Re-greening our Country 

By Adrian Polhill, Vice President, Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society

A series of wonderful re-greening events were held during August, September and October this year (2023) at ‘Moorlands’, near Gunning in South Western NSW.  This amazing, biodynamic farm is owned and managed by Vince Heffernan, a 6th generation sheep grazier and noted expert on new forms of regenerative land management.

150 volunteers donated their time and energy in planting more than 5,000 native trees and shrubs.  Their valuable contributions added to the ecological transformation which Vince commenced 25 years ago. As they grow, these plantings will add to the >60,000 native trees and shrubs planted previously, and continue to expand the open, grassy woodland being created and provide habitat for many species of native animals and birds including the endangered Superb Parrot.

Greening Australia funded the majority of the planting as part of the Saving Our Species (Superb Parrot project). Rotary ‘‘Adopt A Tree’’ program funded the remainder of the plants. 


Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers, families and friends for their support, tree-planting efforts and new friendships. It was incredibly satisfying to meet like-minded people from Victoria, ACT and NSW from organisations such as, and not limited to: Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society, Victorian Mobile Landcare, Blazeaid, Southern Highlands Landcare and other Landcare groups, Australian Plant Society, Greening Australia, Menai Wildflower Group, Leichardt Bicycle Group, Rotarians from Corrimal, Bathurst and other Rotary and Rotaract clubs, Senator David Pocock and friends, students from ANU, UOW and Canberra Uni, and valued customers and friends of ‘Moorlands Biodynamic Lamb’. 

Special thanks to Vince and his partner Colette who have locked up another +40 hectares of the farm (for 5 years) to repair and rejuvenate the landscape. They spent much time in planning and preparing and implementing this project, while at the same time continuing to manage their biodynamic lamb business. Now, they have to care for (water) the plants particularly in the first 2 years, if the weather (rainfall) is not favourable.  They warmly welcomed each volunteer and provided a camping area and facilities.  They took time to explain and show their regenerative agriculture processes and successful efforts to provide habitat for various endangered species. Nikki Tawes from Greening Australia deserves a special mention as she devoted many weekends working with Vince and Colette planning, organising plants and equipment and volunteers to ensure the success of this project. It is expected another 5,000 tree planting project will take place at Moorlands in the spring of 2024, depending on the impact of the predicted El Nino. 

Towards the end of the planting project members of Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society and friends joined Vince on the 2nd in a series of bird counts at Moorlands. They recorded 107 birds (32 species) including the recently-arrived summer migrants: Rufous Whistlers, Western Gerygones and a Shining Bronze Cuckoo. These surveys, to monitor one aspect of the success of regeneration on farms, are co-ordinated by the ACT and Yass team of BirdLife Australia’s “Birds on Farms’’ program in partnership with rural landholders. 

Earlier this year, Vince and PhD candidate Mac Cobden, identified some Superb Parrot nestlings at Moorlands. A wonderful positive outcome for this iconic species and other small birds as a result of years of work in regenerating the landscape. 


Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society President, Kim Wagstaff, said “so many benefits come from this work: climate change mitigation; habitat rehabilitation for species like the superb parrot; and soil carbon and moisture improvement to name just a few”. 

All images supplied by Adrian Polhill, Vice President, Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society