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The Wonderful World of Trees event - a huge success

posted 21 May 2018, 15:42 by Peter Harney
Over the weekend of May 19 & 20 the Archer Mountain Earth Community offered hospitality to 19 members of the extended community gathered around Dr Kevin McDonnell who offered an exciting and informative journey through the life of trees.  The focus was local trees that are thriving on the earth of the Archer and those that have created a subtropical rainforest on Neurum Creek.   Some Strangler figs in this forest are possibly 500 years old.  The loggers who did not like the oils that exuded from their trunk spared them.  Some trees have a very effective defence system even against the human species.

We began with an exploration of the ancient Gondwanaland that was covered in lush rainforests and conifers which gradually changed into subtropical forests as the continents began to form, as Gondwanaland broke apart over millennia.  The continents of Africa and Australia continue to move gradually north by a few centimetres each year.  The conifers at the Archer are, Cook Pine, Kauri Pine, Hoop Pine, Bunya Pine and one foreigner from Brazil, Paranha Pine.

The eucalyptus tree, which is the dominant species in the area, sends out a distinctive scent that heralded the land of Australia for those who came by sailing ship to these shores.  The eucalypts have up to 700 species and they make up most of the tree community of the Stanley Valley.  Trees are complex living systems that release into the atmosphere 10 times the volume of water than an equivalent area of ocean.  Trees sequester carbon dioxide and provide the human species with clean oxygen necessary for life.  Eucalypts exude a distinctive oil that they release into the air giving large expanses of eucalyptus a covering of a distinctive blue haze.  This has resulted in the name ‘The Blue Mountains’ for the Great Divide west of Sydney.

A walk in the subtropical rainforest led by Phil Boyle introduce the group to the Strangler Fig whose fruit contains a flower within it, which is fertilized by minute wasps.  Phil cut a fallen piece of fruit and there were the flowers and wasps inside.  What a wonderful example of the ingenious ways of nature for regeneration. The forest path was lined by stinging trees, native elm, black bean, white booyong, red kamala, laurel trees and soaring white oaks with their elegant buttresses giving them stability and much needed carbon dioxide and water.  The fallen giant fig ended the journey into this ancient forest.   It had become a ‘nurse log’ now regenerating new species and an abundant diversity of life through the flooding in of winter sunshine.

The final session of the afternoon was led by Michelle Coates who showed how to make earth friendly domestic cleaning agents and how to create essential oil balms for healing.  The tree’s very essence is to give life and to give its life to the full.

After a fireside chat that gathered the thread of learnings from the day, the stage was set for Sunday morning where the great forests of the planet were to be introduced. 40% of the world’s oxygen is produced by rainforest and the tropical forests provide $108 billion a year to healing and health care. Sadly Australia has lost 25% of its rainforests, 45% of open forest, 32% woodland forest and 30% of Mallee forest in 200 years.  Those gathered resolved to take action with others to ensure the future regeneration and flourishing of trees.  They have planned for AELA (Australia Earth Law Alliance) representatives to speak to them in the near future in order to form alliances with like-minded groups. 

The two days were celebrated through the planting of a Norfolk Island Pine, one of the Gondwanaland conifers that was not on Archer land. 

In an article by John Feehan from the University College, Dublin, the group stopped and pondered this statement:
…from a mustard seed of nothingness that contained all the possibility within itself, at the beginning of all things 14.7 billion years ago…This is the Universe Story familiar in outline now to most of us, and how thrilled to bits Nicholas of Cusa would have been had he been alive today instead of in the 15th Century, when his imagination conjured with images of all that is, all that (as we would say) evolution has achieved, as not just God’s revelation of God: but as the very unfolding of Godself….each aspect of creation in its own way is a living ex-plication of an aspect of divinity. 

PH (21/05/2018)
     

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