Getting grubby to go green

Liam Durkin

CHILDREN from Loch Sport Primary School delighted in doing their bit for the environment on Friday, assisting Gippsland Water at its Dutson Downs property to plant trees for the nationwide Schools Tree Day.

The young botanists were given a crash course on a variety of tree species, before putting on a pair of gloves and getting to work with buckets, spades and hand planters to help reduce Gippsland Water’s carbon footprint.

The trees planted will still be standing in years to come, in what will be a strong visual representation of what their generation did to combat climate change.

Loch Sport Primary School principal Damian Lappin said the school was happy to support environmental initiatives.

“Last year we helped with the New Holland mouse count for Gippsland Water, and then they invited us to help with the tree planting because we showed an interest in conservation and land care,” he said.

“Connection to the local community is important, we drive past this land [at Dutson Downs] every day so we want to know what’s going on here.

“We’re trying to plant our own trees [at the school] so this is a good way to get some insight effectively.”

Gippsland Water plans to plant 92,000 native trees in total at the Dutson Downs property, before the end of August.

So far, more than 45,000 of the 92,000 individual trees are in the ground.

Its contractor, Indigenous Design, along with subcontractors from Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, have been planting native flora since the start of July.

The variety of trees to be planted include black wattles, silver banksias and Gippsland red gums.

Gippsland Water managing director Sarah Cumming said it was pleasing to share the companies project with the next generation.

“They will benefit most from the carbon-reducing programs we implement,” she said.

“As they continue to grow, these trees will absorb carbon from the air, reducing the level of greenhouse gases that reach our atmosphere.

“This carbon offset project is just one of the ways we are reducing our overall carbon emissions to reach our goal of a 24 per cent emissions reduction by 2025.

“Another project, as laid out in our Energy Management Strategy, is the installation of more than 1800 solar panels across three of our sites. This project is currently underway.”

Current contractors are planting 500 trees each day at the Dutson Downs site.