We are facing a major crisis in the form of human-induced climate change and the extreme weather events that will accompany it. Around the world we are experiencing record-breaking extreme heat events, often coupled with record droughts, or massive floods and fires. Public opinion is slowly shifting towards the need to prepare for such events, but it is not yet enough. One obvious way to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events in urban environments is to plant more trees and encourage more urban vegetation in general. There are many excellent programs already in place to do this and interest in supporting these programs is growing.
Working Towards a Positive Impact
The Trees for Good team came together with a joint vision that we need to plant more trees, but we also need to plan for planting the right tree in the right place and to monitor the progress of the trees we plant. This will ensure that we are making the best choices and that the trees are getting the best possible level of care so that they can grow to maturity and make a positive difference to our urban environment.
Trees for Good was launched on 5 September at the Alberton Primary School, where 26 trees were planted within the school grounds and initial measurements were made on them. Each tree was allocated to a pair of students, who named their tree (“Greg” was a popular choice) and took ownership of the future care and measurement of that tree. We are now planning for our next planting, and we will continue to grow this project.
The data gathered by the children will be entered on a dedicated website so that anyone can see the progress of each tree or the entire group through time. Several times a year we will ask the children to remeasure their tree and add their new data to the website.
Using this resource, we will soon be able to see which tree species work best at different sites and we will also be able to judge what species don’t do well or even fail completely. That negative information will have a positive impact by informing us which species to avoid in the future in specific areas.
Trees for Good will provide free trees for planting, an app to explain the planting and measuring process, a website where data will be summarised, and coordination of the overall project. We are an equal partnership currently comprising the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide, the South Australian Science Teachers Association, Green Adelaide, Treenet, Project Green Group and Debill Environmental.
The City of Port Adelaide Enfield and the Alberton Primary School partnered with us for our launch and will forever be linked to the Trees for Good project. We are now seeking to expand Trees for Good across Greater Adelaide and hopefully soon to other urban areas. We hope to join other tree planting initiatives to get the best possible outcomes for our children’s future.