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TSRA delivers sustainable garden workshops for Prince of Wales Island residents

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) Environmental Management team recently visited Prince of Wales Island (POW) to deliver a workshop on sustainable backyard gardening techniques for local residents.

The gardening workshops were presented by the TSRA Environmental Management, Sustainable Horticulture Officer, Mr George Saveka and Project Support Officer, Ilana Foster for more than twenty residents and gardening enthusiasts at Muralag and Country Woman’s Beach, on Saturday 9 February 2019.

A half-day event, the workshop was kicked off with an introduction by the Environmental Management team, plus a group meet-and-greet before George and Ilana paid visits to the gardens of the local residents for one-on-one consultation and garden tours.

The TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said the that Prince of Wales Island communities visited are unique as there are no established facilities for electricity, water, waste and sewerage.

“In living off the grid, these residents have shown how they can adapt to being self-sufficient through sustainable horticultural practices already embedded within the community,” Mr Stephen said.

“The problems common to the majority of the gardeners on Prince of Wales Island is access to water, the quality of the soil, rocky ground and pests or bugs, which all affect the success of building and maintaining healthy backyard gardens.

“The locations of residents gardens are a further issue to contend with as they are often situated on the side or at the base of hills and on beach frontages.

“These areas are all susceptible to the elements, of wind and salt water, which can be very harsh in our region.”

The TSRA Environmental Management team of George and Ilana, take all of these points into consideration and provide the residents with many valuable tips for the overall benefit of their garden.

The workshop tips focus on improving plant health and growth by feeding the soil, overcoming rocky soil by creating raised garden beds, and reducing water usage by introducing wicker bed gardening techniques.

Through these workshops and group discussions, plus offers of ongoing support, the Prince of Wales Island residents are eagerly looking forward to creating successful and sustainable backyard gardens that will provide healthy homegrown produce for their community.

Pictured: George talking with Damian about making Wicker Beds.

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