In 1996 Planet Ark and Olivia Newton-John decided to join forces and drum up some much-needed attention for the Australian landscape. Since its inception 14 years ago, National Tree Day has seen more than 2 million volunteers roll up their sleeves, plunge their hands in the dirt, and plant a whopping 13 million native trees and shrubs at sites all over the country. After consulting a lot of experts, Planet Ark settled on July as the best time of year for a nation-wide tree planting event, though Australia is a vast country and variations in climate mean it won't suit every region. Check the FAQs portion of the website, which provides an additional 12 dates to accommodate planting and follow-up activities at different times of the year.
As well as providing a day of jolly good fun getting covered in filth, National Tree Day aims to educate about land care and remind us not to take the bush for granted. Restoring bushland supports native animals, combats climate change and water salinity, prevents soil erosion and provides us with much-needed clean air in urbanised areas.
Everybody is encouraged to get involved with their local environment, whether as an individual, school, community group or family. You'll feel good about supporting an excellent cause, and even better, help offset carbon emissions and beautify the natural world.
There are plenty of ways to get involved, including coordinating your own Tree Day planting site or volunteering with one of the thousands of sites already registered. If you can't make it out on the day there are other ways you can offer support. Head to the website to find a site near you by entering your post code.
Don't worry if you're unsure which plants are suitable for the various sites. National Tree Day coordinators have carefully sourced plants that are suited to each specific site and will provide them on the day. There couldn't be a better way to improve our natural surroundings than this, Australia's biggest community tree-planting event.