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Free seedlings: get your orders in for Schools Tree Day

Published: 18 Mar 2022 2:50pm

Local schools and preschools are being encouraged to get their order in for free seedlings ahead of Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day later this year.

Wagga Wagga City Council donated over 2500 seedlings to local schools and preschools for the 2021 Schools Tree Day and Environmental Education Officer Alice Kent is hoping for a similar result this year.

“We haven’t had as many orders as we were expecting, so we’re encouraging teachers, school administrators, anyone within the school family to get in touch and get their school’s order in,” Ms Kent said.

“We need to receive your order by Tuesday 22 March so we can get your seedlings in time for Schools Tree Day at the end of July.”

Results from Council’s recent Urban Tree Cover Survey showed 91 per cent of respondents agreed there are not enough trees in Wagga Wagga. Ms Kent said taking part in Schools Tree Day gave schools an opportunity to contribute to the city’s urban canopy.

“Added together, schools manage a large area of land within our city, so the more vegetation there is on school grounds the better for our region’s biodiversity and our community as a whole,” Ms Kent said.

“Planting more trees, shrubs and groundcovers at schools will help create a cooler environment for students as well as provide habitat for birds and insects.”

Woman holding tray of seedlings
PLEASE HURRY: Environmental Education Officer Alice Kent is calling for schools and preschools to submit their seedling orders ahead of Schools Tree Day. Orders are due by Tuesday 22 March 2022.

Ms Kent said that being outside and connecting with nature is also good for students’ mental health.

“Getting into the fresh air with their classmates and getting their hands dirty is always fun for kids, and it’s a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about their local environment and be proactive in supporting it,” Ms Kent said.

“It’s always exciting for kids to see what they plant grow, watch the flowers bloom, and see bees come and visit. And the seedlings they plant now will be in their school for many years to come, so they’re planting for their school’s future and the students that will follow.

“I think it’s great for kids’ self-esteem to be able to look at a tree or a group of shrubs on their school grounds and say, ‘I planted that.’”

The seedlings available for order are all Australian natives suited to our local conditions, and come in a range of heights, from ground covers to small shrubs, medium shrubs and trees, and large trees.

“Schools can select the species they want from a list or just select by height, and we’ll select the species for you,” Ms Kent said.

“All forms of vegetation are important as they provide habitat for various kinds of animals and birds.

“We’ve had a wetter summer so it’s perfect planting conditions at the moment; the ground should be fairly moist which will give the seedlings a really good start.”

Seedlings planted on Schools Tree Day will contribute to Council’s One Tree for Me target of 65,000 seedlings planted in our local area within six years – one seedling for every resident.