By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Thursday, August 10, 2023
Have you ever noticed the abundance of green foliage in and around Adelaide? It hasn’t always been that way, with land clearing taking place across Adelaide and the state in years gone by.
In the early 1980s, a group called Trees For Life formed and has since planted more than 40 million trees. Do you want to help keep SA green as well? Here are a few ways you can go about it.
1. Volunteer with Trees For Life
In 2021-22 more than 2000 people volunteered for Trees For Life, and there are plenty of ways to get involved.
Trees For Life runs several initiatives including Bush For Life – a program created in 1994 to improve native bushland. The Tree Scheme gives people the chance to plant and grow seedlings, which are then planted in rural areas.
These plants provide habitat for wildlife, shelter for stock, help with soil erosion and assist with keeping our air clean. It’s Trees For Life’s longest-running program and sees people in urban areas matched with rural South Australians to grow seedlings for revegetation.
Trees For Life SA Chief Executive Officer Natasha Davis says volunteers look after more than 250 sites, restoring South Australian vegetation.
“The Growing Bush care and Tree Scheme are where we typically have more opportunities,” she says.
“We also have a lot of workshops, which are great for people to learn about different ways they can get involved in protecting nature.”
Watch the video below to see more about Trees For Life and what it’s like spending the day planting seedlings.
2. Plant native trees at home
Even if you can’t volunteer with Trees For Life, there are still plenty of ways you can help the environment, starting in your own backyard.
Natasha makes several suggestions for creating a sustainable, healthy garden at home.
“You might have a small garden at home where you plant some native plants to attract butterflies,” she says.
We tend to grow up with a bit of a European lens and know about things like roses, but we should look to plant native lilies, orchids and pines – they’re all beautiful plants.
When planning a backyard garden, Natasha warns gardeners to consider the plants they’re putting in the ground.
“You don’t want to accidentally plant invasive species that could be a problem,” she says.
Along with choosing Australian native plants, there are other ways to create a sustainable garden, including:
- Creating an organic garden and avoiding chemicals
- Building healthy soil through compost and mulch
- Propagating your own seeds
- Creating a zero-waste garden; and
- Collecting and reusing water around your house for the garden.
3. Get your workplace involved
Natasha says large organisations are becoming more aware of the increasing burden of natural disasters and climate change. So, maybe you want to speak to your employer and see if they want to get a team together to help Trees For Life at a planting day.
RAA has done just that, attending planting days and learning about revegetation. It’s not just about planting natives either. RAA staff learn about bush care and the importance of removing invasive weeds that can impact native species.
They also look to increase bushland by planting trees such as Southern Swainsonpea (Swainsona behriana) and Golden Billy Buttons (Pycnosorus chrysanthes).
“That’s something that’s very present in our minds, too,” Natasha says. “We’re not going to cope with the impacts of climate change if we don’t have really healthy landscapes and strong natural systems.”