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Planting the seeds of care for the environment as Torres Strait schools celebrate National Tree Day

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) joined with Tagai Colleges and Sacred Heart school to celebrate National Tree Day on Friday 27 July 2018.

The event was coordinated by the TSRA Environmental Management Program’s Landcare Facilitator, George Saveka and Environment Education Coordinator Tim Hillier, with support from the TSRA Rangers in connection with theTorres Strait Horticulture in Schools Program.

The TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said the event showed that nature and technology could be friends, a message that aims to encourage technologically savvy younger generations to connect with nature.

“The TSRA Land and Sea Management Unit (LSMU) have worked in collaboration with the schools to provide an educational experience with the message to get out and enjoy nature,” Mr Stephen said.

“The TSRA would like to thank all the schools that participated in National Tree Day 2018 and for continuing with the Torres Strait Horticulture in Schools Program so it continues to be a sustainable endeavour.”

National Tree Day aligns with the TSRA Land and Sea Management Unit’s Horticulture in Schools Program, which is encouraging the Torres Strait community to learn gardening skills in order to plant more trees, cultivate their own fruits and vegetables, and reduce waste.

Activities on the day included class presentations that required hands-on participation from the kids as they the assembled and planted out a wicking bed (self-watering garden planter) and assembling established worm farm and mulch beds.

The Horticulture in Schools program, in conjunction with the TSRA ranger program, have run more than 30 gardening activities in schools, day-care centres and special-needs centres on 17 islands over the last 12 months.

All schools in the region have received gardening resources to improve their skills and passion for sustainable garden practices.

Mr Saveka said the program educates students and teachers about the importance of looking after trees and gardens as well as other green-space recreational areas using both traditional methods and modern horticulture practices.

“Our rangers have been out conducting activities with schools supporting the Horticulture in Schools program, and the National Tree Day as one of the activities on their yearly calendar,” Mr Saveka said.

“One of the key benefits of celebrating National Tree Day is simply providing an opportunity to do something positive for our community and connect our future generations with nature.”

“Tree planting is a good reminder for all of us about the importance of preserving our natural environment for future generations as trees contribute to the environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate improvement, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife.”

The TSRA LSMU has started a project with communities to undertake community shade tree projects bring the benefits of trees to outer island communities to build resilience in the face of climate change.

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