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Byron Shire
April 15, 2024

Celebrating regeneration on March 4

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The Regeneration has a strong focus on kids. Photo supplied.

Planting trees to restore ecosystems is one of the most positive stories of our time, and perhaps the best antidote to climate despair. 

A free community festival called Regeneration plans to celebrate that story on Saturday March 4, at the Mullumbimby Community Gardens. 

Get your hands dirty

The Regeneration day will offer a mix of fun, information and education with a good dose of delicious food, music and dance. Kids will get their hands dirty making seed-bombs and taking bush tucker cooking classes with a local Indigenous chef.  

This community festival is for people of all ages and abilities. The festival will provide talks from local leaders in bush regen, hands-on workshops doing seed propagation, and a session on how to make your native garden more climate ready.

Brunswick Valley Landcare President, Pete Ryan, sees the festival as part of the region’s recovery, after the disappointments of fire, flood, and pandemic. 

Tony Parkes says they are delighted kids will be involved on March 4. ‘If their interest in rainforest is sparked, they also become more interested in its conservation.’ Photo supplied.

One of those speaking on the day is Tony Parkes, the investment banker turned rainforest rescuer who co-founded the Big Scrub landcare group thirty years ago. ‘There’s good evidence that people enjoy more well-being if they’re connected to the environment,’ says Parkes. 

‘We’re delighted kids will be involved on March 4, because if their interest in rainforest is sparked, they also become more interested in its conservation.’ 

The free festival is funded by a NSW government community grant, with partners including Big Scrub Conservancy, Brunswick Valley Landcare, Envite, Mullum SEED, Brookfarm and REDinc, which provides supports to people with disabilities.

One of the festival highlights will be a chance to sing with REDinc’s Signing and Singing Choir, who will give an unmissable performance in the main tent. 

‘Engagement in community-based activities that adds broader value to not only the local community but also to our global community are invaluable’ says REDinc CEO Marie Gale.  

‘REDinc supports the Regeneration day and we know that many of the people we support are looking forward to participating in the day.’

Learn from Country

Another highlight will be a special Indigenous panel, called ‘Learning from Country’ featuring people from across the Bunjalung Nation, including Aunty Delta Kay from Explore Byron Bay.   

‘For Bunjalung people, Country is our first teacher,’ Delta Kay told The Echo. 

‘We invite children, families and community to come and listen to the Bunjalung voices.’ 

The festival follows a series of community seed propagation workshops that took place across Byron Shire schools in 2022, funded by the same NSW government grant. 

Survey results show the schools loved them and want more in 2023. The students who participated will be celebrated by globally respected documentary-maker Damon Gameau on 4 March, before taking part in a ceremonial tree-planting with Aunty Delta Kay. 

Those school workshops were delivered by Mark Dunphy of Firewheel Rainforest Nursery, who has seeded regeneration of the region for three decades. 

Rainforest regen

In what will be a popular session, Mark is teaming up with colleagues from the local regeneration group Reforest Now, to deliver free workshops for the public on March 4. Reforest Now has a rapidly expanding nursery next door to the Mullum Community Garden, which is all part of the Mullum SEED Eco Hub, at 156 Stuart Street in Mullumbimby. 

Dr Ray Moynihan is a journalist and academic who, with partners, is organising Regeneration. To volunteer or grab a free ticket, go to  regeneration.mullumseed.org.au.

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