Stables Revegetation a Community Effort
This article is part of a series kindly provided to us by Trees For Life.
The Stables Christian Centre was established in Noarlunga in 1993, aimed at helping local lower socio-economic families.
What they didn’t know when they bought the 37 acres of land in Huntfield Heights was that years later, Pastors Sonny and Lynne Hoet would also help transform the local landscape through revegetation works.
Lynne said the land had been used for a riding school for many years, so the paddocks were in a poor condition and covered with noxious weeds.
A creek line on the property featured some magnificent old River Red Gums – amongst scatterings of box thorns and olives.
Sonny and Lynne joined up with Trees For Life soon after and started growing their own seedlings.
“We had about 60 young people in our church and youth group at the time and when planting out time came, they enthusiastically joined in the fun,” Lynne said.
“I often meet people who remember these early times with fondness and are proud of the tall trees that now grace the property.”
Lynne said early on in the process, the centre also didn’t have any money to spend on ‘extras’ such as tree guards, so used car tyres instead.
“These were effective in protecting the trees but there were real problems if we didn't remove them soon enough as the trees grew. Local kids also used to delight in removing them to roll them down the hill.”
Over the years, the seedlings have been grown and planted out by various groups of people - church members, a women's group, Junior Youth kids, Correctional Service workers, WorkForDole participants, Centrelink Volunteers and Learn to Earn TAFE students.
Lynne admits they have suffered plenty of losses due to some avoidable and not-so-avoidable issues:
“Planting the wrong trees such as bottle brush on the hillside where there was not enough water retention, the mower man not being a tree lover, sheep breaking through fences, those who watered not being in tune with those who planted and therefore missing areas of planting, drought and searing heat, vandalism (the most disappointing of all), native apricots looking like small olive trees and black boys looking like weeds so removed by over-enthusiastic volunteers. (We have stopped even trying to grow these),” she said.
Despite this however, Lynne said now when they sit on the hill and look over the property, they forget about cold and wind, tired backs and disappointments.
“We think of the friendships, the conversations as we filled tubes or planted, the hundreds of volunteers and Trees For Life.
“Planting trees really does something for the soul and gives you reason to celebrate for years to come.”
And as for the future, they admit they still have lots of projects ahead of them.
“Windbreaks, understory, the creek line, denser plantings on the boundary fences come to mind,” Lynne said.
Let’s hope the community spirit continues for years to come!