We have a rival? Well actually no! The Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park has very similar interests to ours. The Park is a regional botanic garden, education and conservation centre demonstrating southern tablelands species within the National Arboretum Canberra (Forest 20).
The arboretum is a great scenic place to visit in Canberra. Its current layout was created after a radiata pine plantation was burnt out in the 2003 bushfires. There was already some forests on the site that had been established under Walter Burley Griffin’s plans for an arboretum. The plan is to create 100 forests and 100 gardens focussing on threatened, rare, and symbolic trees from around the world.
The site has been planted since 2005, and includes ceremonial trees planted by visiting heads of government and ambassadors.
Forest 20 differs from the other single species forests. STEP is growing 16 species of eucalypt trees, selected to represent the major vegetation types of the region; and it includes shrubs, herbs and grasses to demonstrate the understorey plants commonly found in the region’s forests and woodlands.
The STEP forest is an educational resource where visitors and school students can easily identify the trees and plants typical of the Southern Tablelands. Of particular significance are the trees and plants of the critically endangered Yellow Box/Red Gum Grassy Woodland ecosystem.
Forest 20 is managed by the STEP community group in partnership with the National Arboretum Canberra and welcomes individuals, community groups, schools and others to join this exciting project. STEP have regular working bees and other activities.
If you are ever in Canberra with some spare time, perhaps you should pay them a visit.