Planting the seeds of change: Countdown to one million native tree plantings begins

Alexandrina's Mayor Keith Parkes and elected members Michael Scott OAM and Melissa Rebbeck joined with Rotary volunteers and Investigator College conservation students to plant a tree on National Schools Tree Day on Friday, July 31.
Alexandrina's Mayor Keith Parkes and elected members Michael Scott OAM and Melissa Rebbeck joined with Rotary volunteers and Investigator College conservation students to plant a tree on National Schools Tree Day on Friday, July 31.

A community plan backed by the Alexandrina Council to plant one million trees over the next ten years has gotten off to a flying start, with students and volunteers joining together to sew the seeds of change.

National School's Tree Day was held on Friday, July 31 and students around the region did their part to begin the countdown for one million native plantings.

Alexandrina Mayor Keith Parkes and elected members Michael Scott OAM and Melissa Rebbeck joined with Rotary volunteers and Investigator College students in Goolwa to celebrate Tree Day and kick-start the project.

The One Million Trees goal is a passion project for councillor Scott, who introduced the initial plan to council.

Before liaising with Investigator College on Friday morning, he also met with students at Mount Compass Area School.

Cr Scott said tree planting was one of the simplest, most effective and most important ways of tackling climate change.

"Planting one million trees across the Alexandrina district could sequester more than 65,000 tonnes of CO2, and has the ability to significantly improve the landscape, enhancing our region's spectacular scenery and natural environment and creating a lasting legacy for future generations," Cr Scott said.

Goolwa Rotary President Wendy Lippett, Director Environment Di Keach and Ben Simons of Goolwa to Wellington LAP prepare seedlings for community planting efforts.

Goolwa Rotary President Wendy Lippett, Director Environment Di Keach and Ben Simons of Goolwa to Wellington LAP prepare seedlings for community planting efforts.

Mayor Parkes also backed the plan, and said it was great to get out in the community alongside passionate students to begin tree planting efforts in earnest.

"It's a great community project that councillor Scott has brought to us and that council is supporting," Mr Parkes said.

"I think it's a great initiative to support on behalf of the community and it's important that people record the species of trees they are planting and where they are planting them, so we can get them recorded in the database to log our one million tree goal."

One community group who has already begun their contribution to the project is the Goolwa Rotary Club, who is planning to plant at the minimum, one tree for every member in the group's history.

Goolwa Rotary Club President Wendy Lippett said it was fantastic to be involved.

"We will plant a tree for every Rotarian past and present, so we are delving into our history to get all those names, it could be hundreds." Ms Lippett said.

"We are happy to jump on board Michael's [Cr Scott] project to plant one million trees and will be registering each planting we carry out."

Councillor Melissa Rebbeck, who last year pushed for the Alexandrina Council to adopt a Climate Emergency declaration said she backed the program, but there was still much planning to be done.

"I am so proud of our community and the community spirit and I will support where I can, this One Million Trees Program to succeed," Ms Rebbeck said.

"While I am very much in support of the idea, I think this concept will need many to be involved and will take a huge amount of coordination.

"Hence the program is also linked to the Climate Emergency declaration and will become part of the Urban Greening Strategy through the Alexandrina Council.

"While the one million tree concept came from Cr Scott, for this to succeed it will need to be driven forward by our entire community and community groups but it is a concept we can achieve together."