FAQ's

General Help

When is National Tree Day?

 

National Tree Day is held in the last week of July.

 

The dates for 2014 are:

  • Schools Tree Day 25th July and 
  • National Tree Day 27th July

However, if these don't suit - our insurance covers every day of the year, as we believe "every day is Tree Day". 

 

Why is National Tree Day held in July?

Australia is a vast land with a great degree of climatic variations. Years ago, Planet Ark was advised by various experts that July on average is the best time for planting Australia-wide.

We revisit our sources on a regular basis: a comprehensive survey was conducted at the end of 2002, and we have touched base with many national green groups again this year. We can confirm that, on average, July is still the best time to plant.

As the climate varies widely across Australia, however, there maybe areas that do not suit this time of year for planting. That is why we say "Any Day is Tree Day" and offer the option of (Your Town) Tree Day or (Your Region) Tree Day. For example, the Cairns region in Queensland holds "Tropical Tree Day" in December each year.

We also invite people in areas that don't suit tree planting in late July to use National Tree Day for other tree-related community conservation efforts, such as a seed collection, bush regeneration, site maintenance or to visit your planting site to monitor it, for example.

What is Local Provenance?

Local Provenance is the term used to describe native plant populations that naturally occur in a given area.

Many native plant species can be found to occur naturally across a broad geographic area or range. For example, hairpin banksia (Banksia spinulosa) naturally occurs across 3 states, from coastal Victoria to Cairns.

However, the plants growing in a specific area will have adapted to the local conditions over a long period of time. Although of the same species, a hairpin Banksia from southern Victoria will have a different genetic makeup to it's cousin in Cairns, just as the same species of plant found on the coast will be different from that growing in the mountains. Different populations containing local genetic variations are called provenances.

For true local provenance, the individual plant is grown from seed stock from parent plants within the same population (or as close by as possible).

Bringing in plants sourced from a different region can compromise the genetic integrity of the species - ie weaken the ability of the plant population to thrive in the specific local conditions through diluting the genes that have been selected over a long period of adaptation to local conditions. Eventually, given time and the right conditions of isolation, this variation between populations can lead to new species evolving.

Preserving local provenance populations, on the other hand, is an important way of protecting biodiversity and combating the threat to biodiversity posed by climate change. For more information visit the Benefits of Local Natives page.

What type of plants should we use?

Planet Ark recommends that for native planting sites you only plant local natives. Local natives are perfectly suited to the local soil type and climate, and they're also great for wildlife. Other plants, even if they are Australian natives (but not local to your area) risk becoming a weed. To find plants native to your local area call your council or the Planet Ark hotline on 1300 88 5000.

You can also register a range of other activities for Tree Day, including holding events at community food gardens.

What insurance cover is provided for National Tree Day participants?

Planet Ark has arranged comprehensive insurance cover for all participants in National Tree Day, 28 July 2013 and School's National Tree Day, 26 July 2013, and any registered National Tree Day activity taking place throughout 2013.

For this cover to be effective each participant (including the coordinator themselves) must sign a 'Volunteer Registration' form. Registrations for children under 18 must be signed by the parent or guardian. The activity must also be registered with Planet Ark as a National Tree Day event

Please contact the Tree Day Hotline for more information on 1300 88 5000 or email using our contact form.

School Insurance Information*

If your school is planning a Tree Day event, please read this page.

Non-School Insurance Information*

If you are planning a public or private Tree Day event, please read this page.

 

*Insurance certificates are issued according to the financial year calendar (ie. July 1st-June 30th) so Certificates of Currency for National Tree Day 2013 will be updated on July 1st 2013. All plantings before June 30th 2013 should use the current certificate

What is Planet Ark's Privacy Policy for National Tree Day Participants?

Read Planet Ark's Privacy Information here.

Please indicate that you agree to let Planet Ark use this information for the purpose of promoting and coordinating the National Tree Day event.

Do I need permission to use the National Tree Day logo?

Yes - please email all requests using our contact form once you have read these guidelines.

 

Volunteering at a Site

How do I find a Tree Day site to volunteer at?

Simply search by council area, suburb or post code on our Find a Site page.

You can then click through to view the details and RSVP if required.

If you don't find a site in your local area, be sure to check back closer to Tree Day as we are registering more sites every day. Also while the majority of sites take place over the Tree Day weekend (26-28 July 2013) there are many other dates when Tree Day sites are happening.

Do I need to bring a tree to plant?

No. Tree Day site coordinators will arrange and provide the plants which have been carefully selected for each Tree Day site.

Can I bring a tree to plant?

Generally the answer is no. Your local site coordinator will have sourced native plants that are especially suited to the planting site.

If you have access to indigenous plants (Local Provenance) and would like to donate them to a local Tree Day site, please contact us (or the Site Coordinator if you have a particular site in mind) on 1300 88 5000 or using our contact form.

Do I have to pay to participate in National Tree Day?

No. Participation in National Tree Day is free, although occasionally some sites ask for a gold coin donation towards a local green group or charity or to assist with the cost of refreshments provided.

Organising a Site

What should I consider when choosing a tree planting site and date?

You need to determine who owns your site, and if that's not you, seek permission from the local council or from the private landholder to plant there.

Also check if there is a plan to follow for the site? eg an Open Space Plan of Management.

Think about the environmental outcomes of your planting, and get advice to determine what types of plants or other activities will achieve the best results. Where there is a healthy community of native plants already in existence at or near the site you should find out whether other ways of encouraging these native plants and seeds to spread and grow would be better than introducing new plants (for example bush regeneration, brush-matting or fencing to keep off grazing stock). You can download a Planting Guide produced by the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators. Visit our Environmental Benefits page for more information.

Decide on a date. If National Tree Day, or Schools Tree Day are not an ideal time to plant trees in your area, you could consider the option of (Your Town) Tree Day or (Your Region) Tree Day. Tree Day activities can take place on any date.

Also Tree Day is not just about tree planting. You can register a number of other activities such as follow-up maintenance at your planting site, bush regeneration, interpretive walks and seed collecting.

I am not available to participate on Schools Tree Day or National Tree Day. Can I pick another day?

We know the July dates may not be an ideal time to plant trees in your area. Also you may wish to register additional Tree Day activities for follow-up maintenance at your planting site, such as weeding and watering. If conditions are not suitable for planting due to drought etc, there are many other activities you can do under the banner of Tree Day.

That is why we are happy to offer you, your group, town or region, the option of (Your Town) Tree Day or (Your Region) Tree Day.

Planet Ark has arranged volunteer insurance cover for all National Tree Day and Schools Tree Day participants throughout 2013

This cover extends year round for any registered National Tree Day activity and is valid only for those participants that have signed a ‘Volunteer Registration Form' (apart from school plantings where students are recorded on the class role). The activity must also be registered with Planet Ark as a National Tree Day event

Schools Tree Day Activities

Students whose names appear on the class role do not need to complete a Volunteer Registration form, this is only required for any additional participants that are not recorded on the class role. Planet Ark do not require you to send in the class role, only the Volunteer Registration forms for additional participants. Further details can be found on our Insurance pages.

For more information, please call 1300 88 5000 or contact us by email.

Do I have to pay for my plants?

Councils and environmental groups donate many of the trees planted on Tree Day. Need contact info? Call the Treeday Hotline on 1300 88 5000.

Many native nurseries will provide local natives at reduced rates for Treeday events. Some will even donate seedlings to schools and community groups. Some schools even propagate their own Treeday stock, often in collaboration with local Landcare groups or other environmental agencies.

Local Toyota dealers often provide funding for plants to local schools and community groups, but as these guys are independent dealers, you'll need to check what's on offer locally. Need contact info? Call the Treeday Hotline on 1300 88 5000.

Plants, equipment and refreshments may also be paid for or donated by local businesses. - So before you try the P&C, check out what other local options are available to you.

Where do I get my native plants?

Site coordinators arrange the plants for Tree Day sites. It's important to try and source local native plants for the to ensure the best environmental outcomes for your site. See our "Local Native Plants" page in the Environmental Benefits section for more information.

Planet Ark can help you locate suitable nurseries and provide contacts at your local council to find local native seedlings. Find out what kind of plants are native to your area, which ones would be suitable for your site and where to get them. Here are some leads to follow:

  • Your local council. Usually your local Bushcare or Environmental Officer has the most up-to-date information on local suppliers of indigenous plants, and many councils have their own native nursery and may give seedlings away to schools and community groups for Tree Day plantings. They can also advise about where would be a good place to plant trees and they may know of local nurseries and environmental groups who can help you. Please get in touch with councils early to avoid disappointment. Call our National Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000 or email us to find out who to talk to at your local council.
  • Local environmental groups can offer advice and assistance in sourcing plants eg Landcare, Coastcare, Bushcare (click on "Bushcare Volunteering") and Greening Australia.
  • Local community or native nurseries. Many councils support community nurseries who specialize in propagating local native species from seed. Call our National Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000 for assistance with finding a nursery that specializes in native plants local to you.
  • To learn more about native flora and find groups in your area, visit the national website of the Australian Native Plants Society.

Please make sure you make enquiries early to source your plants in time.

How do I register my site?

There are 3 easy ways to register:

If you need promotional brochures and posters, download them here.

What planning do I need to do?

Here are some things to consider when planning your Tree Day site

Planting and preparation:

  • What types of plants are native to the local area?
  • Where will you plant the trees, shrubs and grasses?
  • How many native trees, shrubs or grasses can you plant at your site? It's a good idea to have a mix of different plant types to create a healthy, more balanced ecosystem.
  • What about seedling pick up/delivery, and transportation to the site?
  • Does the site need preparation? eg. weeding, rotary hoeing, fertilising, mulching? Council may be able to assist.
  • Think about any potential hazards and take steps to minimise the risk of an accident occurring.
  • What follow-up activities will the plants need? Remember, young plants will need watering until their roots get established (at least 8-12 weeks, or longer if it doesn't rain). You could register additional activities at your site for follow-up visits to weed and mulch around your plants.

Volunteers:

  • How many will you need and for how long?
  • Do you have enough 'Volunteer Registration Forms' and have you read the section on Volunteer Insurance?
  • Is there car parking space for your volunteers?
  • Perhaps your local Lions or Rotary Club will help you out with a sausage or vegeburger sizzle?

Remember to tell your volunteers what they need to bring (eg clothing, gloves, sturdy footwear, equipment, drinks & snacks etc), whether they need to RSVP and what you will be providing.

Equipment and Supplies - You will need to source / bring:

  • Signage to help volunteers find your planting site
  • Native trees, shrubs or grass seedlings
  • Mulch - very important! Mulch helps to reduce competition from weeds and prevents loss of moisture from the soil.
  • Trowels or small shovels, picks and mallets to drive in stakes (you can also ask people to bring their own)
  • Gardening gloves (you can also ask people to bring their own)
  • Wheelbarrows for transporting seedlings, equipment and mulch
  • Stakes and tree guards or used milk cartons to protect seedlings
  • Access to a water source (or take your own water to the site)
  • Garden hoses, watering cans or buckets for watering
  • Rubbish bins or bags to keep the site clean
  • A first aid kit and qualified first-aider
  • Card or picnic tables for the volunteer registration desk
  • Sufficient 'Volunteer Registration Forms' and pens
  • An 'Accident/Incident Report Form'.
  • You can download these forms here

Remember to tell your volunteers to wear sturdy footwear, long pants, gloves, a hat and bring sun protection. Make sure people know that they can just turn up on the day and that planting will proceed rain, hail or shine!

Who else can help me?

Tree Day is a community event which brings many individuals and organisations together to support and celebrate our natural environment. Here are some leads as to who might help with your site:

  • Toyota is a major sponsor of Tree Day. Some Toyota dealerships are happy to provide refreshments, tree guards, stakes, mulch and/or cover the cost of seedlings. Some Toyota staff have even spent a day doing ground preparation for Schools Tree Day Sites. Just remember, these guys run independent franchises so talk to your nearest Toyota Dealer to find out if they are participating in Tree Day and if they can help with your site.

  • Local community groups and service clubs (eg Lions, Rotary, Apex, RSLs etc) may provide support in the form of refreshments or even a BBQ for volunteers or help on the ground. Some groups may donate funds for seedlings or mulch, arrange tools, provide signage, or help with set up and marshalling on the day.

  • Lions Clubs are key supporters of Tree Day. Call us on 1300 88 5000 to get in touch with your nearest Lions Club, or contact the Lions National Tree Day Coordinator via email using our contact form. Please note: Any requests for Lions BBQs need to be made by one month prior to your event for National Tree Day activities.
  • Involve your local sports club. Maybe there's a local game being played and you could ask the players and spectators to lend a hand?

  • Ask local businesses to assist with your site. They may be able to help you pay for your seedlings, mulch or other supplies for the day such as gloves and trowels or food and drinks. Think broadly - local hardware shops, milk bars, cafes, supermarkets, produce stores, butchers shops, bakeries, fruit and veg stores may all be able to contribute ‘in kind' donations.

  • Know a local group of musicians, a clown, a wildlife handler or a performer who could add to your event? A live performance always goes well with a BBQ when all the plants are in the ground.

  • Approach a local Park Ranger or Bushcare Officer (or rep from the Botanical Gardens, Landcare, Greening Australia, Trees For Life (SA), Men of the Trees (WA) or other reputable environmental agency) to give a talk, demonstration or workshop for your participants.

  • Tree Day is a great opportunity to spread messages about caring for habitat. Perhaps you can locate an Environmental educator to run environmental games and activities as part of your Tree Day event.

You can also register a request for assistance or see what help is available on our Sharing Resources web pages.

If you gain worthwhile support, be sure to let us know when you enter your results!

What do I need to do on the day?

Allocate on-the-day tasks, which will include:
Someone to position the seedlings. Do this early to ensure that plants go in the ground where you want them to!

  • Make sure volunteers know where to go when they arrive.
  • Allocate someone to coordinate volunteer registration.

Organise someone to demonstrate how to plant and to oversee the planting and Occupational Health and Safety on the site. See our How to Plant a Tree video for a demonstration of how to plant trees for the best chance of survival.

Someone to organize a team of volunteers for watering and other finishing-up tasks such as collecting empty pots and any equipment.

  • For insurance purposes, please make sure everyone fills in the 'Volunteer Registration Form'.
  • Someone (preferably qualified) to be responsible for first aid with access to a first aid kit.
  • Someone to take photos (maybe before and after shots and revisit the site a few months later).
  • Someone to organise the refreshments
  • Get someone to call the local media and check they're coming.

Planting demonstrations for volunteers!

Show your volunteers how to plant trees, shrubs or grasses and make sure they are comfortable with this before you leave them to plant on their own. It is vital that you do this to make sure your plants get the best possible start in life! Common issues are digging holes too small and damaging roots when removing seedlings from their pots. See our How to Plant page for more advice.

What do I need to do after the day?

Results and forms collating

  • How many trees, shrubs and groundcovers were planted at your site?
  • How many volunteers helped out?
  • Can any volunteers help out with watering and weeding over the coming weeks?
  • Did everyone sign in on the 'Volunteer Registration Forms'?

Send these and your 'Results Registration Form' to Planet Ark via fax 02 8484 7222 or post to: National Tree Day, PO Box R988, Royal Exchange, NSW 1225.

You can also register your results online or by phoning the National Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000.

After Care and Maintenance

Make sure some of your site volunteers (or perhaps a school, Scout, Guide or Lions group) can water the seedlings on a regular basis until they get established (8 weeks or longer if rains fail).

If you plant them, you need to look after them. It's a great opportunity to watch them grow!

You can register additional dates for follow-up visits to your site. Remember Tree Day is not just about tree planting. You can register for a range of activities such as follow-up maintenance at your planting site, bush regeneration, interpretive walks and seed collecting. 

You could also take pictures for a photo-diary to document the progress of your site. It's a good idea to take the photos from the same spot over a period of months or even years.

Celebrate your achievements! But please don't forget to look after the plants beyond the day.

How can I manage volunteer numbers?

If you run a busy public site and need to plan catering and equipment supplies or to control the numbers of people attending your site, you can utilise the RSVP section on your site registration page. You can choose to enter a contact name, phone number and/or email address just for RSVPs. Note that your email address will be hidden from public view for your security and volunteers will respond using our contact form.

You may also choose not to enter full site details so that people have to RSVP to you first and then they get all your site details. This helps you control the numbers attending.

If you find your site is attracting too many volunteers then contact the Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000 and they can remove your site details from our Find a Site listing.

What about accidents and incidents?

In case of an accident, act responsibly and logically. If the accident is serious, or you are in any doubt please call an ambulance or doctor.

For any incident, big or small, please fill out an 'Accident/Incident Report Form' and notify the National Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000.

Schools

I'm a teacher who is new to Tree Day, what do I do?

First, visit the Schools section of the site. Read about Schools Tree Day and consider reading some Stories to Inspire to give you a general idea of the feel of Tree Day and what it involves. If you want to find out how to organise a site, download the Schools Getting Started Guide and Schools Activities Guide from our Schools page. This should give you a comprehensive introduction to Schools Tree Day. 

Does Planet Ark supply us with trees for our site?

No, Planet Ark does not supply trees.

Where can I get plants?

Site coordinators arrange the plants for Tree Day sites. It's important to try and source local native plants for the to ensure the best environmental outcomes for your site. See our "Local Native Plants" page in the Environmental Benefits section for more information.

Planet Ark can help you locate suitable nurseries and provide contacts at your local council to find local native seedlings. Find out what kind of plants are native to your area, which ones would be suitable for your site and where to get them. Here are some leads to follow:

  • Your local council. Usually your local Bushcare or Environmental Officer has the most up-to-date information on local suppliers of indigenous plants, and many councils have their own native nursery and may give seedlings away to schools and community groups for Tree Day plantings. They can also advise about where would be a good place to plant trees and they may know of local nurseries and environmental groups who can help you. Please get in touch with councils early to avoid disappointment. Call our National Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000 or email us to find out who to talk to at your local council.
  • Local environmental groups can offer advice and assistance in sourcing plants eg Landcare, Coastcare, Bushcare (click on "Bushcare Volunteering") and Greening Australia.
  • Local community or native nurseries. Many councils support community nurseries who specialize in propagating local native species from seed. Call our National Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000 for assistance with finding a nursery that specializes in native plants local to you.
  • To learn more about native flora and find groups in your area, visit the national website of the Australian Native Plants Society. The ANPSA are a national organisation but they have regional and district groups that can be contacted if you need additional advice.

Please make sure you make enquiries early to source your plants in time.

What type of plants should we use?

Planet Ark recommends that you only plant local natives. Local natives are perfectly suited to the local soil type and climate, and they're also great for wildlife. Other plants, even if they are Australian natives (but not local to your area) risk becoming a weed. To find plants native to your local area call your council or the Planet Ark hotline on 1300 88 5000.

What is a site coordinator?

The site coordinator is the person responsible for organising the Tree Day event. They are responsible for registering their site with Planet Ark, sourcing plants, organising the provision of tools and equipment, ensuring that the suitable forms are completed by students' parents or guardians and in the general coordination of the day. They are also responsible for the ongoing site maintenance and ensuring all the plants are looked after properly.

What do I do after I register?

When you first register, you are registering yourself as a site coordinator only. This means that you have given us your contact details and been sent your login details, but you still need to add your site to be insured and included in the National Tree Day results. Log in (using the details emailed) and go to your Coordinator Home page and follow the steps provided. 

Do I have to plant on the actual School Tree Day date?

No. Schools are not restricted to Planet Ark's insured dates - you can plant at any time that suits your local weather conditions and your curriculum!

Note: Your school's insurance must cover tree planting activities if you plant on a date that is not insured by Planet Ark.

Visit our Insurance For Schools page for more information.

Do the students need to sign on the Volunteer Registration form?

No - for student activities on insured dates the class role provides proof of attendance - we do not need a copy of this since the school keeps their own records.

The Volunteer Registration form is only required for any additional volunteers (such as teachers & parents) not included on the class role or otherwise registered by the school, where the planting is on a date insured by Planet Ark. On other dates it is up to the school to provide insurance cover for students and additional participants.

Do I need to provide a photo release for the students?

If your school has a 'blanket media release' for your students, just let us know and we'll note it on your records.