Tree cam­paign branches out

GRANT HELPS PLANT­ING PRO­GRAM GO NA­TION­WIDE

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jes­sica Cle­ment To find out how your school can take part go to one­treep­er­child.com

WITH dirt un­der their fin­ger­nails and the flash of a cam­era, school­child­ren from the di­verse com­mu­ni­ties of Bondi and Bourke launched the na­tional One Tree Per Child cam­paign on Fri­day.

As they packed dirt around the base of their saplings and seedlings in a park above the fa­mous Bondi Beach, they were also plant­ing the roots of an ini­tia­tive de­signed to reach two mil­lion pri­mary school stu­dents across Australia.

Fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Greg Hunt used the oc­ca­sion, which co­in­cided with World En­vi­ron­ment Day, to con­firm a $300,000 gov­ern­ment grant guar­an­tee­ing 100,000 One Tree Per Child plant­ings na­tion­wide.

“This pro­gram will stretch not just from Bondi to Bourke but from Coogee to Cottes­loe, right across this coun­try,” Mr Hunt said.

“If ev­ery child plants a tree, it will not only make a dif­fer­ence to the en­v­i­ron- ment but also to the way they think.

“Trees and forests are fun­da­men­tal to bio­di­ver­sity and to re­duc­ing emis­sions for the planet.

Bondi Beach Public School Year 4 stu­dent Luci said the idea was so sim­ple that ev­ery school could par­tic­i­pate.

“I’m pretty sure ev­ery pri­mary school has grass in it or around it, so trees can be planted ev­ery­where,” Luci, 9, said.

Her Bourke Public School coun­ter­part Bradley agreed: “We can connect kids ev­ery­where,” the Year 6 stu­dent said. Waver­ley Coun­cil, home to Bondi Beach, and Bourke Shire Coun­cil have signed on as the first mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the coun­try to em­brace One Tree Per Child, which was co-founded by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist John Dee and en­ter­tainer Olivia New­ton-John.

Mr Dee said af­ter a suc­cess­ful pi­lot project in Bris­tol, Eng­land, it was time to “bring this ini­tia­tive home”.

One Tree Per Child is also sup­ported by Went­worth Fed­eral Lib­eral MP Mal­colm Turn­bull, who told the gath­ered stu­dents that “this was all about you guys”.

“The se­cu­rity, amenity and en­vi­ron­men­tal health of our coun­try and our world de­pends on plant­ing trees, restor­ing forests of the world while pro­tect­ing the ones we have,” Mr Turn­bull said.

Pic­ture: CRAIG WIL­SON

Clau­dia, 8, and Estelle, 12, at the launch of the One Tree Per Child cam­paign.

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