How to turn your garden into a wild wonderland

Barung Landcare's Gardens for Wildlife program

“Rewilding” backyards has become popular as residents look to entice bees, birds and butterflies into their gardens and a Sunshine Coast environment community group is teaching our community how to achieve this.

Recognising an increasing interest from people wanting to swap their perfectly manicured lawn for a more natural one, Barung Landcare created the Gardens for Wildlife program.

Inspired by a similar program in Tasmania, it gives those with smaller rural blocks, urban gardens or even tiny balconies the knowledge and resources to create their own nature-friendly garden.

Barung Landcare’s Nurseries and Education Manager Cam Burton said with help from a Sunshine Coast Council Environment Levy Partnership grant, Barung Landcare was able to re-launch the program in 2022.

“It now has 297 members and growing,” Mr Burton said.

“The three-year partnership gave us some financial security to enable us to plan for the long term and focus on growing the program and making it a success.”

Mr Burton said the benefits of a native garden were endless with every property helping to make a difference.

“Growing local native plants around your home and property can be incredibly beneficial in supporting our local environment,” Mr Burton said.

“Choosing local native plants over exotic species can help reduce the risk of exotic plants becoming weeds that escape into the bush and degrade habitat.

“Native gardens can support many local animals with food, water and shelter, and increase their ability to move through the landscape keeping them safe from feral predators, domestic animals and the impact of road traffic.

“Native ground covers and grasses help provide sanctuary for reptiles, insects and frogs, and create a wonderful place for curious nature-lovers to interact with the natural world.”

Keen to join Gardens for Wildlife Sunshine Coast?

Whether you’ve got a modest sized yard or balcony garden, no property is too small for Gardens for Wildlife Sunshine Coast.

It is free to join as part of an annual Barung Landcare membership, which starts at $35.

Sign up at barunglandcare.org.au/gardens-for-wildlife to receive a gate sign, access to two free plants, expert advice, and a range of free or low-cost workshops and events through Barung Landcare plus much more.

How to apply for an Environment Levy Partnership grant

Sunshine Coast environmental community groups are encouraged to apply for a grant to help fund the vital work they do for our wildlife and natural environment.

Applications for Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment Levy Partnership Funding Program open on April 15, 2024.

Successful groups will receive a share of $635,500 each year for the next three years, subject to completing a yearly progress report and the adoption of Council’s annual Environment Levy budget.

The three-year partnership provides certainty for the groups, enabling them to engage in longer term planning and capacity building.

The funding contributes to operational expenses, allowing volunteers to continue providing a vital service to our wildlife and environment and supports the delivery of the Sunshine Coast Environment and Liveability Strategy.

Key dates:

•           Expressions of interest open: April 15, 2024

•           Round closes: May 13, 2024

A meeting with a Council Officer is required to develop a collaborative partnership with mutually agreed outcomes for natural resource management of the region.

To learn more about the grant program and apply, visit sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/grants.

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