Strath Creek Biodiversity Project.

Well this post has been a long time coming and I am delighted to let you all know that Pana Chocolate 10,000 trees have now been planted in the Flowerdale district of Victoria.

Earlier this year, Pana Barbounis (Pana Chocolates) contacted Fifteen Trees asking us to plant trees on his behalf. Pana had a big aim – to plant 10,000 trees over the winter/spring of 2015! What! Fifteen Trees’ biggest planting job to date! Pana wanted the trees to go to the Flowerdale district of Victoria where 5 years earlier the devastating Black Saturday fires took a huge toll on lives, families, communities and the native flora and fauna.

The gang planting on National Tree Day.

One of our tree planting days –  National Tree Day.

To help get the project up and running, Fifteen Trees ran a successful Pozible Campaign (Trees for Flowerdale) and Pana ran a fabulous De-gustation fundraising event with raw food, organic wines and so much chocolate that we all went home with a goodie bag to share (or not!).

A night of raw food and chocolate - heaven.

A night of raw food and chocolate – heaven.

So, how exactly did Fifteen Trees get all these trees planted? Well if truth be known, it was all due to the remarkable Steve Joblin from the Strath Creek Landcare Group. Steve organised the propagation of the plants as early as February. He also contacting local landholders and Landcare to let them know that the trees were freely available. Pana’s trees became a critical part of the Strath Creek Biodiversity Project. This initiative of the Strath Creek Landcare Group, was administered by a Steering Committee involving members of the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Murrindindi Shire. The Project was partly-funded by the Federal Government ‘Clean Energy Future’ grant with contributions from corporate and Landcare volunteers, landholders and corporate partners.

Trees as far as the eye can see.

Pana’s Trees … as far as the eye can see.

The upshot was that during the winter and spring of 2014, the 10,000* trees were planted across 9 sites in the Flowerdale district.

Site 1: O’Grady Property at Strath Creek. This site had 2825 seedlings planted on it. Over the course of 3 days in late July, 1,975 seedlings were planted, including those trees planted by Pana and Fifteen Trees on National Tree Day.

Site 2: Three Sisters in Flowerdale. This site had 1,512 seedlings planted.

Site 3: Richardson Property in Flowerdale. This site had 2,777 seedlings planted.

Site 4: Baxter Property in Flowerdale.This site had 1,415 seedlings planted.

Site 5: King Property in Strath Creek. This site has had 300 seedlings added this season.

Site 6: Hubbard Paddock. Small site fenced off with 8 fabulous mature eucalyptus trees and 620 seedlings.

Site 7: Foster Property. A small strip of 40 trees we planted along an access road.

Site 8: O’Brien Property. 120 trees planted along a sunny bank at side access road.

Site 9: Granter Property at Strath Creek. At this site, 300 trees were planted on the hills.

I want to sincerely thank my Pozible supporters, together we raised $10,000 that went directly to support the buying of the trees from 2 small nurseries in the Flowerdale district. Thank you to those who bought trees for the campaign and to those who shared the link. I also want to thank those who came to the Pana’s De-gustion fundraising event. Over 120 people attended and together $6,000 was raised.

But mostly I want to thank Pana. His enthusiasm to plant 10,000 trees was infectious. He gathered people from all over, to share his vision, donate money and even getting some of them to come plant with us at Flowerdale on National Tree Day. The day was magical, the site was tucked between 2 valleys so we had beautiful warm sunshine to work in.

Pana, thank you for  visiting my stall at the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival and for taking a leadership role in climate action. Imagine if all companies had such vision and tenacity!

Slainte – Colleen


Pana planting trees with a little help from the kids.

Pana planting trees with a little help from the kids.

* The figures in bold add up to 9910. That leaves us 90 trees short. These trees have been held in reserve to be planted early 2015 at the Pana Family Picnic.