Restoring life on the land one tree at a time

By Melissa Keogh

Two decades ago it was hard, if not impossible, to spot a kangaroo grazing on pasture at the Herrmann family’s Adelaide Hills farm.

But after years of environmental efforts, catching a glimpse of a roo or a sleepy koala on the property near Mt Torrens is almost guaranteed.

Over 15 years fifth-generation livestock farmer Noel Herrmann and his wife Dianne have transformed their degraded landscape into a place rich in wildlife and native plants.

The family runs beef cattle and merino sheep for wool and meat.

The Herrmanns say the transformation was made possible with the help of environmental organisation Trees For Life.

Trees For Life volunteers grow seedlings in their backyards before the plants are sold to country landholders like the Herrmanns.

Thousands of Trees For Life eucalypts, wattles, and shrubs have been planted on the farm over the past 15 years, helping to restore the land to its former glory.

The degradation of the property began in the mid-1800s when Noel’s great-grandfather, like many settlers, began clearing the land.

But as a result, the saline water table rose to the surface, killing off vegetation, with erosion also becoming a problem.

“We knew we had a few problems but we didn’t know what to do about it,” Noel says.

“That’s when we heard of Trees For Life.”

Margaret Kings, like many Trees For Life volunteers, grow seedlings in their backyards to be delivered to landholders.

Margaret Kings, like many Trees For Life volunteers, grows seedlings to be delivered to landholders.

Noel says the Trees For Life plantings were significantly cheaper than sourcing plants from elsewhere.

He says the revegetation held the creek lines together, reduced erosion, dropped salinity levels and provided habitat for wildlife and shelter for stock.

Trees For Life executive officer Natasha Davis says thousands of other South Australian landholders had revegetated their properties through Trees For Life.

“We have some farmers who have ordered seedlings for a couple of decades, and many long-term relationships between volunteer growers and land owners,” she says.

Landholders can start their own planting by placing a Trees For Life native seedling order before July 31.

Registration for volunteer growers are also open.

Email info@treesforlife.org.au, call 8406 0500, or visit the website for more information.

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