HANDS ON: Zero Emissions Byron chair Vicki Brooke with Alice Moffet.
HANDS ON: Zero Emissions Byron chair Vicki Brooke with Alice Moffet. Mike Frey Photography

Mission to plant 1.8 million new trees in Byron Shire

BEFORE the strong winds and heat had set in on Saturday morning, about 140 people turned up at a private property in Quarry Lane, Ewingsdale, for a community tree-planting day to mark the launch of Zero Emissions Byron's latest endeavour, RePlant Byron.

"RePlant Byron aims to plant 1.8 million trees in Byron Shire to accelerate our transition to zero emissions by 2025," ZEB chair Vicki Brooke said.

"Once planted, that will draw down 15-20 per cent of Byron Shire's carbon emissions and help to restore habitat and ecosystems."

The event saw 2,403 seedlings from Firewheel Native Nursery planted in ground prepared by Rossco Faithfull and the crew from East Coast Bush Regeneration.

"We're thrilled that the cost of the seedlings has been met under the Koala Home Restoration program with NRMA Insurance, managed by Community Volunteers Australia," Ms Brooke said.

"While many landowners are keen to restore habitat on their properties, the cost of planting and maintenance is high, so this donation is a great help.

"Currently we can't plant any more trees until the drought breaks as there's not enough water to keep them alive.

"We're just fortunate that the Ewingsdale property has permanent water."

Student activist Mia Thom, one of the organisers of last month's School Strike for Climate Action described it as " a crucial day".

"Our actions mark the antidote," Mia said.

"Taking positive action on climate change flies in the face of a government who refuse to take action. This is the time to make powerful change."

Being Byron, there was no lack of high-profile attendees. These days, pro tennis star Pat Rafter was interested in planting trees and he told the crowd he was clearing camphors and planning regeneration on his local 70 acres.

Southern Cross University's Dr Kevin Glencross, a long-term forest re-planter, regards Byron as "one of the great hubs of biodiversity on the planet".

"We are the custodians, along with elders such as the hoop pines," he said.

Dr Glencross said he was proud to be part of a community that established a project like RePlant Byron and was impressed with the number of optimistic young people present facing climate change challenges.

For more information, go to zerobyron.org/land-use/ replant-byron.

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