People power helps save the Nielsen Park She-oak

You may not be familiar with the Nielsen Park She-oak (Allocasuarina portuensis) but the Nielsen Park bush regeneration group certainly is. The dedicated team of passionate volunteers, along with staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), has worked tirelessly to protect this distinctive native shrub for almost two decades

Nielsen Park she-oak (Allocasuarina portuensis)

Erica Mahon, Species Project Coordinator, Office of Environment and Heritage, acknowledges the sterling team effort.

“This rare and locally loved plant was on the brink of extinction with only a handful of original plants left but people power has returned it to a population of around 120 plants – a brilliant result,” Ms Mahon said.

“The Nielsen Park She-oak is such a unique plant – it’s only found in Nielsen Park in Sydney Harbour National Park,” she adds.

This achievement bloomed from a successful partnership between NPWS, the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and the volunteers. The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan propagated plants from seed and cuttings, and maintained the original Nielsen Park She-oak genetic stock within the nursery for 17 years - no mean feat.

The indefatigable Nielsen Park bush regeneration group was recognised for their invaluable contribution during National Volunteer Week (8-14 May). Particular thanks also went to NPWS Senior Field Officer Paul Ibbetson, who retired in May, but led efforts to save this endangered plant for over 17 years.

OEH, NPWS and the local volunteer group will continue their great work under the NSW Government’s Saving our Species (SoS) program. The SoS program will help the Nielsen Park She-oak survive into the future, through funding of on-ground work and by supporting communities to be involved in conservation.

Are you interested in volunteering? Find out more about Nielsen Park bush regeneration. The group welcomes new volunteers.

Nielsen Park Bush Regeneration Group

Photo: Nielsen Park Bush Regeneration Group / Credit: Quentin Jones