Each year since 1997, Kiama High Geography teacher Paul Berry has been organising for Year 7 students to participate in a Tree Planting Day.
“It’s always held in August, around National Tree Day, as an exercise in active citizenship,” he says.
“At school we teach them what they should do to help the environment – this is a day when we go out and get our hands dirty.”
170 students were distributed over seven locations this year, some looked after by Landcare groups – including Bombo Headland, the Seven Mile Beach dunes, Shoalhaven Heads Golf Club, and the Kiama Community Gardens; some by Council – Spring Creek and Minnamurra Rain Forest; and a private property on Swamp Road.
“The hard work of maintaining the area is done by the Landcare groups and Council,” says Mr Berry.
“We just mobilise an army once a year to help with the planting.”
With around 800-1000 trees planted each year, over 22 years, the initiative has had a significant and lasting impact.
It was started in the early 1990s, by another teacher John Brown.
Mr Berry got involved in his second year at the school.
“Some of the teachers I work with planted trees when they were in Year 7.
“It’s great to see the tradition continue.
“It truely is a community partnership between the School, Council and the Landcare groups.
“All parties enjoy being involved.”