Wild spring, you make my heart sing

Environmental enthusiasts are hoping a grant worth more than $500,000 will kickstart the rewilding of gardens across Perth.

Perth NRM received the Lotterywest grant to fund a community engagement campaign and further develop the organisation’s online platform.

Environment Minister Reece Whitby says he hopes the grants will help protect and restore the state’s unique biodiversity.

Perth NRM communications manager Sabian Wilde says the majority of the funding will be used to find ways to help people get involved in urban biodiversity.

“This new funding will help us establish a plan for the future and really push our community engagement, which we have been limited in pursuing so far,” he says.

“We will also be establishing demonstration gardens that highlight the beauty and diversity of our native wildlife.

“We’re also really excited to be investigating in optimising smaller spaces, such as courtyards and balconies, to really add to biodiversity values … such as food and water, wet and dry refuge.”

The funding will help with rewilding properties. Photo: Andrew Du.

Mr Wilde says The ReWild Project shows Perth residents how easy it is to support native wildlife.

“The amazing thing about ReWild Perth is that if we successfully engage just one per cent of households in our region, this could provide an additional 100 hectares of biodiverse habitat in our urban areas … with 8,100 new points of habitat scattered across the metro area,” he says.

Nick Cook is proud of his front yard full of natives. Photo: Andrew Du.

Professional gardener and conservationist Nick Cook says rewilding is a rewarding process.

“It’s so important to have native vegetation for our fauna, insect life, native bees, and birds like cockatoos,” Mr Cook says.

Nick Cook has spent years rewilding his garden in Claremont. Video: Andrew Du.

Greenwood resident Daniela Nigro says her motivation to start rewilding stemmed from the removal of vegetation from her front garden for roadworks.

Through the process, Ms Nigro lost a number of mature trees from her garden. The Greenwood resident says she felt compelled to find a way to support the local wildlife.

“Because of the bad weather, I didn’t have much time to plant … the only tree I planted was two weeks ago, [it was] a tiny banksia tree,” she says.

“I’m planning to buy some native shrubs and dwarf trees and plant them before summer … to give them a really good chance of survival.”

The Greenwood resident says the trees and plants she plans to grow may take years to mature before they can be an effective food source for the wildlife, such as the black cockatoos.

Listen to more from Daniela Nigro.

Ms Nigro says the removal of trees has deterred some birds from the area.

“The black cockatoos have moved to another area … but we do have other exotic birds coming,” she says.

Listen to more from Daniela Nigro.
Conostylis candicans in full bloom. Photo: Andrew Du.

Bec Hodgekiss, who lives in Beeliar – south of Fremantle, received a grant to help her rewild her garden.

“The City of Cockburn gave me $250 which was good because it covered the cost of my plants,” she says.

“I managed to get 40 plants because I bought very small seed-like sized plants that is supposed to grow fast and have a better life expectancy.

The Landowner Biodiversity Conservation Grants program provides Cockburn residents with financial support to help conserve and enhance natural bushland and wetland areas on their property.

Ms Hodgekiss says she’s hopeful the rewilding will encourage wildlife back into her garden.

“My flowers are just starting to bloom, and as it’s their first spring, I would expect within the next three months there will be more wildlife coming.”