This year marks Lane Cove National Park’s decade of involvement in National Tree Day. Lane Cove is one of Sydney's northern suburbs and the park provides beautiful suburban oasis for residents and visitors.
We talk to Tony Butteriss from Friends of Lane Cove National Park, who has been site coordinator for six of those years. Tony shared his passion for Tree Day and the value it brings to his community.
Why do you participate in Tree Day and why is it important to you personally?
The high profile of National Tree Day helps us reach people who we would not normally reach, particularly families. It is important in helping to re-establish habitat in degraded areas and personally as the coordinator of a number of grants it is important in helping to reach the number of hours and participants that Friends have committed to when applying for those grants.
What value does it bring to your community?
It is helping to re-establish habitat in previously degraded areas, helping to maintain the park for future generations. It also helps to bring a sense of community and particularly with the younger participants it can lead to a lifelong interest in and possible future participation in environmental projects
Why would you encourage volunteers to come along and join in the activities?
We find that many volunteers have very little knowledge of the Australian bush and joining National Tree Day can start to give them a little more knowledge. With knowledge comes more understanding. The day is also great for getting people working together to achieve what they see as a real benefit for the environment.
What are the main benefits for your group or organisation by participating in National Tree Day?
The direct benefit of the number of plants planted and areas revegetated. The indirect benefit of meeting the requirements for grant providers, such as the number of volunteers and number of hours worked. Also the possibility of introducing new long term regular volunteers to our organisation.
How can people help your organisation throughout the year?
They could join one of our regular bushcare groups. Friends of Lane Cove National Park have around 20 bushcare sites throughout the park. There is one working virtually every day, some meet weekly and others monthly. It is a good way to learn more about the bush and particularly beneficial for retirees keeping both body and mind active.
Since your involvement, how have you seen the event and local area develop?
I have been coordinating the National Tree Day site for the last six years, initially we had around 30 volunteers which has built up over time. Last year, thanks to a group from the University of Technology, Sydney, we had achieved a record with around 120 volunteers and over 1,200 plants planted.
What are your plans for this year?
Similar to last year, we will be a little further along River Avenue and UTS have promised to return. As always we’ll provide refreshments and a sausage sizzle at the end of the day.
What advice would you offer to those thinking about becoming a Tree Day Coordinator?
Get as much local publicity as you can. You will need lots of tools - ours come from the National Park and think about the cost of your plants can you grow them. Friends of LCNP grow many of our own and the remainder we normally fund from grants all are from locally collected seed.
What is your favourite thing about the day?
The children, it is really encouraging to think that a future generation is taking an interest. Hopefully they will be able to come back to see the trees that they have planted mature and maybe go on to help the environment in the future.