Local News

Karen’s growing for Grafton

A retiree has propagated over 2,000 native plants in the backyard of her Grafton rental property in an effort to revitalise Clarence Valley vegetation that was decimated by bushfires earlier this year.

The TAFE NSW student and former youth worker Karen Ford retired from a 30-year career due to her personal struggle with Multiple Sclerosis and now spends her days growing native seedlings into plants, which she donates to Landcare and local landowners.

After graduating from a Diploma of Conservation Land Management in 2019, Ms Ford enrolled in a Certificate II in Horticulture to continue to explore and build upon her knowledge of native flora and foster her new lifestyle.

Ms Ford said that she spends three hours per day tending to the plants which include varieties of Tallowwood and River Red Gum in addition to spending time collecting seeds to grow more.

“I was introduced to Landcare while I was studying at TAFE NSW and the work they do every day inspires me to want to do my bit for conservation by donating plans to revitalise the environment,” Ms Ford said.

“TAFE NSW has equipped me with the practical skills that I need to do what I love and make a difference in my retirement.”

Landcare Coordinator Debbie Repschlager said the work which Ms Ford does greatly assists in aiding the local environment in the long term rebuild of homes for native animals like koalas.

“It is the individual environmental passion, effort and hard work which Karen displays that underpins the Landcare movement. We thank her for all the work she does for the local environment.

“The acts of generosity Karen shows not only helps as future habitat for birds and animals but also the act of giving living plants to people so heavily traumatised by fire gives a glimmer hope to aid in their personal healing.”  

The Diploma of Conservation and Land Management can also be studied online, when and where it suits students, via TAFE Digital.