The vision of the Queensland Folk Federation for its Woodford festival site is more than the dream of security in owning its own home: it is a dedication to future generations. The QFF believes that the future of our community and environment are intertwined and that our commitment to caring for the land is integral to the organisation’s values. The Woodford festival site is in the process of becoming a cultural parkland dedicated to the arts, humanities and folk lore.
When the QFF purchased a permanent home for the Woodford Folk Festival in 1994, it was an enormous relief and a great responsibility. Festival organisers knew that the 240 acre cleared and degraded rural property, was going to take a lot of work to transform it to a festival site.
In 1997 the QFF launched the first May weekend working-bee where a band of committed volunteers gave their time and toil for the planting of trees in the first step towards restoration and regeneration of the property. Established as an annual event the Tree-Planting Weekend became a much loved opportunity for the organising group and friends to play with the soil and do their bit for the place they were growing to love.
Since its beginning, the Tree-Planting Weekends have seen over 100,000 trees put into the ground, it has also seen an enormous and successful effort in nurturing existing environments, encouraging species diversity and weed management and eradication. Trees planted over ten years ago tower overhead casting shade, the wildlife has burgeoned and plants blossomed so that there are new seedlings sprouting of their own accord under the canopy. The results of all this work have been rewarding.
The Tree-Planting Weekends grew, with people bringing friends and families to share in the joyful activity of planting trees and being in the outdoors. They became more than a working bee with the introduction of educational talks and activities, with some fantastic cultural events thrown in for unwinding at the end of the day. Now the programme of talks, presentations and performances vies with the daily planting and weeding activities, for time in a busy weekend schedule.
The Planting is a natural development of the Tree-Planting Weekend into an event fostering open learning and discussion of environmental issues; with explorations of subjects ranging from raw foods to invertebrates, the local pond to climate change. Primarily though, the event remains dedicated to a nurturing of the site to reach its natural potential as a forested parkland for the enjoyment of present and future generations.