Music festivals took on a whole new meaning in Dumbleyung recently when 150 volunteers came from the city to plant 40,000 seedlings across five properties while listening to and playing music.
The much-appreciated help came from Activate the Wheatbelt, a not-for-profit organisation that brings volunteers from Perth to the wheatbelt for a music-filled weekend of tree planting festivities.
Dumbleyung farmers Meryn Clune and Robert Temby were two of the lucky landholders on the receiving end of some helping hands.
“They were thanking us for the opportunity to come and plant trees. We had to try to tell them that we were the grateful ones,” Meryn said. “Our site was a gravelly slope, so not the easiest, but we had experienced planters who were very good.”
Meryn said it was nice to be able to show the volunteers some of their previous plantings done on the property stretching back over the past 30 years to control erosion, salinity or provide protection for livestock.
Landholders were approached when Dumbleyung Landcare became the recipients of a large number of seedlings funded through the State Community Stewardship Grant. The sites could not be planted using a tree planter so the idea of a community planting weekend was suggested as an alternative.
Volunteers of the Activate Organising Committee travelled to Dumbleyung just before COVID-19 intrastate boundary restrictions were announced. They visited the sites and the idea became a working concept. As restrictions continued Activate kept working on the event anticipating it would happen and due to the competent and dedicated volunteers responsible for organising this year’s event it was pulled together in record time after the boundary restrictions ended.
Most of the 150 volunteers were not aware of the small town before they started arriving on Friday. It was an excellent opportunity for them to visit a small community and experience the attractions and lifestyle Dumbleyung has to offer. They also put on live music at the Grand Old Dumbleyung Inn on the Sunday night, while those still in town on the Monday participated in a cultural tour provided by Wuddi Aboriginal Cultural Tours. Other businesses in town benefitted as visitors fuelled up and purchased food and drinks at local stations and cafes.
Two of the larger planting sites were tackled with great enthusiasm and volunteers including families with children were spurred along by the sound of the DJ booth in a box trailer beating out music across the site and the onsite coffee trailer was an added bonus.
The landholders who participated have been acknowledged for preparing the sites and being very generous with their time assisting with paddock arrangements, providing portable toilets, and providing guidance to the volunteer planters.
Local buses were sought to transport people to the sites and a big thank you is sent to those local owners who generously loaned buses and to one driver, Leanne Frost who spend two days driving Clem Henry’s school bus.
Thanks also to the Shire of Dumbleyung who allowed the Dongolocking Hall to be the headquarters and in helping to prepare it for the weekend event.
Lets’ hope locals will take on revegetation at a similar scale in the future to warrant Activate the Wheatbelt visit the shire again soon!
This project was supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.
Written by Peter Clifton (SWCC) and Claudia Hadlow from Dumbleyung Landcare.