Forest Woodfordia evolved from the planting project encompassing various specialised planting and land rehabilitation projects. While some passionate folk still focus on planting, there are several projects under the Forest Woodfordia umbrella which include orchids, bamboo, cycads, butterflies, soil regeneration, composting, fungi, biochar as well as the TreeHugger weekends. The grand vision of Forest Woodfordia is to learn about and increase Woodfordia’s biodiversity, which may lead to teams focusing on creating habitat for and studying particular species of animals as well.
For a number of years, Woodfordia’s festivals have seen bamboo structures rise and fall. Each year the bamboo is harvested and delivered to Woodfordia. The goal of this project is to grow all of Woodfordia’s bamboo and preserve it onsite for reuse and the building of additional structures. This initiative involves collaborating with experts (scientists and artists) and volunteers, experimenting together. Two bamboo smokers have been installed on the site which produce a liquid smoke preservative with the by-product being biochar. For more information about biochar, go here.
The butterfly and other invertebrates project is focused on enhancing onsite habitat for all invertebrates as well as educating visitors about their important role in improving environmental health. In order to attract butterflies, specific food plants must be planted as hosts for caterpillars. By providing a habitat for butterflies, we provide a habitat for other wildlife. The Butterfly Walk and Butterfly Wetland have been created to attract and sustain our butterfly population.
Garbology began collecting compost from our food stalls in 2003. Initially, the food waste was taken off-site to nearby industrial facilities before our own composting facility was built. Our compost includes not only stallholder food waste, but patron waste and crockery from the Festival Village including cups, bowls and plates. Our ‘compost lounge’ sets a precedent in the region as the design is per the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. It involves an open-window system with a leachate dam draining into an on-site water treatment system. Since the compositing system was installed, we sent more material (104t) to compost than to landfill (81t) during the 2016/2017 festival. We also removed over 50 landfill skips from the Festival Village.
Cycads, Ferns & Palms
Since before the dawn of dinosaurs, cycads great across Australia in huge abundance. In the early days of cattle production, all cycads were removed by law as the red seeds and fronds were poisonous to stock. There were only four known cycads remaining at Woodfordia. This project aims to restore our ancient understory of cycads, ferns and palms to Woodfordia. Since 2009, over 700 cycads, ferns and palms have been planted.
The Fungi Project
Fungi create and restore soils, feed plants, animals and support entire ecosystems. Fungi restore polluted sites, can break down plastics and other toxins and be used to grow strong and resilient biomaterials into any shape or form replacing the need for plastics and Styrofoam. This project creates habitats for fungi, restores soils and supports existing plants. We have a growing database of Woodfordia fungi as well as educational workshops, talks and wanders at each festival promoting the fungi. For more information about soil restoration, go here.
The Orchid Project
There are an estimated 25-30,000 species of orchids and Australia has 1700 of them! Regrettably, 25% of orchids have become extinct in Australia. Prior to 1994, Woodfordia was a dairy farm and its orchid numbers and diversity suffered. Through the Orchid Project, we propagate and care for orchids at Woodfordia’s nursery. Over 200 orchids of 20 different types have been planted since 2010. The goal of this project is to plant as many orchids as possible.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Plants
The sisterhood helps grow, groom and transport pot plants from the nursery to beautify Woodfordia’s festivals with Australian native plants. Some plants can be adopted by festival patrons and returned home when ready to adorn stages and other spots needing love. By showcasing a diverse range of plants around the festival and letting people care for them, it gives us all the opportunity to appreciate their beauty and service. About 200 seedlings have been adopted by patrons.
For more information about these projects, contact TreeHuggers at email@example.com.