A new citizen science project in Willunga has created the first Tree Trail in the City of Onkaparinga district

Learning about our trees: Willunga Environment Centre volunteers with one of the trees and signs which make up the Willunga Tree Trail. Photo: Willunga Environment Centre.
Learning about our trees: Willunga Environment Centre volunteers with one of the trees and signs which make up the Willunga Tree Trail. Photo: Willunga Environment Centre.

Citizen scientists have banded together to help create a new Tree Trail in Willunga, which looks at the broad range of trees in the township and how the trees contribute to the environment.

In a combined effort, volunteers from the Willunga Environment Centre, with help from the City of Onkaparinga, tagged 28 trees in the region with placards, each showing a number of facts about the respective tree.

Facts on the placards include: the generic name, Kaurna name, Scientific name, estimated age and it's potential grow-to age. The cards also include estimates on the amount of oxygen the tree helps to produce in one day, the amount of shade it creates and how much carbon dioxide it removes from the Earth's atmosphere each year.

The 28 trees are both native and non-native varieties, Willunga Environment Centre Committee Member, Monica Khouri said the variety was chosen in order to keep the trail varied and interesting, and to emphasise that all trees have those important attributes we identified.

Adding "we wanted to spread around the township to increase visibility and create an interesting trail that also captures the beauty of the township."

Her thoughts were echoed by Willunga Environment Centre Chairperson, Kerrod Trott who said the mixture of native and non-native trees create a nice walk through the Willunga township and that conservation was an important aspect of the project.

"Trees add to the combined amenity and pleasure of life and hopefully the trail makes people think twice before chopping down trees."

The project also ties into the City of Onkaparinga Council's goal of increasing the region's tree canopy cover by 20 per cent by 2045. So far, 29,000 trees have been planted but Council are calling upon the community to plant trees on their own land as well.

City of Onkaparinga Sustainability Coordinator, Jenni McGlennon said trees are vital for our physical and mental wellbeing, and they provide a critical habitat for our native wildlife.

Willunga Tree Trail: A map of the new Willunga Tree Trail. Hard copies are available at the Willunga Environment Centre. Photo: Willunga Environment Centre.

Willunga Tree Trail: A map of the new Willunga Tree Trail. Hard copies are available at the Willunga Environment Centre. Photo: Willunga Environment Centre.

"They also improve the amenity of an area, and reduce radiant heat by providing shade and cooling the surrounding air," Ms McGlennon said.

"The Willunga Tree Trail project helps us to achieve that goal and is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when council and local residents work together."