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  • How the Baldivis Children’s Forest came to be
    The Baldivis area has been an area of significant growth for the City of Rockingham since the late 1990s. The area rapidly transformed from a rural to sizeable urban community. New roads had been constructed, with the Kwinana freeway extension to Baldivis opening in 2000 which led to native vegetation being cleared, and houses, schools, and shops appearing around every corner. Baldivis was the fastest-growing area nationally. This unsustainable growth prompted concerned students and staff at Baldivis Primary School to try and preserve some of Baldivis’ natural heritage. In 2000, Baldivis Primary School was commissioned by Taylor-Woodrow (later Stockland), in partnership with the City of Rockingham (CoR), to develop a “Tree Walk” linking 35 historically significant trees in Settlers Hills and Woodleigh Grove Estates. The same year, Green Skills approached the CoR to do on-ground restoration projects in Rockingham/Kwinana and identified reserve 30269 as a suitable site. Green Skills secured funding from Alcoa’s ‘Rivers, Wetlands, and Habitats program' to undertake what would be the beginning of ongoing restoration activities at the reserve. Green Skills approached Baldivis Primary School to see whether they would like to become involved, and so planting began at the reserve which was later named the Baldivis Children’s Forest.
  • Nurturing Nature: The Revegetation Program at our Forest
    The land where the Baldivis Children’s Forest is located today was once subdivided into several small farms as part of the post-World War II soldier settlement scheme. The Baldivis Children’s Forest land was used primarily for dairy farming, and the flat section of the land adjacent to Outridge Swamp was used for market gardens. In the late 1970s, Outridge Swamp was protected, and the land was declared a reserve, and was enjoyed by residents for picnics, walks, and horse riding! Revegetation planting began in the Baldivis Children’s Forest in 2000, in partnership with Green Skills, however, most of what was planted either died or was eaten by the large kangaroo population! In 2004, more in-depth site surveys were undertaken to better understand the animals and plants that thrived in the Forest, and research and experiments were undertaken to try to establish the most effective way to protect plants from becoming kangaroo food! Soil and vegetation are closely related – this means that the type of soil determines the types of plants that are usually found in an area. Most of the soil at the Baldivis Children’s Forest is Tamala Limestone (as part of the Spearwood Dunes) and is made up of three geomorphological units: Cottesloe (the eastern slope, down toward Outridge Swamp and the Judith Hill Wetland Conservation Node), Karrakatta (the western, front-facing slope and the ridge of the hill), and the Herdsman Complex (the swamp). Surveys on the site have shown us that paperbarks, flooded gums, and sedges are thriving in our wetland (Herdman Complex). Marri and tuart trees are the main tree species on the eastern slope (Cottesloe), and the rest of the site (Karrakatta) is filled with tuarts, wattles, jarrah, sheoak, and many types of banksia trees. This information taught us that our Floristic Community Type (FCT) was likely originally an FCT 25, either ‘Tuart-Peppermint’ or ‘Tuart-Banksia’ woodlands. Knowing this allowed us to research other similar sites with the same FCT which informed our revegetation plant choices. The Baldivis Children’s Forest revegetation program works in conjunction with the local community through events and school excursions to plant on the reserve. Community members involved in planting learn about weed management and are taught to manage the seed pots, removal techniques, and how to best protect the plants from both predation and the elements. Over the years, to ensure successful planting years, the Baldivis Children’s Forest has worked in collaboration with the City of Rockingham to develop a thorough weed-management plan and has applied for grant funding to cover the cost of additional weed-management sprays for lupins and veldt grasses. In later years, we also installed a water tank and reticulation lines to keep the seedlings watered over the hot and dry summer months, and in 2006 we introduced our first fenced planting area. These fenced planting areas are still in use today. We rotate the fencing every 5 years to allow for young plants to grow into maturity before the fencing and reticulation are moved and re-erected in another area of the Forest. In the past, we have received funding for planting from various corporate sponsors, but our recent revegetation program has been 100% funded by Baldivis Children’s Forest proceeds. Our seeding survival rate began in 2000 at just 10% and has improved significantly, and we now have an annual survival rate of between 80-90% per year.
  • The Magical World of Fungi in the Baldivis Children's Forest
    We have many different types of fungi at the Baldivis Children’s Forest, and it appears the most after the seasonal heavy rains between May and July, although some species are active outside of this period. This period is when most fungi develop ‘fruit’ to allow their spores to spread. Fungi come in many different shapes, colours, and textures, and most thrive in wetter areas hidden amongst logs, leaves, and under the bark. Some types can be found high up in tree branches. Fungi often develop a symbiotic relationship with the plant that it lives on. This means that the plant provides something, usually sugar, to the fungi, and the fungi provide nutrients to the plant. Mycelium threads of fungi can grow underground and can form the largest living organisms in the world. If you go exploring for fungi, please remember to only look, and not to touch or pick it up. A special license is needed to collect Fungi in Western Australia, and some can be poisonous, so always remember to wash your hands and never eat any mushrooms that you find. The following are photographs showcasing some of the diverse fungi species found in the Baldivis Children's Forest:
  • Feathered Wonders: The Birdlife of the Baldivis Children's Forest
    Since 2004, the Baldivis Children’s Forest has been working with volunteers from Birdlife Australia WA and has compiled a register of bird sightings. Birdlife Australia, in conjunction with Baldivis Children’s Forest volunteers and local school children, worked together to develop a register of birds sighted in the Baldivis Children’s Forest. A total of 63 species have been sighted in the Forest since 2004. The birds observed in the Forest give an overall indication of the health of the bushland, and we have been able to track changes over time. The Forest is home to both insectivorous (eats insects) and nectar-feeding birds, some of which are classified as sensitive species. This tells us that the forest habitat is in a healthy condition. In the Forest, smaller birds shelter in the bushy acacia shrubs and feed on insects and lizards living in the long grasses and shrubs. Large tuart trees provide nesting hollows for parrots, galahs, cockatoos, and kookaburras. Tuart, jarrah, flooded gum, and banksia trees provide nectar for honeyeaters when flowering. To help support the threatened red-tailed black cockatoo and the endangered white-tailed Carnaby’s cockatoo populations, the Baldivis Children’s Forest has installed six cockatoo tubes across the site. We monitor breeding in these tubes annually with five out of six tubes producing chicks last year.
  • Animals that call the Baldivis Children's Forest Home
    The Baldivis Children’s Forest provides food and shelter to many different types of animals (fauna). Western grey kangaroos are most common and are easily startled, it is very common to see them bounding away from the paths! Throughout the Forest, they are often found sunbaking together in sandy, sunny areas and you’ll often see scats and footprints. The Forest also has large populations of southern brown bandicoots and bush rats, however, both are nocturnal and very cautious of humans so are rarely seen in the Forest. The Baldivis Children’s Forest is also home to twenty-five different species of reptiles which includes a few different breeds of skinks, snakes, geckoes, and monitor lizards. The Outridge Swamp boasts seven different species of frogs. The Forest has a large population of nocturnal animals, including brushtail possums, tawny frogmouths, boobook owls, Gould’s wattled bat, white-striped mastiff bat, and the southern forest bat. To support our possum population, the Baldivis Children’s Forest installed 6 possum boxes and to support our bat population, there are 5 bat boxes installed across the site. The bat boxes are surveyed each year between May and October to record bat numbers in the Forest.


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