Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek took a shovel to the ground last week, bringing a new tree to Sydney Secondary College in Glebe while meeting with students to discuss the environment. Sydney Secondary College’s Blackwattle campus students welcomed Plibersek and a grevillea tree to be planted in their Indigenous garden, celebrating School Tree Day on July 29.
The students asked Plibersek questions about a range of subjects relating to their experiences with urban environments and sustainability.
Tanya Plibersek visited Sydney Secondary School and discussed environmental issues. Photo: Mark Dickson.
“It’s wonderful to talk to such enthusiastic, intelligent, young people who really have an interest in the environment” Plibersek said.
“They want to know why we haven’t done more as a country to arrest threatened species decline, to make sure that we protect our environment. And I think that’s a very good question.”
“They’ve got 60 or 80 years of living on this planet ahead of them” she said. “They want to know that the adults looking after it for them”.
Student representatives and Deputy Principal Jan Cuke gathered around the campus’ Indigenous Garden, which is filled with a variety of native plants, to plant the new grevillea.
Students gather at the Indigenous Garden at Sydney Secondary College Blackwattle Bay Campus, to plant a tree for School Tree Day. Photo: Mark Dickson.
“The school has used a number of community grants that we’ve got from both federal and state to start the planting of garden” Ms Cuke said.
Ms Cuke spoke to the importance of having gardens and outdoor spaces on school campus.
“Even though we are in a really beautiful environment, it’s really important for us to have more and more green spaces.”
Everyone can “make a difference” says Plibersek
School Tree day and National Tree Day come just a week after the State of the Environment report for 2021, a national report assessing the overall condition of Australia’s natural environment, revealed concerning data about the deterioration of eco-systems and the negative impacts of climate change.
Plibersek said that “the real purpose of a tree planting event like this is to remind people that whoever you are, wherever you live, you can do your bit to protect and enhance the environment”.
“The indigenous garden shows that it doesn’t matter where you are, you can create habitat for native species and you can contribute to your natural environment”.
“Each one of us has the ability to make a difference in our in our immediate surroundings.”