This week will see early learning students coming together to plant a tiny forest in the heart of Sydney as part of Australia’s biggest community tree planting event – National Tree Day.
The students will plant a Miyawaki forest, which involves layering a dense network of diverse native species, to celebrate their transition from pre-school to primary school. These forests can thrive with minimal human intervention, grow quickly and boost the biodiversity of an area.
The ‘Children’s Forest’ is just one of the hundreds of events happening across Australia to celebrate Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day on July 28. The events are part of the wider National Tree Day program, which provides opportunity to engage schools, and communities in a collective effort to plant trees and foster a deeper connection with nature.
“We see first-hand the positive impacts of time in nature through the thousands of students who get involved in Schools Tree Day each year and the joy it brings them. So many adults reflect on their childhood experiences of Tree Day, and the pride they feel as they see the results of their labours all those years ago” said Planet Ark CEO Rebecca Gilling.
“We know how critical time in nature and outdoor learning is as part of children’s healthy development and this event is a fantastic example of how to engage students from an early age in nature care.”
The event is being coordinated by Tree Rites, a Sydney-based environmental collective led by landscape architect Barbara Schaffer and artist Michaelie Crawford.
“We are striving to create a connection to nature in the long term – the children can watch the forest grow, they can appreciate it as a little child, as a teenager and as an adult they will see this growth,” said Tree Rites founder Barbara Schaffer.
The land has been provided by Randwick Council located at Randwick Sustainability Hub, one of the largest inland ecosystems containing the critically endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub.
“This is such a beautiful part of Randwick City and this event is a special way to acknowledge the importance of green space, especially when we live in an urban environment. Getting the kids involved from a young age to learn how to nurture the outdoors, is critical for a happy and healthy future,” said Dylan Parker, Mayor of Randwick.
The nature care efforts are being made possible by a grant from Planet Ark’s Seedling Bank, a program which provides funding for native seedlings for urban greening and regeneration projects around the country.
“The Seedling Bank is our way of giving back to the thousands of Australian volunteers who roll up their sleeves each year to give something back to the environment as part of National Tree Day,” said Rebecca Gilling, Planet Ark CEO.
“We have already directly supported over 132 groups in their efforts to plant almost 80,000 native trees, shrubs and grasses since the program’s inception. This year, another 119 groups will plant over 50,000 seedlings using funding from The Seedling Bank.”
Urban green spaces have the potential to be created and cared for in ways that improves habitat and enable a strong connection with place. The Tree Rites team hopes this method will be adapted by school communities across Sydney and beyond.
“I have a deep desire to create meaningful opportunities, for people to reflect on their connection to nature and to plant hope in a time of climate crisis,” said Schaffer.
Schools Tree Day (July 28) and National Tree Day (July 30) are Australia’s largest annual tree-planting and nature care events, with plantings taking place across the country on the last weekend of July.
National Tree Day is an initiative organised by Planet Ark in partnership with major sponsor Toyota Australia and its Dealer Network. For more information and to find events in your local area, please visit treeday.planetark.org.
- 75 early learning students will plant a miyawaki forest for Schools Tree Day (Friday 28 July) in Sydney.
- This planting will celebrate their transition from pre-school to primary school.
- Miyawaki forests can thrive with minimal human intervention, grow quickly and boost the biodiversity of an area.
- The land has been provided by Randwick Council located at Randwick Sustainability Hub, one of the largest inland ecosystems containing the critically endangered Eastern Suburbs Banskia Scrub.
Planet Ark Environmental Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit organisation with a vision of a world where people live in balance with nature. Established in 1992, it is one of Australia’s leading environmental behaviour change organisations with a focus on working collaboratively and positively. Planet Ark promotes and creates simple, positive environmental actions – for everyone.
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