One Tree for Me: free seedlings for all residents

Published: 28 May 2021 1:49pm

Wagga Wagga City Council will be giving away free seedlings as part of ‘One Tree for Me’, a new initiative encouraging residents to plant native trees, shrubs and groundcovers in their backyards to help improve biodiversity and combat the urban heat island effect.

The first One Tree for Me seedling giveaway will take place on World Environment Day, Saturday 5 June 2021, from 9.30am at ErinEarth in Turvey Park.

Environmental Education Officer Alice Kent said One Tree for Me was partly prompted by community feedback to Council’s Biodiversity Strategy: Maldhangilanha.

“We received a lot of requests for free seedlings,” Ms Kent said.

“We created the initiative to address that demand, and we’re aiming to get at least one plant in the ground for every Wagga Wagga LGA resident over the next six years – which is around 65,000 seedlings.

“We’ll achieve this through community planting events on public land, providing seedlings to schools through Schools Tree Day, and through seedling giveaways.”

Two women with seedlings
SAVE THE DATE: Manager of ErinEarth Kaz Leary and Council’s Environmental Education Officer Alice Kent are preparing seedlings ahead of the One Tree for Me seedling giveaway on World Environment Day, Saturday 5 June, at ErinEarth.

No backyard too small

Ms Kent said Council was hoping the community would take advantage of the free seedlings, no matter what size their backyard.

“We have a mix of native trees, shrubs and ground covers, so all backyard sizes are catered for,” Ms Kent said.

“We’ll give you information about your seedlings, what they’ll look like fully grown, as well as what kind of wildlife they’ll attract and how they’ll contribute to the biodiversity in your backyard and our region.

“Planting is incredibly rewarding. Sitting back and seeing all the different birds and little creatures visiting your garden is one of life’s simple pleasures.”

Backyards as stepping stones

Ms Kent said backyards connect our natural bushland areas, acting as stepping stones for animals and birds.

“For example, birds travelling from Willans Hill to Pomingalarna Reserve will use backyards along the way to stop, refuel and rest before moving onwards,” Ms Kent said.

“Planting will help provide smaller habitats for birds and bugs, and create little ecosystems.

“Residents control a large portion of our region’s land – if you look at Google maps and see all those backyards, it’s an enormous area. Every single plant you can put into your backyard will help.”

Help combat urban heat

An urban heat island is a metropolitan area that's a lot warmer than the rural areas surrounding it.

Ms Kent said increasing our region’s canopy and vegetation coverage will help mitigate the impacts of urban heat.

“Buildings, roads and footpaths all create heat by absorbing the sun’s rays. The more we can plant, the cooler we can make our suburbs.

“One Tree for Me is a great opportunity for you to start turning your backyard into a beautiful ecosystem, benefitting our wildlife and helping to keep your place cooler.”

Find out more about One Tree for Me.