Dawn vigil is the first line of defence to protect the Kalang Headwaters

Every morning at dawn, should you care to venture from beneath your doona and head up the Horseshoe Rd west of Bellingen, you will find a merry band of residents, quietly standing vigil on the road that leads to the Kalang Headwaters logging area.

Usually numbering around a dozen, this group gathers to bathe in the early morning beauty of the forest and share a cuppa with anyone who passes, including any potential logging contractors.

They are the first line of protest and the early warning system for those who are at the 'Biodiversity Embassy' further up the trail ... and they are there in spite of recent news that logging plans for the area have been put on hold due to the fires.

Among them are (Cr) Toni Wright Turner and her partner Kevin Turner.

"I am here as a concerned citizen ... and because in my role as a councillor, so many people are coming to me and expressing their concern about the impact of this type of logging on the shire," Toni said.

"There are so many positives to keeping this forest - it is the heart of the planned Great Koala National Park, we cannot stand by and let them rip it out. We must do things differently."

In the battle between money and biodiversity, it's time that biodiversity won

Jack Meagher

For Kevin the positives of turning the forest over to recreational uses far outweigh the short term economic gains of logging.

"People with bikes and 4WDS, nature lovers, bird watchers could all come here and enjoy this beauty ... so many of us are yearning to connect with nature. Protecting it is a no-brainer," Kevin said.

"Logging is necessary but it needs to be done sustainably, with care. Industrial logging, as they want to do here, is so destructive because so much diversity is lost - what comes after will never be as rich. I appreciate this timber here is easy to take, but that is not the point."

Averil Harris and Helen Howard

Averil Harris and Helen Howard

Averil Harris is an artist and a librarian and has come up from Mylestom because "there is simply no alternative to ignore this - it is the most important thing I've ever done".

"I can't do my artwork ... I need to be part of this collective action. We are so dependent on trees for our survival, we can't separate ourselves from nature, we must stand with it."

Hydes Creek resident Graham Richardson says that for him, "It is important to make some kind of stand to protect this planet that is our home".

"I do actually think we are on the end run but buggered if I'm going to take it lying down," Graham said.

"Our demise is our fault and our problem - it is what we take with us that really troubles me."

Others share similar thoughts:

Helen Howard: "If the grey-haired can't step up and make a stand, then who can. I have nothing to lose ... we can't leave this fight to the kids. I can't understand how governments can't see what is happening."

Tony Goodwin: I hate to lost our unique flora and fauna ... even in my time, so much has been lost, so much has gone - and its' still happening."

Jack Meagher: "In the battle between money and biodiversity, it's time that biodiversity won ... we have to save the planet."

As the dawn chorus fades and the sun's strength grows, the group gather their signs and belongings, put out their fire, and melt away to their daily lives - but rest asssured, they will be back tomorrow. Anyone who feels inclined, is welcome to join the group.

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