The Real Tree Day Stars - Our Site Coordinators
Author: Jess McCallum
Site coordinators are the heroes of National Tree Day. Organising thousands of events across the country, they bring the event to life and enable communities nationwide to experience the joy of planting and participate in greening up their local environment. But it's not all giving - there's a lot to be gained from being one of these superstars.
Wendy May from the Noosa & District Landcare Group has been involved with Tree Day for the last 5 years. She joined us to give her firsthand experience with coordinating a National Tree Day event and why you should get involved this year, too:
- Why do you participate in Tree Day? Why is it important to you personally?
I feel National Tree Day is a great way to engage the public and help educate the community on the importance of native vegetation and environmental issues. It helps highlight the significant, symbiotic relationships trees have with wildlife and indeed ourselves.
Personally, I love trees, plants and nature. They are art - like sculptures, they have amazing colour, texture and movement, and not to mention the practical advantages they have like providing us shade, erosion control, water quality improvement, aesthetic values.
- What value does it bring to your community?
It provides an aesthetic value to the local parkland. In addition, it gives valuable habitat to fauna, and provides shade and a pleasant atmosphere for the community. An event like National Tree Day gives a sense of stewardship to an area, that local people have contributed to, and it also provides environmental awareness raising opportunities.
What are the main benefits for your group of participating in National Tree Day?
We meet with members of the community we may not have met before; we network with people, and we share knowledge and information. Our organisation is always promoted in a positive way, and more people became aware of the valuable work we do. Community engagement is really valuable for our organisation.
- How have you seen the event and your local area develop since you have been involved?
The sites are going really, really well, which is great to see. Lots of birds are also making the most of the vegetation and we have also had some really positive feedback from the community, which is fantastic.
Last year we had a large planting event on a coastal area void of trees. About 100 people attended and 600 plants were put in. It was fantastic. Local businesses donated goods and services to give away, and it we were thrilled with the outcome.
Each year we try and get more and more people involved. It's inspiring to see people are interested in caring for and contributing to their local environment. We're hoping this year will be the biggest and best yet.
- Why would you encourage others to coordinate a planting site in their community?
Hosting a local National Tree Day activity brings the community together to achieve a common goal, creating a sense of community and connectivity, and it's a great way to network. It beautifies the area, provides habitat for fauna and encourages bird life. It's a day of fun. There is a sense of nurturing that planting a tree brings - one feels an investment in the future. We always have fun. The kids get their hands dirty and learn about nature, adults love participating and we hand out planting and species guides, and everyone is involved in a family friendly activity.
- What advice would you offer to others thinking about becoming a Tree Day Coordinator?
Have fun! Involve the community, and provide lots of information for people to take away with them. Check out the Planet Ark resources for hosting a site. Their Coordinators Toolkit is a great place to start. It has lots of advice, free posters and materials to help promote your event locally, and they even help to find trees, planting resources and support. Just do it. You won't regret it!
Got you inspired? Check out the National Tree Day Site Coordinator webpage for all the details on how to organise a super successful local planting event. You can also call the National Tree Day Team on 1300 88 5000 who can talk you through the steps and provide you with all the information you'll need.
What are you waiting for? Do it today!