National Tree Day

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Yanco Public School on National Tree DayWhen I looked through all the photos I have collected over the last few years I came across so many photos of beautiful trees that had so many different purposes in our local landscape.

There were Canoe trees, trees with Mistletoe that provide food for Honeyeaters (e.g. Painted Honeyeaters) and many other birds, rough bark trees that provide great habitat for lizards, trees that provide wonderful nesting sites, trees with unusual pods that provide food for the Glossy Black Cockatoos, dead trees that provide hollows as nesting sites for  Superb and Turquoise parrots, bee trees for native bees that help in the pollination of agricultural and native plants, trees planted to honour our Veterans and trees we played in as kids.

Sadly I found photos I found photos of beautiful trees that have been removed along roadsides and in the middle of paddocks. Given it takes 15-20 years to grow a substantial shelterbelt it seems unreasonable that trees should be removed with little thought as to who might be using them as: a home, food source, nesting site, shade, windbreaks or as protection to cool farms dams.

Given it takes 100 years to produce a hollow in a tree, to see some of these old growth trees removed from our landscape is heart breaking. Some community members and landholders spend months growing seedlings to plant in wetlands and on farms while other members of the community spend time removing old trees for seemingly little or no reason.

How we can rectify this situation? Promoting National Tree Day is a good start. Thank you to Narrandera Landcare for the huge effort they put in to support, promote and get trees in the ground in this year of such uncertainty.

Over the last week speaking with members of the community it is with great pride they share stories about their favourite tree. Whether it is a tree on a floodplain they see on their way to work, a tree they played in as a child or a species that survives and earns their respect by surviving so well in the drought. We all have a favourite tree. What’s yours?

I found a saying in a book this week ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit under’.

Hopefully the children of Yanco Public School and their teachers who put trees in the ground on National Tree Day will get to sit under the shade of a tree they planted and know they are making society great. The younger the children who plant trees the more likely they will be to sit in its shade. As the climate changes this shade will become increasingly important. There is also a lot of uncertainty at the moment. We need nature more than ever, making National Tree Day even more important on the calendar.

Kathy Tenison