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SCU launches new environment campaign


13 February 2006
Three rare Wollemi Pines, an ancient species thought to be extinct, will be planted in the grounds of Southern Cross University's Lismore campus.

The first of the trees will be planted at 9am on Tuesday, February 14, by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Clark, and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences Professor Jenny Graham, to mark the launch of the University's Campus Catchment Campaign.

The campaign, a joint initiative of the University's Sustainable Environment Working Group, the Student Representative Council and the Environmental Science Social Club, is designed to raise awareness of environmental issues on the Lismore campus.

Director of Facilities Management Services Mr Mike Cooper said the University's environmental plan included stormwater management, regeneration and protection of rare and endangered species.

"The planting of the Wollemi Pine will be a historic and valuable part of the regeneration of the catchment area," Mr Cooper said.

President of the Environmental Science Social Club and SRC environment officer Nicholas Kostyn said the Campaign would encourage staff and students to take responsibility for environmental issues in their own backyard.

The Lismore campus is located at the head of the Monaltrie Creek catchment, which leads into the Wilsons River.

"We want to engage students in hands-on initiatives on campus. Our staff and students do lots of great projects in the regional and on a national level, but we wanted to something about our own backyard. We hope that this will be an ongoing campaign for generations," Mr Kostyn said.

He said the SRC had been given the opportunity of purchasing three Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) trees, an ancient species of conifer long thought extinct. The trees, which were discovered in 1994, have been made available commercially in the Lismore region through Precious Plants.

"The trees are not officially being released until April 1, but we have been lucky enough to get one of our trees and so it will be the first one in this region to be planted. This is a great way to launch our campaign."

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark said the Campus Catchment Campaign was a terrific initiative, highlighting the need to take responsibility for the environment.

"The Campaign is consistent with the Environmental Management Plan, adopted last year by SCU, which assesses environmental risk and establishes goals and environmental programs," Professor Clark said.

In addition to the tree planting, the campaign launch will include a three-hour environmental tour of the Lismore campus, highlighting its flora and fauna including koalas. The tour will be held on Thursday, February 16, from 11am followed by a barbecue.

Photo opportunity
Wollemi Pine tree planting, Tuesday, February 14, 9am, Widjabul Park, Kellas Street entrance.

Media information: Brigid Veale, SCU Communications Manager, 66593006 or 0439 680 748.