HOPE project in Highfields and areas north and west

Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc. is encouraging landholders on the larger house/rural blocks in the Highfields, Kleinton, Meringandan, Cawdor and Cabarlah and other regional areas around Toowoomba to enhance the native vegetation on their property and make their home gardens and wider surrounds more "wildlife friendly".

Before December 2015, a trial program was conducted to determine community interest. Due to the overwhelming response from homeowners of the larger house-blocks and smaller rural blocks, it was decided to run the program again and expand it further afield. A number of homeowners and owners of small rural blocks have already signed up to the program and had their gardens assessed for wildlife friendliness.

To raise awareness of the program and educate homeowners on how to encourage wildlife to their gardens, the first of two workshops was held at the property of Lloyd Davies at Merritt's Creek.

Fifteen keen wildlife gardeners turned up for the workshop and learnt that it's possible to have wildlife friendly garden that is not only practical, but is also very attractive. Lloyd Davies (pictured) led a group of interested wildlife gardeners around his property during the workshop. All participants agreed it was inspiring to see what Lloyd has achieved.

The next workshop, planned for the morning of 5th March at 47 Blue-gum Drive in Highfields, looks at a smaller home garden and what can be achieved by thinking sustainably, thinking about the wildlife and working with neighbors. Homeowners who want to participate in a program called "Helping Our Properties Environment" will be guided through a simple assessment to see if they meet some basic criteria for native vegetation structure and habitat.

They will also receive an information pack containing an informal assessment of their properties garden, an aerial map and environmental advice from a local environmental scientist and free membership to Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE).

To acknowledge each homeowner's commitment to improving native vegetation and improving habitat for native fauna, each homeowner will receive a small sign (approx. 300mm x 250mm) for the front gate or fence in recognition of their efforts and contribution to the protection of wildlife in the area. "Helping Our Properties Environment" is free and non-legally binding initiative for urban, peri-urban homeowners and small hobby farms, who are interested in maximizing the quality of native vegetation and utility of their property (part or whole) as wildlife habitat.

This region is renowned for its wildlife, treed areas and visiting wildlife.

This project will contribute to the expansion of wildlife corridors and patches of viable habitat in developed areas and help sustain the regions wildlife for the longer term.

To demonstrate how to plan and implement a wildlife friendly garden as well as a walk through the garden, come along to the next workshop which will be held on Saturday morning 5th March from 8.30-12.

Please call Steve Cupitt on 0428 874 938 or email steve.cupitt@hotmail.com to register your attendance.

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