Tree Planting at ‘Alaya’

Nic Aunger is one of the new 7 members of Global Tree Initiative Australia.

She lives in Central Victoria and currently works as the Pastoral Care Manager in a private hospital in rural Victoria. Nic is also a qualified educator who worked as an outdoor leader for over 25 years.

Nic told us she has been a student of Buddhism for 25 years and has recently joined one of Ösel’s HAK retreats, the one that occurred in late 2023 in Bendigo.

“It was at this retreat that I was speaking with another participant who mentioned the Global Tree initiative. He encouraged me to submit my story and planting project on the land I am fortunate to have”, Nic shared.

The land Nic is talking about was traditionally owned by the Taungarong people. She says, “I acknowledge their elders past, present, and emerging, and recognize that this land has never been ceded. I am privileged to be the current custodian of the land I have called “Alaya”, and I have pledged to look after this land during my lifetime”. This means, according to Nic, registering the land as “Land for Wildlife” and supporting its regeneration through the planting of indigenous plants that provide homes and corridors for native animals, birds and insects.

Alaya is located in the Howqua Valley, North Eastern Victoria, Australia. It is a 30-acre (12-hectare) property on the Howqua River, classified as a heritage river.

The land was used for cattle grazing until it was bought by Nic in 1999. Since then, Nic applied for several grants through LandCare & Waterways to obtain native indigenous trees and shrubs.

Approximately 7000 trees and shrubs have been planted in Alaya over the past 24 years, with the support of many different people, including community-based programs from local schools.

Nic tells us that there is an active local Landcare Group who have also similarly restored their own properties, and helped each other with planting.

“The plantings that were first done have now developed into mature trees and shrubs, providing important habitat and wildlife corridors for native animals, including wombats, kangaroos, possums, platypus, and many different bird species”, Nic shares.

The last plantings were done in 2023, in a wetland part of the property where around 700 trees and shrubs were planted.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Nic. We hope to keep hearing from you.


Who:Nic Aunger
Why: I dedicate my tree planting work and pay my respects to the
traditional owners of the land, the First Nations Taungarong People.
Where:Howqua River, Victoria, Australia
When:Several dates over the past 24 years.
What kind of Trees:Native Australian species inclusively those indigenous to the area – Eucalypts, Acacias, shrubs and wetland species.
How many:

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