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ACT Branch: A Late Summer Amble in STEP
28 February 2020 @ 4:00 pm AEDT
STEP or the Southern Tablelands Ecosystem Park is part of the National Arboretum Canberra (NAC). In fact it is Forest 20 of that Arboretum. In 2002 with the aim of creating a regional botanic garden the Australian Native Plants Society and the Friends of the Grasslands began a campaign to achieve a site and space for this endeavour.
It is a microcosm of the vegetation typical of the Southern Tablelands region of NSW and the ACT. This bioregion (the Southern Tablelands) is regarded as severely endangered as well over 90% has been cleared and/or modified and there are very few significant areas left of the original plant communities due to a combination of pastoral and farming activities as well as towns and other urban development.
The idea behind STEP is to present as many of the key species of plants as possible for enjoyment and for education as they are species which can be grown with minimum effort in our environment. STEP is run by a voluntary organisation in association with the management of the NAC and in 2019 celebrated the 10th anniversary of the first plantings. Since planting the 16 species of key eucalypts as the structure of the garden (they now refer to it as a regional botanic garden) they have planted around 20 more trees of the region and around 180 of the approximately 240 species of understory plants of the
forests and woodlands of the region.
While late summer is the toughest time of the garden, and especially in a drought, there are now wonderful allees of the trees beginning in most cases to achieve canopy closure and the grasses and the last of the daisies will be in full evidence.
Max Bourke will introduce us to the history of the site and the rationale for its establishment and then we will be taken in groups on a guided tour. A walk around the site now shows the foresight of the original proponents and once again reinforces the old adage the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago and the second best time is today”!
Groups will return to The Clearing for refreshments.
We thank our Branch members Max and Margie Bourke who have been volunteers at the Southern Tablelands Ecosystem Park since its inception in 2009, and have facilitated this visit for us.
Meet at 4pm: at the Main Car Park of the National Arboretum Canberra– There will be no need to pay to park at that time. The group will then be led across the road and down a gently sloped gravel path to The Clearing, the STEP meeting area.
Cost: $15 members, $20 non-members (plus 50c ticket fee) including refreshments.
Bookings: Through TryBooking.
Enquiries: Sue Byrne firstname.lastname@example.org, 0413 840 931