Rescue mission to the top of Mt Imlay

Office of Environment and Heritage scientist Dr Keith McDougall and a volunteer plant out the endangered _Eucalyptus imlayensis_ at the top of Mt Imlay.

We’ve just slogged 886 metres to the top of Mt Imlay laden with some precious cargo — 23 seedlings of one of Australia’s most endangered trees, the Eucalyptus imlayensis.

I’m here with a team from the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service and volunteers to plant these seedlings in a bid to revive the dwindling population of this tree located in steep country on New South Wale’s far south coast.

The seedling were propagated in our nursery at the Australian National Botanic Gardens after a call for help from the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage which noted that these trees were in big trouble.

Just getting the seed to propagate the plants was a real challenge in this remote steep area. The trees are literally hanging off the top of the mountain, so it involved specialised extendable equipment to collect the seeds.

So we’re back here with buckets and spades to plant our progeny. Lucky for us a helicopter helped out by air lifting some of the heavier gear including 340 litres of water to get the plants started.

It’s a beautiful day; great weather for climbing and the view of the coastline and forests from the top of Mt Imlay is truly awesome!

Laura Schweickle, Australian National Botanic Gardens