About the Nursery
Originally the Australian Plants Society supplied the site with plants for bush regeneration and for use in our demonstration native gardens around the visitors centre. The APS was also the first group to establish a Nursery on site which they now share with our own Volunteer Nursery Team. The Hunter Wetlands Centre nursery was developed by former site manager Boyd Carney in 2009 as a lasting legacy towards ongoing supply of plants associated with our projects through being able to perform our own seed collection and propagation work. This legacy will also help the centre survive financially through supplying plants commercially on a fee for service basis. Our nursery now boasts the capacity to produce over 100,000 plants per year specialising in locally endemic species of native plants, Hunter Region natives, and wetland plants. Our range includes shrubs, ground covers, edges and grasses, climbers, riparian and aquaitc plants, understory, trees, and rainforest plants. We are happy to work on projects that require special requirements as well - on a case by case basis.
Former Site Manager, Boyd Carney, commenced nursery operations at HWCA in 2009. The project was commenced to facilitate propagation of plants from seed or cuttings from plants re established on site in previous years. Its initial aims included capacity building objectives as well as financial savings to ensure maximum value was gained from Grant funds. Before he joined NPWS he proposed expanding the nursery and seeking commercial contracts. That expansion was undertaken and initially increased capacity to 50,000 plants.
In late 2010 volunteer, Ken Bayliss, took on the role of Nursery Manager and capacity has been expanded further.
Nursery plant capacity has increased from 50,000 plants per year to more than 100,000 plants per year with nursery personnel attending 4 days per week instead of 1 day per week. Also we have updated the nursery Standard Operating Procedure Documents (SOP’s) and introduced a comprehensive WHS Policy.
Two new hot house buildings have been erected at the nursery this now allows us to have approx 200 plant trays under propagation at any one time.
A purchase of plant species from Burrinbah nursery allowed us to diversify our plant species.
The collection of plant species seed from the site is now a very important function of the nursery activities as is collection of plant cuttings for those species that are difficult to propagate from seed
A comprehensive environmental management system (EMS) was developed in 2012 with funding from HCRCMA.
It was implemented in 2013 to protect Ironbark Creek from nutrient and sediment contamination as a result of the expanded capacity for the nursery area a weed control programme has been established along with the management of water run off and sediment control.
The principals established in the EMS system will be applied across the whole site. They include a quarterly audit of the systems effectiveness and constant monitoring of water quality across the site.
This will ensure the nursery is sustainable and assist achieving our goal of creating an income stream for the organisation as well as a great focus for volunteer involvement, capacity building and cost
savings by supplying the vast majority of plants required for our own revegetation efforts.
In the lifetime of this plan we aim to increase species under propagation to fulfil our own requirements and enable the establishment of a commercially viable nursery.
Plants are available now to both the general public (at reception at the HWC) as well as for commercial customers.
To date we have sold 26,000 plants to commercial customers.
Environmental Management System
The Hunter Wetlands has a nursery specific Environmental Management System (EMS) which defines the practices and process we implement to manage the potential impacts of our work activities on the environment. This system was established via our involvement with WetlandCare Australia in 2012. The person responsible for the maintenance of the EMS is the Hunter Wetlands Centre Site Manager who gets help from many volunteers including our volunteer nursery manager. They perform key tasks including audits, and maintenance.