Celebrating: two years of the Growing Illawarra Natives website!

My goodness has it been two years? Yes it has! The Growing Illawarra Natives website was officially launched in March 2020, just as the eastern Australian states went into assorted lockdowns and other restrictions to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a difficult two years in so many ways.

But last weekend, we finally got to launch the GIN website down in Berry, home to a strong contingent of website contributors. Lyn Clark, who runs the Natural Studies and Plant Propagation Centre at Berry Public School, encouraged dozens of people to contribute to the GIN project, and was absolutely central to its success. 

The pictures don't do justice to the joy and community spirit of the event, where so many new connections were made. But we're sharing them to give a small sense of the amazing 'plant people ecosystem' that thrives across the Illawarra region. 
Active launching! Leon and Emma speak and many contributors participate. Image by Bill Pigott.
Tree identification walk in the Berry Public School arboretum. Image by Bill Pigott.
Nothing brings in plant people like a giveaway! Launch attendees admire the wide selection of plants grown at the Plant Propagation Centre, some of which they have propagated themselves. Image by Bill Pigott. 
The stripes have it! Lyn Clark in the Plant Propagation Centre, sharing a few tips with GIN's Emma Rooksby. Image by Bill Pigott. 
Trees talk. This picture might not mean much to people who weren't at the launch, but it shows trees that were planted on the Berry Public School grounds up to fifty years ago. Barry Virtue (second left) planted many of these trees in the nineteen eighties, and they are still growing and providing shade, shelter and education to the school's current cohorts. Image by Bill Pigott.
Despite difficult times, there is much to celebrate in our region. A massive thank you to Lyn Clark and everyone in the Berry region who contributed to the Growing Illawarra Natives website project. We couldn't have done it without you. 

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