National Tree Day was celebrated on Sunday, July 28, with the 2019 Schools Tree Day celebrated last Friday.
National Tree Day was co-founded in 1996 by Planet Ark and Olivia Newton-John and has grown into Australia’s largest community tree-planting and nature care event. It’s a call to action for all Australians to get their hands dirty and give back to the community.
In Lismore a crowd of over 120 people came together with the Wilsons River Landcare Group to plant 1100 trees at Simes Bridge in North Lismore.
Aunty Thelma James gave a thoughtful welcome to country speaking about the spiritual and sad history of the site, which includes a massacre across the river and many drownings.
Aunty Thelma encouraged tree planters to sit by the river for a few minutes and to bring their hearts to the days events, offering a healing for the place and for those who had lost their lives there.
Wilsons River Landcare Group secretary Kristin den Exter says Aunty’s speech was a deep and moving start to the planting. ‘It helped connect all present to a much longer and deeper history. Hope and healing.
‘And then, just like that – in under an hour and a half – the group planted 1100 trees.’
The tree included lowland rainforest trees donated by Rous County Council and grown by the experts at Firewheel Nursery and Friends, with other beautiful rainforest trees grown by the Friends of the Rainforest Botanic Gardens, koala food trees donated by Friends of the Koala, native bush nuts (Macadamia tetraphylla) donated by the Macadamia Conservation Trust, and big hoop pines donated by Kevin Glencross.
Kristin says the community also came to the party through a crowdfunding campaign which raised over $3000.
‘This money not only paid for trees in the ground but will ensure the site will be well looked after into the future.
‘Lismore Council provided support for site preparation and also donated the mulch which was spread with gusto!
This year the National Tree Day hope was to plant one million new native trees and shrubs across the country with an expected 300,000 plus volunteers toking part.
Heidi Lunn from the group was buoyed by the days events. ‘National Tree Day is a once a year celebration of hope, when people come together to do what is
the number one action, after preventing any further habitat loss, which is to plant more trees!’ she said.
Ms Lunn wanted to extend her thanks to everyone who helped. ‘Thanks to those who came to plant on this amazing stretch of riverbank, the Rouse family for
their support, to those who donated to the crowd funding, and everyone who donated trees,’ she said.
‘We had tree planters from landcare groups around the region, planters from the Knitting Nannas, Rainforest Rescue, staff and students from Southern Cross University, young children and older people – all joining together to take action for our river and for our planet.
‘This is what National Tree Day is all about.’