Forest Woodfordia evolved from the planting project encompassing various specialised planting and land rehabilitation projects. While some passionate folk still focus on planting, there are several projects under the Forest Woodfordia umbrella which include orchids, bamboo, cycads, butterflies, soil regeneration, composting, fungi, biochar as well as the TreeHugger weekends. The grand vision of Forest Woodfordia is to learn about and increase Woodfordia’s biodiversity, which may lead to teams focusing on creating habitat for and studying particular species of animals as well.

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Bamboo
For a number of years, Woodfordia’s festivals have seen bamboo structures rise and fall. Each year the bamboo is harvested and delivered to Woodfordia. The goal of this project is to grow all of Woodfordia’s bamboo and preserve it onsite for reuse and the building of additional structures. This initiative involves collaborating with experts (scientists and artists) and volunteers, experimenting together. Two bamboo smokers have been installed on the site which produce a liquid smoke preservative with the by-product being biochar.

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Biochar Initiative
As a partnership between Woodfordia, Cave Urban—a Sydney bamboo design collective—and the International Bamboo Foundation, bamboo preservation and biochar initiatives took the organisation into a new era of sustainable innovation. Only a year since the installation of Australia’s first bamboo preservation chamber, a second chamber was installed at the Eastern Bloc prior to the 2017/2018 Woodford Folk Festival to process and preserve bamboo for the site’s many structures.  Environmental scientist Arief Rabik, director of the Indonesian-based International Bamboo Foundation, developed this process to preserve bamboo for commercial use. By injecting hot smoke at approximately 120 degrees into a pressurised smoker containing water-soaked bamboo, it impregnates the bamboo with tar compounds which act as a pesticide and fungicide. A by-product of the bamboo treatment is biochar which is a soil ameliorant and carbon sink capable of boosting soil productivity.

Also installed on site in recent months is our very own biochar pyrolysis machine used to heat, but not burn bio material. Biochar has enormous soil treatment capabilities, by creating homes for microbes and increasing water storage capability which in effect drought proofs soil. Most importantly, biochar sequesters carbons back into the soil and in the longer term, the gases released by the burning process can be used to generate electricity.

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Butterflies
The butterfly and other invertebrates project is focused on enhancing onsite habitat for all invertebrates as well as educating visitors about their important role in improving environmental health. In order to attract butterflies, specific food plants must be planted as hosts for caterpillars. By providing a habitat for butterflies, we provide a habitat for other wildlife. The Butterfly Walk and Butterfly Wetland have been created to attract and sustain our butterfly population. To join the butterfly project, click here.

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Composting
Garbology began collecting compost from our food stalls in 2003. Initially, the food waste was taken off-site to nearby industrial facilities before our own composting facility was built. Our compost includes not only stallholder food waste, but patron waste and crockery from the Festival Village including cups, bowls and plates. Our ‘compost lounge’ sets a precedent in the region as the design is per the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. It involves an open-window system with a leachate dam draining into an on-site water treatment system. Since the compositing system was installed, we sent more material (104t) to compost than to landfill (81t) during the 2016/2017 festival. We also removed over 50 landfill skips from the Festival Village.

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Cycads, Ferns & Palms
Since before the dawn of dinosaurs, cycads great across Australia in huge abundance. In the early days of cattle production, all cycads were removed by law as the red seeds and fronds were poisonous to stock. There were only four known cycads remaining at Woodfordia. This project aims to restore our ancient under-story of cycads, ferns and palms to Woodfordia. Since 2009, over 700 cycads, ferns and palms have been planted.

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The Fungi Project
Fungi create and restore soils, feed plants, animals and support entire ecosystems. Fungi restore polluted sites, can break down plastics and other toxins and be used to grow strong and resilient biomaterials into any shape or form replacing the need for plastics and Styrofoam. This project creates habitats for fungi, restores soils and supports existing plants. We have a growing database of Woodfordia fungi as well as educational workshops, talks and wanders at each festival promoting the fungi.

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The Orchid Project
There are an estimated 25-30,000 species of orchids and Australia has 1,700 of them. Regrettably, 25% of orchids have become extinct in Australia. Prior to 1994, Woodfordia was a dairy farm and its orchid numbers and diversity suffered. Through the Orchid Project, we propagate and care for orchids at Woodfordia’s nursery. Over 200 orchids of 20 different types have been planted since 2010. The goal of this project is to plant as many orchids as possible.

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Soil Restoration
Led by Dr. Sandra Tuszynska, Woodfordia’s Environmental Projects Officer, the Soil Restoration Project does exactly that—seeks to regenerate exhausted soil across the Woodfordia site. Monthly workshops are held at TreeHuggers weekends along with various talks and demonstrations at The Planting and Woodford Folk Festival.

Soil erosion causes loss of topsoils and sedimentation. The goal is to restore areas affected by erosion and create topsoil through strategic mulching and native re-vegetation. Mulching is an important component of this process as it:

  • protects exposed and eroded soils
  • provides ground cover
  • reduces compaction
  • absorbs water
  • prevents evaporation
  • improves soil structure
  • provides nutrients to soil life forms
  • suppresses weeds and grasses

The project will ensure a healthy future for Woodfordia’s natural environment by restoring all erosion on site and planting native vegetation. Ongoing projects and workshops will be featured at The Planting.

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Plants
The sisterhood helps grow, groom and transport pot plants from the nursery to beautify Woodfordia’s festivals with Australian native plants. Some plants can be adopted by festival patrons and returned home when ready to adorn stages and other spots needing love. By showcasing a diverse range of plants around the festival and letting people care for them, it gives us all the opportunity to appreciate their beauty and service. About 200 seedlings have been adopted by patrons.

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TreeHuggers
Held monthly at Woodfordia on the last Sunday of each month, TreeHuggers is a community of like-minded volunteers caring for and fostering the natural environment across the site. Come share stories and song around the campfire, laugh till your sides hurt, indulge yourself in the infamous TreeHugger morning tea and fill your bucket full of Woodford love as we make Woodfordia (more) beautiful. Since 1994, over 106,273 trees have been planted at Woodfordia. During The Planting, many trees and other plants go in the ground and Treehuggers care for the plantings year round.

For more information about how to get involved with these projects, click here.