Even as epicormic regrowth has shot up throughout the Eurobodalla Shire, locals are still grieving for the damage done to the environment during the devastating Black Summer of 2019-2020.
A free event to be held next month in the calming surrounds of Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden invites locals to come together to reflect and heal through a bushwalk, reflective ceremony and communal art installation.
The botanic garden was closed for six months after the blaze swept through it on New Year’s Eve 2019, and more than 95 per cent of the site was impacted. However, none of its newly built structures, including the visitor centre and education hub, were damaged.
Trees had to be removed, paths were cleared and bridges were rebuilt in part of a mammoth tidy up and repair effort.
However, despite the garden and the greater region beginning to rebuild, the traumatic impact of the bushfires on residents and the area’s environment has not been forgotten.
Koalas and other species are facing a bleak future after many animals were killed and their habitats destroyed. This damage will take a long time to heal. Likewise, it will be many years before the same levels of ecological diversity returns to the region, if ever.
The reflective event will be held on Sunday, 2 May, and will be hosted by the Basil Sellers Exhibition Centre, in partnership with Shoalhaven Health and Arts.
Activities on the day include a quiet bushwalk where participants can share their thoughts on healing and regrowth.
The pilgrimage will be led by artists Bonnie Porter Greene, Penny Sadubin and Leanne Waterhouse, who will invite participants to share and record their thoughts as they pass through bushfire affected country that is beginning to heal.
On their return, participants will create a collective memorial for the plant and animal life lost in the fires.
Then, in the afternoon, artist and celebrant Annette Tesoriero will lead a ceremony in memory of the plant and animal life lost in the fires, as well as meditative art activities, followed by a communal art installation.
It’s all designed as a quiet event, with participants encouraged to bring their hushed voice and listening ears.
Bookings for the event are in two parts: The Pilgrims’ walk from 11:30 am to 12.30 pm (numbers limited to 20) – book here; and art, picnic and ceremony from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm (numbers limited to 60) – book here.
For more information, head to Eurobodalla Shire Council’s website.