As part of their mission to plant 200,000 trees in the Greater Sydney Area by 2025, Greater Sydney Landcare (GSL) have recently finished planting 10,000 trees at the Western Sydney University Hawkesbury Campus as part of the Creating Canopies project with the help of students from the university.
The first planting was held on Saturday 21st October, where 2,000 trees were planted in one day thanks to 25 students and teachers who used their green thumbs. Since then, the amount of trees GSL has planted on the campus has risen to 10,000, with a further 20,000 trees planned to be placed in the site’s empty paddocks in 2024-25.
Creating Canopies Project Manager Danielle Packer, who began her environmental care career with the Cattai Hills Environment Network, is thrilled with the progress of the initiative that has seen 59,159 trees planted across Greater Sydney in 2023: “The NSW Government is planting trees to provide much needed canopy across Greater Sydney to cool down our city, prioritising LGAs that have a low canopy below 30%.
WSU’s Hawkesbury Campus was eager to help create a more sustainable space, having recently become carbon neutral in 2023. Vice Chancellor of the University Barney Glover commented on the project: “We are delighted to partner with Greater Sydney Landcare on this tree-planting program. This is a significant step in WSU’s ongoing journey towards becoming nature positive by 2029 and a testament to sustainability and environmental stewardship.”
Danielle echoes this sentiment: “The university was really on board to plant more trees and contribute to tackling climate change – they wanted to create habitat corridors to connect remnant bushland. It creates a lot of great shade for livestock, and the fact that they are so on board with the project and are continually helping us find more spots to put more trees is really great.”
The Hawkesbury City Council LGA is estimated to only have 20-30% canopy cover while possessing plenty of opportunity for more trees to be planted. Danielle explains: “It’s a bit tricky to find big spaces of land in the city that can support thousands of trees, so the Hawkesbury does make that easier. But Hawkesbury still needs more trees because there’s a lot of old farmland that’s just grass that can benefit from planting lots of trees there, and recreate that bushland that was cleared so many years ago.”
The restoration of bushland has numerous benefits for both the environment and the community at the WSU campus and beyond. “Obviously you’re creating more canopy, which is really needed with all the development going on across Sydney,” Danielle says.
“It’s been scientifically proven that getting people outside and enjoying nature improves mental and physical health, and it provides habitat for native wildlife. The plantings are great because it gets a broader community to come together, get outside in nature and get their hands dirty, all the while learning a thing or two about why planting trees is important, which is a component I love.”
Creating Canopies is planning to do even more work within the Hawkesbury next year, co-operating with Council to plant more trees on both private and public, with plenty of opportunities for members of the community to get involved. To stay updated, follow Greater Sydney Landcare on Facebook: www.facebook. com/GreaterSydneyLandcare