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Understanding the land

For over thirty years, Barung Landcare has connected people through nature education and engagement programs and provided bush regeneration services. This month, Angela met with Cam Burton to learn more about the new Parklands Drive Community Native Plant Nursery and how it supports the community’s biodiversity and natural resources. 

By Angela Reedman-Polinksi

Cam Burton came to work with Barung Landcare six years ago, following a long career in horticulture. As the Maleny Community Native Plant Nursery and Education Manager, he is a familiar face to many locals and offers extensive knowledge of Sunshine Coast native plants. 

“My role at Barung is to understand the land's needs and supply locally sourced native plants through our native nursery. I care for plants and work with landholders daily, each offering unique learning opportunities,” explains Cam.

“Our small nursery here on Parklands Drive offers a relaxed, informative environment to receive planting advice and plant identification services to support your wildlife gardening. The goal is to showcase it as an example for wildlife gardening here on the Range.

“The nursery showcases how choosing native plants over exotic species can help reduce the risk of weeds that degrade our local habitat.” 

“We specialise in tube stock plants and offer a wide selection, and orders can be placed with us in advance for larger revegetation projects.” 

We meet on a hot afternoon to discuss the new nursery. It’s cool and comfortable inside the main timber building, and the air flows freely. Shady pockets sit nestled amongst the high-set areas to relax and observe the wildlife. From the nursery gardens, you can see across the valley for miles over the Maleny township and hear the birds calling out from the trees. 

“The timber for the new nursery building came from Ian McMaster, a former Barung President and current committee member. It was a fallen grey gum tree milled into weatherboards for the nursery building,” shares Cam.

“We have worked hard to create the whole site. Through the state government initiative, Skilling Queenslanders for Work program, we deliver Workskills Traineeships. The trainees' team and our volunteers have contributed to bringing our nursery goal to fruition through landscaping, building and propagating plants.” 

The traineeship program provides an opportunity for ten participants to complete a program at Barung Landcare over six months. Trainees assist with various conservation and land management projects and gain valuable practical and life skills.

“This site showcases the different garden sections that can be developed with various shrubs and trees of various heights and strengths, providing design inspiration for gardeners,” Cam continues.

“We have built multiple interconnected areas here with native ground covers and grasses to help provide a safe sanctuary for local birds, reptiles, insects and frogs. The gardens contain native fruit trees to attract insects and birds and to provide many options for safe breeding spaces.

“The area is carefully planned with seating areas for nature lovers to rest, contemplate and observe, with communal seating spaces for bringing people together.

“I like that we are working to create a better future for the Sunshine Coast region, its locals, visitors and businesses.” 

Part of Barung’s future goals are to extend invitations to businesses for corporate education days and to primary and senior schools for outdoor classroom visits. 

“We want to enable active conservation and encourage sustainable living,” says Cam. 

“Water efficiency is a crucial aspect of our garden's resource management. We have constructed our own infrastructure to pump and manage the water supply.

“We also have our Barung Frequent Planter program for people who regularly do large-scale revegetation activities or add to a home garden for wildlife. Members gain access to wholesale prices for unlimited plants purchased from the Barung Native Nursery for the duration of their membership.” 

“One of my favourite parts of my role is collecting rainforest seeds. We have scheduled seed collection days and activities where everyone from the community is welcome - the dates are listed on our website.” 

“It’s an opportunity to get involved by collecting fallen fruits or seeds from the forest floor and the crowns of felled trees and storing them for future use. You learn the whole life cycle of a plant, how to keep seeds viable and when to plant to seed trays for your home garden.

“We also have the Southern Pink Underwing Moth program as part of a rainforest resilience and threatened species project. The program focuses on extending and improving habitat for the endangered Southern Pink Underwing Moth. 

“This species is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, invasive species, fragmentation and fire, so we work with private landholders to diversify rainforest seed collections and plantings, extend habitat ranges and build support for the species.”

You can learn more about this program, upcoming events, seed collection days and how to get involved on the Barung website. 

“Whether you have a balcony, a home garden or a large property, you can help your local environment, and we can help you learn how,” Cam adds. 

“Our nursery is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday from 9 am – 3 pm, and we want locals, visitors and businesses to know that we are here to offer you advice and plant recommendations and to help you build your local native garden to its best.” 

You can contact Barung Landcare Community Nursery via phone on 0429 943 152, via email at or visit their website at 



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