Please note that the planting day has been rescheduled from Saturday 5th June to Saturday 24th July. If you had registered for the June date your registration has been transferred and we hope you are able to join us on the 24th July to plant 4,000 indigenous plants. If you are not able to attend, we ask that you cancel your ticket online, so it can free up a place for another volunteer.
Green thumbs are invited to roll up their sleeves and help plant 4,000 native plants in Bacchus Marsh at the 15th annual Grow West Community Planting Day on Saturday 24th July 2021.
The annual planting day is one of Grow West’s biggest events and is an important opportunity to rejuvenate and restore local landscapes. This highly anticipated community event was sadly cancelled in 2020 but is back this year bigger and better than ever.
The planting day will be held at Kel Shields Flora Reserve in Bacchus Marsh. The five-hectare reserve forms an important urban biolink, connecting the escarpment with the Werribee River that runs through town, In the future, it will become an important thoroughfare for the community, with walking tracks connecting new suburbs of Bacchus Marsh to the train station and main street.
What’s new in 2021
The Grow West Community Planting Day will run a bit differently to previous years, with volunteers being split into a morning session (9.30am – 12pm) and afternoon session (1.30pm – 4pm). Volunteers can select their preference when registering.
Morning/afternoon tea will be provided at each session, but there will be no lunch provided. Instead, we are asking our volunteers to help support our local food venues by visiting for lunch or dinner before or after you have attended a planting session.
For more information, including a list of local food venues, download the Grow West Planting Day Information Pack. Please take the time to read this before registering.
You will need to select your session (morning or afternoon) when booking. Please only book into one session. Please make sure you register a ticket for every attendee, including children.
Registrations will be open until 19th July or until booked out.
About Kel Shields Reserve
The Kel Shields Reserve was named after Bacchus Marsh community member and former Shire President, the late Kelvin Shields. Kelvin (Kel) was born in Bacchus Marsh in September 1923 and was elected to the Bacchus Marsh Shire Council in 1967, serving until his passing in 1989.
In addition to his role on the Shire Council, Kel was an active member of the Bacchus Marsh Conservation and Planning Association and other local organisations including the Bacchus Marsh and District Historical Society and the Bacchus Marsh Football Club.
Former Bacchus Marsh and District Conservation and Planning Association President, Don Journet, said the planting of the trees currently found at Kel Shields Flora Reserve were a project of the association in the early 1980s.
“They were planted as an example of Australian native species from a wide range of habitats, which explain why the species growing there are not all local species”, he said.
“The association also assisted with local revegetation projects such along Myers’s Road into the Werribee Gorge (after the construction of the Western Freeway), and at Organ Pipes National Park.”
When the association closed in the mid-1980s, it passed its remaining funds onto the Friends of Werribee Gorge and Long Forest, who are long-time partner of Grow West and the planting days.
Grow West is a partnership between Port Phillip &Westernport CMA, Melbourne Water, Moorabool ShireCouncil and Southern Rural Water.
The Grow West Community Planting Day is an annual event is run by Grow West in partnership with Victorian National Parks Association, Friends of Werribee Gorge and Long Forest Mallee, Bacchus Marsh Lions Club, Victorian Mobile Landcare Group.
The 2021 event is funded through the generous supportof SureGro Treemax, Bacchus Marsh Community Bank,15 Trees, G.J. Gardner Homes and Moorabool ShireCouncil.
Grow West is a proud sponsor of the Rotary Club of Bacchus Marsh Art Sale and Exhibition and is again running the Grow West Landscape Art Prize in 2021.
Artists of all levels are invited to enter a work in any medium that expresses their understanding and appreciation of the work done to protect the precious, yet fragile, environment in the Grow West area.
$500 acquisition prize for the winning artwork.
The Bacchus Marsh Rotary Club Art Show, which features the Grow West Landscape Acquisitive Prize, has been postponed. Rather than being held over the Queen’s Birthday Weekend, it will now be held from 3-5 September.
Entries closes: Friday 28th May 2021
About Grow West
Grow West is one of Australia’s most ambitious programs of landscape restoration. Launched in 2003, its vision is to revegetate thousands of hectares of land in the Upper Werribee Catchment by connecting large areas of public reserves in Brisbane Ranges National Park, Werribee Gorge State Park and Lerderderg State Park through a mosaic of revegetation works across public and private properties.
Potential sites to visit for inspiration
The follow locations are sites where Grow West has achieved large-scale landscape change:
- Revegetation leading into Bacchus Marsh from Ballarat on the Western Freeway
- Revegetation and forestry in the Rowsley Valley, along Glenmore Road
- Remnant vegetation protection on Iron Bark Road leading into the Werribee Gorge from Bacchus Marsh
- Revegetation at the Racecourse & Recreation Reserve, Balliang – Bacchus Marsh Road, Bacchus Marsh
- Revegetation and Forestry at Tramway Lane at Bald Hill Bacchus Marsh
- Various sites near Palmers Lane and Myers Road adjacent to the Werribee Gorge
Also see the Before and After Photos section of this website.
Wildlife spotting is always exciting, but it’s particularly thrilling when the species hasn’t been seen in the area for a long time. This happened recently on David Muir’s property in Myrniong, where a koala visited for the first time in 10 years.
The property is part of the Myrniong and Korkuperrimul biolinks which provides a strategic link to the Lerderderg State Park. The koala was spotted at the site of the 2012 Grow West Community Planting Day site, where 200 volunteers planted 6,500 indigenous trees and shrubs and the famous 1 millionth Grow West tree was planted by the then Minister for Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Ryan Smith MP.
Koalas are seen in Lerderderg State Park but don’t often venture onto farm land because of the lack of vegetation connecting large tracks of remnant vegetation in the public reserve to private land.
It’s only been through the establishment of the biolinks that these animals have started venturing further afield, feeling more comfortable to traverse the agricultural landscape with a good food source at hand.
Grow West is excited to announce that they are partnering with 15 Trees, Gardens for Wildlife and Moorabool Shire Council, for the 2021 Grow West Community Planting Day, which will be held at Kel Shields Flora Reserve in Bacchus Marsh.
The annual planting day, which was sadly cancelled in 2020, will be held on Saturday 5 June to celebrate World Environment Day).
The six hectare site, located in the township of Bacchus Marsh, forms an important urban biolink, connecting the escarpment with the Werribee River that runs through town. The aim of the works will be to rehabilitate an escarpment back to an open Grassy Woodland ecosystem.
It currently has a healthy cover of nine native grass species, dotted with the locally endemic Bacchus Marsh Varnish Wattle and the rare Fragrant Salt Bush.
Unfortunately, the site is also host to Peppercorns, Boxthorn and Prickly Pear. Thankfully, with the help of Moorabool Shire’s bush crew and the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority’s Environment and Agriculture Work Crews, we have been able to remove a large portion of the weeds from the site.
For more information on 2021 Grow West Community Planting Day and to be informed when registrations open, sign up to the Grow West enewsletter.
It has been a quiet year on the landscape change front, with only three sites participating in revegetation activities and the cancellation of a major community event.
G.J Gardener Homes Bacchus Marsh via 15 Trees and Tripod Farmers Bacchus Marsh sponsored 480 indigenous plants to be planted on a local farm in Rowsley. Getting the trees in the ground was a family affair with even the kids getting involved! (pictured above left).
The last of the Greening the West 1 Million Trees project participant, planted 11,375 seedlings and undertook 44km of direct seeding this season.
The much-anticipated annual Grow West Community Planting Day event, which normally attracts 200-300 volunteers from across the region, sadly had to be cancelled.
We are happy to report that the site has now been planted by contractors with 6,300 seedlings across an area of 13.8 hectares, along 2.3km of Balliang Creek. Pictured above is the three generations that live on the farm watching the trees grow.
A big thanks to our sponsors; Melbourne Water, Bacchus Marsh Community Bank, Bacchus Marsh Lions Club, Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal- ANZ Seeds for Renewal Program, and the Australian Government Communities for Environment Program for making this happen.
Despite all the challenges that 2020 has presented, Grow West and its landholders were able to continue contributing to a greener, brighter future for our children, by planting 18,155 indigenous plants in the upper Werribee Catchment.
For the last four years, the ‘Protecting and connecting species and communities in Melbourne’s west’ project has worked to protect and enhance threatened plants and animals in the Upper Werribee Catchment by undertaking large-scale pest plant and animal control programs.
Efforts have been concentrated within the three large public reserves – Lerderderg State Park, Werribee Gorge State Park and Brisbane Ranges National Park – covering an area of approximately 30,000 hectares.
In addition, the project engaged with landholders, adjoining the Brisbane Ranges National Park who assisted with identification of pest plant and animals, and the Traditional Owners, Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung, undertook essential weed control in the Werribee Gorge and Long Forest reserves.
The large-scale pest plant and animal threat mitigation activities undertaken in the four reserves provided a large boost to the works that had previously been carried out by groups and landholders to protect and enhance threatened species and communities.
The project targeted goats, deer, rabbits, pigs, and cats along with pest weed species; Sallow Wattle, Gorse, African Weed Orchid and Serrated Tussock.
The project has achieved great on-ground environmental outcomes through a collaborative multi-stakeholder approach. By working together, both private and public land managers had a positive and lasting impact on the landscape with the support of the partner organisations, Port Phillip &Westernport CMA, the Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning and Trust for Nature.
Project achievements 2017-20
Werribee Gorge State Park
858 ha Serrated Tussock
1,281 ha rabbits
Lerderderg State Park
34,600 ha goat control
21,628 ha cat control
42,248 ha pig control
Brisbane Ranges National Park
3,666 ha Gorse
5,180 ha Sallow Wattle
22,086 ha deer control
28,309 ha goat control
14,971 ha cat control
1,970 ha African Weed Orchid surveyed
Long Forest Conservation Nature Reserve
1,278 ha Serrated Tussock
34 properties assessed
1,651 ha assessed
19 species of weeds observed
While the 2020 Grow West Community Planting Day has sadly been cancelled, we’re please to report that the trees planted back in July 2019 as part of the 2019 planting day are doing very well.
The landholders, Rick and Nadia, and their neighbours, Bill and Airlie are amazed by the growth rates of the plants that were planted by our wonderful team of volunteers last year.
We have had some exceptional rain events throughout the 12 months that have helped the seedlings survive their first summer and continue to grow into 2020. Some are popping out of the guards!
Thank you to all those that had helped in 2019 and we look forward to your support at the 2021 planting day.
The Grow West Community Planting Day has been an annual event for close to 15 years and has a seen a whopping 3,300 volunteers put 60,000 plants in the ground.
It impact is huge, not only for the environment, but the communities living in Upper Werribee Catchment, but finding the funds to run it year after year isn’t always easy.
A huge thank you to the Bacchus Marsh Community Bank Branch who have provided Grow West with a $1000 grant to help fund their 2020 community planting day in Balliang.
Bacchus Marsh Community Bank Branch are long time supporters of Grow West and the planting day, as well as the broader Bacchus Marsh community. Through their recent community grants program they provided 35 community groups with shared in $130,000, made possible by the customers of the bank.
Thank you to Judy Douglas, community representatives on the Grow West planting day committee and Friends of Werribee Gorge & Long Forest Mallee Inc., for accepting the cheque on behalf of the committee.
The 2020 Grow West Community Planting Day will be held on Sunday 19th July in Balliang. Join the Grow West mailing list for updates.
The Victorian Government’s Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning (Grampians branch) paid Grow West a visit last week.
To celebrate Biodiversity Month 2019 they’ve created a series of videos showcasing some of the awesome revegetation projects happening across the region.
We gave them a tour of a number of Grow West project sites and the amazing work being done by Grow West’s partners, landholders and volunteers.
It was a great opportunity to reflect on the last 15 years and what’s been achieved thank to the passion and focus of our dedicated partners.
Check out the video below and click here to check out some amazing Grow West before and after photos.
A photographic exhibition on display at the Lerderderg Library in September is showcasing the biodiversity of the region and the positive impact of community environmental action.
Grow West: A Greener, Brighter Future celebrates 15 years of the Grow West program, which has worked with 48 landholders and 2,800 volunteers to undertake one of Victoria’s largest revegetation projects.
Grow West’s vision is to rejuvenate 10,000 hectares of land by creating nature links between the Brisbane Ranges National Park, Lerderderg Gorge State Park and Werribee Gorge State Park.
Over the last 15 years, Grow West has planted 1.3 million trees across 2,500 hectares, providing a space for native plants and animals to live alongside thriving local communities.
The exhibition features a wonderful array of local native animals and plants taken by local photographers David Whelan, Bernie McRitchie and Roger McRaild.
It also includes a number of fascinating before and after photos, which show how the landscape has improved between the 1970s and today.
The exhibition coincides with Biodiversity Month, which is held in September each year and aims to promote the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity both within Australia and across the world.
Grow West: A Greener, Brighter Future
1-29 September 2019
Lerderderg Library, 215 Main St, Bacchus Marsh
Open: Mon, Thu: 8.30am-8pm; Tues, Wed, Fri: 8.30am- 5pm; Sat: 9am-2pm