STUDENTS and members of the Mount Gambier community have started planting native vegetation on a section of the Mount Gambier rail trail in a bid to beautify the popular walking strip.
The Rail Trail Garden Proposal is a five-year project aimed at landscaping the section of the trail from Bertha Street to White Avenue with low maintenance native garden beds.
Last year, Nature Glenelg Trust, the Limestone Coast Rail Trail committee, Mount Gambier High School, St Martins Lutheran College, Tenison Woods College and Mount Gambier City Council met at various times and agreed to support the project.
Limestone Coast Rail Trail committee member Sharon Holmes said Nature Glenelg Trust helped kick-start the project before planting started on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Nature Glenelg Trust developed interest with its in-kind contribution, providing significant time and expertise for the project planning and investigation,” she said.
“The intent is to provide opportunities for local schools, businesses and community groups to adopt a particular section of the rail trail, with overall project coordination conducted by Nature Glenelg Trust, including planning, plant sourcing, planting and scheduling of maintenance.”
Tenison Woods College students were the first to plant indigenous vegetation at the site yesterday.
The school’s sustainability coordinator Tom Linnell said the goal was to have the children play a key role in enhancing the space.
“Most of the students walk to school along this trail, so for them to be involved in changing it for the better is a real win,” he said.
“We already have such a beautiful central rail lands space and we saw an opportunity to make a difference here a little bit further down.”
The land is owned by the State Government and managed by the Planning, Transport and Infrastructure Department which produced some hurdles for the group.
However, Mr Linnell praised Bryan Haywood from Nature Glenelg Trust for playing the key role in getting the project over the line.
“It was a bit of a process and Bryan did a great job to get it happening,” he said.
“It is just great for our students who are involved in a number of sustainability projects and we are always looking at ways to connect our students with learning about sustainability within the community.”
With the project in its infancy, Mr Linnell encouraged other schools to get on board over the next five years.