Dirty hands at Schools’ Tree Day

More than 90 students from Swan Reach and Nicholson primary schools have got their hands dirty planting trees in Johnsonville as part of National Schools’ Tree Day on Friday, 27 July.

Organised by Greening Australia through funding from the Victorian State Government, the students participated in a number of activities aimed at connecting the students to the Gippsland Lakes.

Greening Australia’s, Marty Potts, said the students learned about and helped create habitat for birds, insects and animals that call the Gippsland Lakes home.

“It was fantastic to see the students so enthusiastic to learn about their environment,” said Mr Potts.

“Together, the students planted more than 700 trees, participated in BugBlitz activities with Waterwatch and danced with Uncle Alfie.

“The day was all about habitat. Creating future habitat for birds and insects, learning about what insects are using the Gippsland Lakes as habitat and learning about the importance of protecting habitat in the future.”

This is the second Gippsland Lakes schools’ day with the final day to be held later in the year, focusing on migratory birds and the lakes.

The trees planted by the students form part of a broader on-ground works program aimed at improving, protecting and enhancing the wetlands around Jones Bay. Jones Bay provides important habitat for native and migratory birds and is considered a nursery for young birds learning to fly.

Last year over 250,000 people participated in National Tree Day, planting more than 920,000 plants at around 3,200 sites. This brings the initiative’s overall tally of trees planted to almost 24.5 million over 23 years.

Rebecca Gilling, Planet Ark’s CEO, hopes that Australians will beat last year’s planting count and plant at least a million trees, grasses and shrubs.

“The number of trees planted is great to see but what matters most to us is seeing people connecting with each other in nature, using tools as simple as shovels and as complicated as smartphones to better understand and care for our natural environment.”

The theme for 2018 – Connect In Nature – looks at the myriad ways in which technology can enhance time outdoors and enrich our appreciation for the natural world using apps and other digital resources.

This event is funded by the Victorian State Government for the health of the Gippsland Lakes.