Tree Levy provides real growth

An oasis of native trees, shrubs and grasses has flourished at an inner Sydney school after it received a Tree Levy Grant from Federation eight years ago.

As a result of receiving the grant in 2012, Erskineville Public School began the process of developing an Indigenous garden program featuring edible or ornamental native plants.

Teacher Alusha Newnham- Kell said that the grant paid for native trees to be planted for shade while enhancing the school’s appearance from the main road.

“We wanted native trees that would provide shade along the edges of the top playground, particularly in our passive play areas,” Ms Newnham-Kell said.

“As the trees have grown they have started to provide more shade along the front fence of our top playground, where students enjoy playing and resting beneath during lunch time. Receiving the Tree Levy in 2012 was the catalyst for the subsequent planting of a range of native plants throughout the playground over the next five years. Improving our school grounds by planting native shrubs and grasses has encouraged more insects and birdlife to our school, increasing the biodiversity of our school environment. It also allows our teachers to plan science, gardening and cooking lessons using the school environment as a resource.”

The Tree Levy is an annual grants scheme that Federation funds to offset the environmental impact of the union’s activities via a notional levy on the paper used. This provides funding for the purchase of native trees and woody shrubs for planting in public school grounds. Applications open in term 2 and details of this year’s grant will be posted on Federation’s website.