The planting at Headland Park is part of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s 'Saving Our Species' (SOS) program, who engaged ecological restoration specialist, Dr. Ashlea Zivanovic (Heathlands Nursery) to collect seed, propagate and plant out the species with the help of school students from Balgowlah Heights Public School, and volunteers from Bushlink. Headland Park comprises of three precincts – Chowder Bay / Gooree, Georges Heights, and Middle Head / Gubbuh Gubbuh.
About the Sunshine Wattle
The Sunshine Wattle is an endangered species, protected under both the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Commonwealth Environmental Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act. Sunshine Wattles have a limited geographical distribution, from La Perouse to Curl Curl and inland as far as North Sydney. Sunshine Wattles occur naturally at Headland Park and North Head Sanctuary, Manly and in National Parks and Council bushland reserves around Sydney Harbour and the Eastern Suburbs.
Unfortunately, its population has dwindled due to the encroachment of urban development, feral rabbits, and human disturbances. This ongoing loss of habitat and declining population has made the Sunshine Wattle's survival a pressing concern.
The propagation of Sunshine Wattles was carried out under "Operation Wattle”, an environmental education program that empowers primary school students to take an active role in saving their local wattle species from extinction. This inspiring program has been running for four years at Balgowlah Heights Public School (BHPS). Operation Wattle is aligned with the “Living World” strand of the Stage 2 science curriculum.
During the program, students grow Sunshine Wattles from seed and then nurture the seedlings on their classroom windowsill while they observe the germination process. The seedlings are then potted up into tubestock and transferred across to the school nursery for 12 weeks to develop rigorous root systems. Students then participate in a school excursion to plant their Sunshine Wattles back out into Sydney Harbour National Park, helping secure the species from extinction.
In 2022, students from BHPS cultivated Sunshine Wattles from seeds that were collected under licence from Sydney Harbour National Park at Middle Head / Gubbuh Gubbuh. The students subsequently planted approximately 100 Sunshine Wattle tubestock back into the National Park at Middle Head.
A new home in Mosman
As the students successfully grew more than 500 surplus Sunshine Wattle tubestock, the Harbour Trust agreed to Dr. Zivanovic planting the surplus around Georges Heights. Over the next month, Bushlink volunteers will be working with Dr. Zivanovic to plant the species near bush tracks and revegetated areas. We look forward to seeing these plants flourish in their new home!
Plan your trip to Headland Park here.