Tree campaign branches out
GRANT HELPS PLANTING PROGRAM GO NATIONWIDE
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.
Claudia, 8, and Estelle, 12, at the launch of the One Tree Per Child campaign.