Gro Native app to transform Gold Coast gardens with native plants

Gold Coast based social enterprise Natura Pacific today launched a new app focused on boosting the use of native plants in southeast Queensland.

Griffith University Vice-Chancellor Ian O’Connor introduced Minister for Science, Information Technology and Innovation Leanne Enoch who welcomed guests and said that the region’s unique flora connects to us all.

“In Australia, and SEQ we have a very unique landscape and very unique flora,” Minister Enoch said. “It’s that unique flora that we connect to in some way.”

“What we’re going to be launching today is not just about particular plants but about our connection to place and our connection to stories as Queenslanders.”

Natura Pacific was awarded a grant of $22,500 under the Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnership program which enabled the company to take on a Griffith University PhD student (now a doctor) to develop content for the new app called Gro Native.

The new free app is a tool for gardeners and landscapers and encourages people to grow plants native to SEQ in their gardens.

“The app helps us recognise native plants in this area and connect us to our neverending story of this place,” said Minister Enoch.

Kieran Richard, CEO Natura Pacific thanked the Queensland Government for funding and also Griffith University itself.

“I came to this university and graduated in 2001, he said. “it’s a fantastic university and the links that my company has with the university following this project are sensational and demonstrate the type of legacy the university is creating with its academics and lecturers here.”

“We have a social enterprise so we rely very very heavily on the input of businesses, governments and the community,” Kieran said, adding that their work has seen them deliver environmental education activities to 32,000 students in SEQ in the last year alone.

“From little things big things grow,” Kieran said. “And after this launch – from little things, big things grow native.”

Dr Rochelle Stevens demonstrated the app and spoke about its significance, particularly for backyard biodiversity.

“It’s going to take gardening for wildlife to a whole new level,” Rochelle said.

Having worked in the conservation sector for quite some time (25 years and counting), I can personally attest to Rochelle’s claim.

You can search the app for plants based on your location and whether you’re after a garden with a certain look or feel or whether you want to plant species that will attract wildlife. And unlike other resources which help with wildlife-friendly gardens, this one doesn’t clump wildlife all together. You can actually choose ‘wildlife’ by type, such as specific birds (parrots, insect-eaters, seed-eaters for example), bees, frogs, lizards, mammals and even mistletoe-hosts.

The Gro Native app is free and available to download from the usual spots. Doing so will help this Gold Coast enterprise extend the concept to other parts of Queensland and grow its relationship with funders.

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