Providence Climate Capital helps town complete Indigenous Botanic Garden
PCC is proud to support the Garagarro Botanic Gardens project, in Girgarre, Victoria, close to PCC-managed Girgarre Solar Farm. This community-led initiative preserves native species in the flood- and fire- affected region.
Girgarre is a typical Australian country town. Its slogan – ‘Small Town, Big Spirit’ – gives a sense of the vibrant community proud of its size and its activities. It has all the hallmarks of pastoral idyll: farmers and craft market, line dancers and open-air ‘moo-sic’ – including an orchestra that plays instruments made of junk – and now, an impressive botanical garden.
It’s also had its fair share of disaster. Located in the Shire of Campaspe, northern Victoria, it was affected by the unprecedented Black Summer bushfires that caused Victorians $2.1bn in welfare losses, and again most recently by the floods from October 2022 that saw the Campaspe river rise over 96m above sea level.
In the face of significant hardships, the farming town came together to do what it does best: grow anew. Brought to fruition over a decade of planning and planting, the Gargarro Botanic Garden in Girgarre was created to reflect local landscape, preserve native species, and protect the environment.
But in July 2022 the project fell short of its target to complete construction of Stage 1. When the landowner of nearby Providence Climate Capital (PCC) -managed Girgarre Solar Farm approached PCC for help, we were happy to be able to support the project by contributing the rest of the needed funds.
Girgarre’s community literally put their shoulders to the shovel with a huge band of volunteers, and local and regional businesses donating funds for the landscaping and built structures, matched by State and Federal Grant Funding. They share a vision with PCC: protecting and sustaining our environment.
The eight-hectare botanic garden, as well as being a big draw for local tourism and creating new jobs, is focused around sustainability, Indigenous planting, and water channels, with an unrivalled collection of native species and a particular focus on endangered flora.
The garden includes a plantation of 95 different species of eucalypts. A total of 1,600 eucalypts were planted to provide a food source for the expanding koala population at Kyabram Fauna Park and Zoos throughout Victoria, and in times of natural disasters – a resource for koala populations nationwide.
Alongside local Australians, native bush-living fauna like koalas and flora are all affected by climate change – both directly by temperature and weather changes, and by secondary effects such as bushfires. More than 61,000 koalas and 143 million mammals were affected by the Black Summer, by the initial blaze and the subsequent loss of habitat, with 272 plant species affected including 22 critically endangered.
In 2021, CSRIO identified climate change as the dominant factor in the 800% increase over 32 years of area burned by bushfires. Unfortunately, emissions from bushfires in turn contribute to climate change – causing up to a fifth of the annual global emissions increase in 2020. These correlative cycles require mutually-supporting solutions at every stage of the chain.
That’s why PCC supports community-led conservation efforts in regional Australia, where towns are often disproportionately impacted by climate change.
We are all aware that our natural environment is under more and more threat from a range of factors such as land clearing and habitat destruction, population growth and climate change. Botanic gardens play an important role in plant conservation through having rare and threatened plants within their living collections – holders of the precious genetic material that is at risk in the wild, in some cases being the last living material protecting that species from extinction.
Chris Russell Director of Botanic Gardens Australia & NewZealand
“We have a vision to move Australia to cleaner energy. But what we do is just one part of the global climate challenge, the preservation of our natural environment and habitats is equally important work and it’s inspiring to see Australian communities driving grassroots initiatives. The Garagarro Botanic Gardens is a wonderful example of the vision and determination of regional communities in conserving these precious environments.”
Henry Sun CEO of PCC
As climate change threatens ecosystems and the species that depend on them, companies like PCC, and driven communities like Girgarre, play a crucial role in addressing these challenges. Solar farms bring multiple benefits to climate-affected areas beyond the generation of clean energy. The large open areas surrounding solar panels provide opportunities to recreate new habitats for various species, essential for the local ecosystem.
During drought periods and in dry areas such as Campaspe, solar panels collect dew at night that drips down and irrigates the ground beneath, forming strips of grass for animals, such as sheep, to feed on. Solar panels also provide shelter for animals in extreme weather conditions such as hail and heat.
Both on-the-ground conservation, like that of Gargarro Botanical Gardens, and the transition to clean energy play crucial parts in mitigating the effects of climate change. PCC was founded to build part of the ecosystem critical to a sustainable future via cleaner, greener energy. With its vision to drive optimisation in renewable energy and storage asset management, PCC equally understands and applauds the conservation efforts that protect Australia’s rich natural heritage for a viable future.
We hope you get a chance to visit the gardens, and when you do, look for our name on the entrance.
For more information on this ambitious project, visit their website.