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Young water professionals help grow habitat for endangered species

On Melbourne’s coldest June day since 1985, 36 volunteers from across the water industry came together at Cherry Lake in Altona to take part in the Australian Water Association Victorian Young Water Professionals’ annual planting day.

Their aim? To expand the habitat of the endangered Altona skipper butterfly. This species is unique to Altona and breeds, feeds, lives and dies exclusively on one species of shrub: gahnia filum, or the chaffy saw-sedge.

The sun came out, clearing the thick fog as Melbourne Water’s Waterways and Land Officer Gerard Morel kicked things off with a brief introduction, pointing to established plantings as evidence of the valuable contribution volunteers in past years have made.

The volunteers planted 550 shrubs.

The enthusiastic group of water professionals, friends and family completed the planting, mulching and guarding of 550 shrubs in cracking time, before enjoying a delicious barbecue together and taking a moment to reflect on their great work.

The day was only possible thanks to the continued support of Melbourne Water’s Community Grants program and the ever-passionate Morel.

A big thanks must also go to the organisers of the day and the wonderful volunteers who gave their Sunday to a great community activity.

Alex Chesterfield is a project engineer at Melbourne Water and a member of the Victorian Young Water Professionals Committee.