Jim McClusky has been working at Avalon Airport since 1979. There was virtually no such thing as high vis back then, “cotton overalls and that was it!” It was Government Aircraft Factories and farmland.
Jim is now Property and Environmental Manager of a busy domestic airport. High vis is the new black. Things have changed a lot over thirty-five-or-so years.
Jim knows the lay of the land better than most. From Kirks Point to Avalon Beach to Serendip and the You Yangs he has travelled along and worked on most of the area in and around the airport.
And he’s been a part of the very important relationship between Avalon and Landcare for around nineteen years. The relationship is one of growth.
Since 2000 this group of volunteers and staff have planted and maintained around 200,000 trees in and around the airport. Some clusters are as small as 20,000, one is as large as 100,000. There’s a mix of old and young, all native.
It was a tough beginning; the group had to deal with earth that had been affected by salt.
But now the once barren plains of Avalon are softer on the eye thanks to the green belts planted throughout. The trees protect the ground from erosion, offer a buffer from winds and stop salt encroachment. And if there’s ever need to cut down any trees, Avalon works to Landcare’s ratio of one to three. That is, for any tree that has to go, they plant three.
The main forest is a McCubbin sans characters; still and serene. The neatness of the younger areas are the only giveaway that it is a plantation, but the more established trees are dropping seeds and saplings are starting to fill the gaps.
Jim looks forward to the next planned plantations as this quietly ever changing region changes some more.