Okay, you can call me a tree hugger along with a lot of others who appreciate trees. Who not only respect and enjoy the beauty, peace and comfort of sheltering shady trees, or who have been awestruck standing in the cathedrals of great forests, or who know that patients in a hospital who look out at greenery heal almost half as fast as those who look at a brick wall.
I’ve learned about the miraculous fungi found only on old growth trees that is curing worldwide ills and destroying toxic pollutants. That underground, beneath the old forest trees, there is a network of fine roots or membranes known as mycelium that stretches for miles and miles, linking trees together in a world wide web. But most importantly it is the old growth trees that are giving us clean air… absorbing the treacherous carbons and releasing life giving oxygen.
Which is why destroying the forests, clearing the landscape, planting miles of mono culture crops, is killing our planet. Trees are the saviours of life. They protect habitat, water and wildlife.
So what kind of an evil treacherous fool deliberately poisons a dozen fully grown, hand planted and nurtured Australian native rainforest trees on a private property which are holding a riverbank in place and bring pleasure and shade, food and shelter to endless native creatures? Not to mention the owners of the trees.
The trees are along the Manning River in Wingham, near to the treasured heritage Brush. So far two properties have been attacked, the biggest attack being on the property of Dr John Stockard, ironically the man who saved the Brush, and his neighbours Christine and Tom Donehue.
It’s a professional job, planned and carried out to what end one can only speculate. The trees do not block any neighbours’ view of the river, though some people in the area are known for clearing the riverbank, a dangerous thing to do in a flood prone landscape. Some people like trees and appreciate how important they are. Other people like garden gnomes, small plants encased in old car tyres and ornamental rubber swans made from tyres.
But to deliberately destroy valuable trees on private or public land is a serious crime.
Dr Stockard planted his trees over 30 years ago and when asked (inadequately) how he felt, he said,
“It’s difficult to describe. Shocked, wounded, very sad and very angry, on top of the sense of violation of having had such evil people trespassing on my property. It’s been professionally and skilfully executed using extremely powerful poison. What I can’t understand is how anyone could commit this criminal act against such beautiful trees holding together an eroding river bank. It was in everyone’s interests to have these trees there from the standpoint of erosion. It’s taken me over 35 years to turn a completely weed-infested bank back into a beautiful forested one. It was an example of how our riverbanks could and should look. I’ve weathered many floods, standing my little trees up again and freeing them from piles of rack, keeping them weeded. These trees help augment Wingham Brush just up the road, and many of my trees I planted are ones that are rare at the Brush so they not only add a bit more to the food supplies, they also provide a source of seed for the rarer of the 70 tree species there. My bank was alive with rainforest birds, possums (three kinds) and bats with water dragons scurrying around among the ferns and leaves; a magical place now defiled.
“It’s a heinous, cowardly, unwarranted and unpardonable crime not just against me, but against our town and against nature herself. These trees are irreplaceable; I don’t have another 35 years left to do it again.”
Said Mrs Donehue, ‘We are living in a beautiful and special part of the world, on the Manning River at Wingham. We were appalled at the apparent poisoning of the fig trees along the riverbank including one between our property and that of the Stockards. These special and lovely trees not only provide habitat for fauna but help hold the bank together especially in flood. Why would someone do this?’
The foul deed was reported to the police, who say they would like evidence as to who did it or who ordered the poisoning.
If you know anything about the purchase of Vigilant II poison, or a skilled tree poisoner in the area lately… please let the police, Dr Stockard or this paper know about it. You can remain anonymous.