Celebrating: local eucalypts!

March 23 is National Eucalypt Day, and this year there are some great local activities to help demystify our local eucalypt species, courtesy of Landcare Illawarra and Eucalypt Australia. 

Eucalypts are some of the biggest trees of the Illawarra region, some of the most important habitat species, and also some of the most dominant species in many local vegetation communities. The coastal plain would once have been home to large areas of Illawarra Lowlands Grassy Woodland, full of Forest Red Gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis), Cabbage Gums (E. amplifolia) and the local 'stringybarks' (which, yes, have stringy bark)! And the escarpment foothills would have hosted extensive forests of Blackbutt (E. pilularis) and Grey Ironbark (E. paniculata). Sadly most of these areas have been cleared of forest, but that doesn't make the trees any less significant. The remnant trees and forests are if anything even more important for local biodiversity, supporting possums, gliders, owls and many many more species.  

A magnificent Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) at Curry's Mountain. Image by Emma Rooksby.  
As well as being large, and ecologically dominant, and excellent providers of food and shelter, eucalypts also have a reputation for being confusing and hard to identify. I understand, I've struggled over the years, it can be really difficult to get your head around them!!

With that in mind, there are a couple of Landcare Illawarra events on for National Eucalypt Day that may help. 

One is a 'Eucalypt Walkshop' led by Leon Fuller, author of Wollongong's Native Trees. This will cover the eucalypts of the region (with a focus on the escarpment and coastal plain). Leon will also give some tips on how to use eucalypts in revegetation projects.    

  • When: Sunday 19 March 10am-12pm
  • Where: Wiseman Park, Gwynneville
  • A booklet on Eucalypts and Revegetation in the Illawarra will be provided to participants free of charge. 
  • Who: 20 places, priority given to Landcare Illawarra members. RSVP to chair@landcareillawarra.org.au or 0438076303

The other event is a Talking Landcare event with a focus on eucalypts. This is open to one and all, and includes refreshments! 
  • When: Thursday March 24 6pm-8pm
  • Where: Dapto Ribbonwood Centre (Laurel Room)
  • Speakers: Leon Fuller on Illawarra Eucalypts, ecologist Gary Leonard on Eucalypts and Climate Change, and Margot Law (from DPIE's Saving Our Species program) on Eucalypts and the Fauna that Depend on Them, with a special focus on koalas. 
  • Who: open to the public, no RSVP needed. 
If you'd like to know more about local eucalypts, these events should be interesting and lots of fun. 
The strikingly long leaves of Woollybutt (Eucalyptus longifolia) together with the new buds, showing the bud cap or operculum that is a distinctive feature of Eucalyptus species. Image by Leon Fuller.

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