National Tree Day – an opportunity for schools & community
09 December 2011
Collaboration between Forestry Tasmania and Launceston’s Brooks High School is one example of how Tree Day can do more than simply gain the environmental benefits of planting more native trees.
For the past five years Forestry Tasmania has been supporting National Tree Day and Schools Tree Day by donating seedlings, conducting school visits and providing assistance and advice with planting and maintaining trees and shrubs.
To date, Forestry Tasmania have cultivated and donated more than 45,000 tree and shrub seedlings to planting projects across the state, involving more than 70 schools.
While some schools use the event as an opportunity to beautify their grounds and raise awareness of the role of trees and wood products as natural carbon stores that help tackle climate change, others incorporate aspects of Tree Day into their curricular activities.
“It’s a project we’re proud to be part of,” said Tony Scott, Forestry Tasmania’s Community Liaison Officer for the Bass District. “It fits in well with our school contact program and it will hopefully not only teach children about the value of trees, but help them develop a broader sense of caring for our natural environment.”
This sentiment was echoed by Murat Djakic, a teacher at Launceston’s Brooks High School. “We’ve incorporated Schools Tree Day activities into our environmental science classes for grades 7 to 10. From seed collecting and propagating to planting and maintenance, the students are hands on every step of the way. We’ve not only planted on the school grounds, but have regenerated and rehabilitated degraded areas locally and distributed surplus seedlings through students and staff.”
“It’s a great opportunity to engage the students, get them out from behind their desks and actually put what we are talking about into practice, Murat continued, “it’s incredibly rewarding when a student comes back years later and says “Wow! I grew that tree from a seed the size of a pinhead!” “ he concluded.
Together, National Tree Day and Schools Tree Day are Australia’s biggest community tree-planting and nature care event. Coordinated by Planet Ark, the 2011 Schools Tree Day involved some 200,000 primary and secondary students from over 1,500 schools across Australia. National Tree Day saw thousands of Australians plant over 1 million native trees, shrubs and grasses at more than 2900 Tree Day events.
National Tree Day was co-founded by Olivia Newton-John and Planet Ark in 1996, since then more than 2.8 million volunteers have planted over 17 million native trees and shrubs.
In 2012, National Tree Day will be on Sunday 29th July and Schools Tree Day will be on Friday 27th July, although events can be held on any date during the year – please contact Planet Ark for details.