August 29, 2018

Walking through the home of the giants

In remnants of ancient rainforest near Darnum, where magnificent Mountain Ash trees tower above fern gullies and streams and lyrebirds roam, what lies beneath the earth is quite incredible.

Mt Worth State Park is home to the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, which grows to one metre long on average and lives its life entirely buried underground in darkness. This ancient snake-like earthworm discovered in 1879 is now a protected species and Gippsland is its only remaining habitat in the world.

Sir David Attenborough made a trip ‘downunder’ to film this rare species as it squelches and burrows through wet soil below the surface.

Our Grass Roots Fund is helping to care for this habitat by supporting the Friends of Mt Worth State Park who have dedicated the past 40 years to maintaining the walking trails through this bush wonderland.

Paul Strickland who volunteers with the group says Fonterra’s support helped purchase specialised mowing and trailer equipment designed for use in dense bushland.

“Fonterra Grass Roots Funding was excellent for us,” says Paul, who took us for a walk through the Park during a recent working bee. See it for yourself on this video.  

“It is wet rainforest, so if you leave it for six months, it grows back. We need to continue to clear the tracks to make sure they are accessible to the community so they can see this special part of nature,” says Paul.

The Park was created in 1975 when over one thousand acres was set aside to preserve and regenerate natural forest which had been heavily logged in the 1920’s. It is located just 17 kilometres south our Darnum site.