The Wagga Wagga community is enjoying a seedling giveaway program by the city council in an attempt to have 65,000 native seedlings planted throughout the area before 2026.
The One Tree for Me initiative launched in 2021 with council workers handing out seeds at Harris Park in Mount Austin.
The giveaway will be held in different suburbs monthly between now and the end of September.
The council is hoping that across the six-year plan, every resident of Wagga Wagga will plant at least one seed.
Environmental education officer Christina Reid believes the giveaway will give native plants a new life in Wagga Wagga and its surrounds.
“Our community has embraced the One Tree for Me initiative over the past two years and we expect it will be just as popular this time around,” Ms Reid said.
“We’ve already achieved more than 22,000 native seedlings planted within the community and this year, over our four free events, we expect to give away another 8000 seedlings.”
Ms Reid said the council would try to choose a new location each month to reach as many people as possible while also allowing everyone to access the giveaway.
“To receive the seedlings, all you have to do is turn up within the allotted time and we will give you a bag containing five seedlings, and best of all, it’s all free!” she said.
As part of its Maldhangilanha 2020-2023 biodiversity strategy, the council is set on protecting and enhancing local and native plants.
“We’ve carefully selected plants that are native to the local area and are suited to thrive in the Wagga Wagga climate,” Ms Reid said.
“They’re also designed to support any type of native wildlife that you may find in your backyard, such as birds and other pollinators, such as bees, butterflies or even our microbats.
“Our focus here is urban backyards – so we don’t hand out any big trees that may interfere with power lines or sewerage works. We have other tree-planting activities for the bigger trees, for areas that can handle bigger species.”
The council has provided tips on how to create a biodiverse space in your backyard, including: planting flowers at different times of the year; planting a variety of ground covers (e.g. shrubs, trees and animal shelters); providing a water source; and keeping cats inside between dusk and dawn.