A heartfelt tree planting tribute to celebrate Mother's Day

By Katie Loughran 22 May 2024

Mother’s Day is a special occasion dedicated to honouring the women who have shaped our lives with their love, care and wisdom. While flowers and cards are traditional gifts of appreciation, Penrith City Council saw an opportunity to celebrate Mother’s Day in a unique and meaningful way, by hosting a tree planting event.

By organising a tree planting event for Mother's Day, families can come together to create lasting memories while making a positive impact on the planet. It's an opportunity to instill values of environmental stewardship and community engagement in children, teaching them the importance of caring for the Earth and honouring their mothers' legacy.

The event began when a community member approached the council with a request to plant a tree in memory of her mother who had passed away. Jess Whittick, Bushcare Program Officer at Penrith Council, described the planting as a space where individuals can return throughout the year to visit and reminisce about their loved ones.

“We get a lot of people that come down for the day that no longer have their loved one and they find it hard to do something on the day, so this gives them a space to come and remember,” says Jess. Over the last handful of years, Penrith Council has opened the event to invite community members to plant for their mum, aunt, grandmother or mother figure, with the Bushcare team wanting to include all types of family makeups at the event.

In the 17 years since Penrith Council started hosting the event, the Trees for Mum planting event has only grown in popularity. At their 2024 event over 500 community members volunteered their time to plant a tree, which meant the event saw over 400 trees planted. What makes this event special is that every person participating in the event can handwrite a special message to their loved one that they can tie to their tree. This year, the event had a record number of attendees from inside and outside the local government area. “We have people who attend our Trees for Mum events every year, but we’re seeing more and more new community members register and attend,” says Jess. “Most of our attendees this year were from the Penrith Local Government Area, with 74% never having attended the event before.”

Hollier Reserve in Emu Plains was chosen as the venue of this year’s event. “The reserve is nestled in Emu Plains and has a strong local community who use this reserve frequently. We felt that it was a great choice of venue, because the trees would only assist in nurturing its already existing diverse native flora and fauna and Jamison Creek, which runs through it. By planting trees in this area, we enhance the riparian area and overall biodiversity.” says Jess.  

  Community members could choose from a variety of natives with the assistance of information cards showing the tree’s features. Each section of plant pots explained the tree inside, and people could see an image of what it looked like fully grown. Natives included (Indigofera australis), the Purple Coral Pea (Hardenbergia violacea) and the Native Hibiscus (Hibiscus heterophyllus), which were available so that people could choose a native that had flowers with their mum's favourite colour.  

While this year Mother’s Day has come and gone, the trees planted will continue to grow, serving as living testaments to the love and appreciation we hold for our mothers and the natural world. As these saplings flourish, we can be reminded of the enduring bond between mothers and their children, and the responsibility we bear to nurture and protect the planet we call home.   

Penrith City Council hosts a myriad of planting events throughout the year, including a Father’s Day planting, so be sure to check their ‘What’s On’ page for upcoming events. If you aren’t near Penrith, you can see what’s happening in your local area by heading to our ‘Join a planting’ page.  

Katie Loughran
Katie has a broad experience in non-profit program management and communications. Outside of work, she finds joy in gardening, cooking, and hiking. With a passion for animals and environmental conservation, she often spends her weekends volunteering at her local dog shelter and participating in beach clean-ups. Katie's goal is to see 30 million trees planted for National Tree Day.