering a connection between your child and the growing habitat.
*Costs per hectare include purchase and propagation of 300 plants, tree guards, planting equipment, ongoing maintenance
and the wee bit of marketing to get this project happening.
Join the community
We are working with landcare organisations and artists to make this a unique project that connects our children in meaningful ways to the local environment.
join the campaign
EACH YEAR: Donate and/or tell your family and friends that your child would like to be a little habitat hero and request that they donate to the campaign in your child's name. Any amount helps us meet our goals. We aim to raise awareness and foster new partnerships each year through new campaigns.
WINTER '18: We are planning planting day and picnic to continue the restoration of this beautiful site. With Connecting Country and Harcourt Valley Landcare we will continue plant the site with native Silver Banksia, Sheoaks and other indigenous seedlings that have been propagated over the summer.
FOR YEARS TO COME: Be involved over time in the ongoing stewardship of this site, connecting your family to the growing number of species for whom we will have created new habitat. Enjoy picnics and vistas from this beautiful spot.
We are working with local artists, Trace Balla (illustrator) and Ann Ferguson (ceramist), to explore ways to connect little habitat heroes to the planting site through art activities.
Join our mailing list for updates on the campaign and to participate
in upcoming events and activities.
Help us make history
Restoring ecology on an historic site
The planting site is at the Former Silkworm Farm in the Mt Alexander National Park. The mountain, called “Lanjanuc” by the Jaara Jaara people, was important as a sacred ceremonial ground and high vantage point.
The planting site also has an interesting European legacy, being historically important for the role that a group of socially-minded women played in the 19th century in setting up the relatively obscure industry of silkworm farming to create opportunities for the region's poor.
"The farm was one of the first sericulture ventures established by a co-operative group ..and it is one of only a small number of archaeologically documented businesses run by women in the nineteenth century."
Fast forward more than 150 years and a different collective of women, mothers from Mount Alexander Shire, are working with their families and the greater community to restore the indigenous ecology of this now degraded site for future generations.
Joining forces with Connecting Country, Parks Victoria and the Harcourt Valley Landcare Group, Little Habitat Heroes aims to begin the process of revegetating the 10 hectares available on this site as a celebration of our children's first years.
1. Planting plan
- A conservation agreement with Parks Victoria was completed prior to our first planting day.
- Revegetation occurs at a density of approximately 300 plants per hectare. This takes into consideration the existing native vegetation, natural regeneration and future planting events.
- Plants are propagated by local indigenous nurseries from seed collected in the local area where available.
- Prior to planting the site is prepared (i.e. spot spraying, rabbit control). When planted all plants have large wells dug around them (to hold water). They are guarded and watered-in.
2. Indigenous plants
The species selected for planting are all significant for local fauna, including wombats, koalas, echidnas, sugar gliders and woodland birds, providing important refuge, habitat and food sources.
- Drooping Sheoak – provides animal refuge; seeds provide food for woodland birds
- Silver banksia – a local rare plant species, which used to be prolific
- Sweet Bursaria – essential for the survival of Eltham Copper Butterfly
- Others: Lightwoods, Blackwood, Black Wattle, Silver Wattle, Golden Wattle, Gold-dust Wattle
The site will continue to be monitored by Little Habitat Heroes, Harcourt Landcare and Parks Victoria. Any on-going maintenance of the planting site is be undertaken by a contractor. Funding for this is set aside as part of the budget. Works required include watering during extended dry periods, and follow-up weed and rabbit control.