Can you please start by telling the Boom community a little bit about yourself and your position here at the nursery?
My name is Tim Lang and I'm the manager of the Coolum Community Native Nursery. My job here is to support the volunteers who do almost all the work here producing these fabulous local native and coastal native plants for revegetation, for the dunes and for home gardens. It's a really amazing place to be and there's lots of enthusiastic people who are involved in this nursery. Coast Care have been a big part of this nursery historically and other organisations that do bush regeneration.
We support people who want to support our local environment by providing access to these plants, all local indigenous plants to the coastal strip. We harvest seeds from the wild, which we have permits to do, and we bring the seed back here where we prepare the seed, store them in our seed bank and then the volunteers propagate and pot up here. It’s really awesome.
What inspired you to become so passionate about native plants?
We need a healthy planet to live on and part of that is to support the natural environment that provides the services that allow us to live in a comfortable planet. Clean water, plants and trees that provide oxygen and habitat for wildlife, which then provides all sorts of services to keep the ecology going, such as pollination and spreading seeds through through the gut of birds. Humans play a key role in supporting all that stuff and because we've played a key role in degrading to the point where we could be in a lot of strife, particularly around climate change, water quality, air quality, etc. So let's all get in there, plant some native plants, support the native wildlife and support a healthy planet.
Is there any particular species of wildlife that you think we might overlook that play important roles?
Fruit bats are often maligned because they make a lot of noise, or if you live close to them they can be a bit smelly, but having said that they're critically important for the ongoing health of a lot of our bushland and forest as a pollinator of eucalyptus. So that's one species I think that we need to extend more love, understanding and empathy for.
Then there’s butterflies! From a gardeners perspective they hate grubs eating their plants, but they usually fail to make the connection that caterpillars become butterflies. So supporting people and helping them to increase their ecological literacy to understand the relationships between plants and animals, is really important.
While I'm on butterflies, we have the Richmond birdwing butterfly which has been critically endangered and very rare. It has a unique relationship with one of our local plants, Pararistolochia Praevenosa vine (common name the birdwing butterfly plant) that the butterfly needs as a food source, but unfortunately there is another vine very similar, Dutchman's pipe, which attracts the butterfly and actually kills it.
Invasive species generally can be a real issue for either directly affecting wildlife or inhibiting the growth of natives by taking over bush land. So part of our role is to really encourage people to go native and to get involved in reducing the impacts of invasive species, generally by weeding them out and replacing them with natives.