By Helen Tatchell
Over the last 15-years community members, landholders and state environment bodies have worked together to change a landscape, planting over 1-million trees.
A celebration of the Grow West milestone was held in the Pentland Hills, with thanks and acknowledgments to many volunteers for the ongoing restoration.
Grow West began in 2003/2004 and was born out of a need to improve rural land in the Upper Werribee Catchment.
It started as a program to control serrated tussock, rabbits and to manage erosion, but has grown into one of Australia’s most ambitious landscape restoration programs.
As a collective, Grow West has planted over 1.3 million trees and revegetated 5,233 hectares.
“This is a hugely significant place and taken on with stars in our eyes,” CEO of Conservation Volunteers Association (CVA) Phil Harrison said.
“The project has been incredibly rewarding with passion, energy from key individuals in the organisation.
“Key leaders have been a critical factor to get the job done.
“It has only been successful because we work with others as a collective,” he said.
“This project is now a case study, an example of what we believe can make a difference within a community; locally, interstate, nationally and internationally.”
Current Grow West partners include the Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning, Port Phillip & Westernport CMA, Moorabool Shire, Melbourne Water, Southern Rural Water, Parks Victoria, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Trust for Nature, local Landcare and community environmental groups and landholders.
Grow West’s long-term vision is to connect large areas of the Brisbane Ranges National Park, Werribee Gorge State Park and the Lerderderg State Park.
The Victorian Government is currently supporting Grow West to implement a three-year project to protect threatened plants and animals in the Brisbane Ranges National Park, Werribee Gorge State Park and the Lerderderg State Park.