We love it when creative people harness their powers for the good of us all. Why not sing or laugh and save the planet at the same time? This is the approach two Ballarat groups took earlier this year when they combined entertainment with environmentalism. Both the Ballarat Bar Choir and BallaRatCat Comedy partnered with Fifteen Trees to make their event a little more meaningful.
On February 1st, 2020, fifty members of the Ballarat Bar Choir got together at the Hop Temple, and, under the enthusiastic guidance of choir masters Paige, Mary, and Harri, let loose. They raised their collective voices for David Bowie, sang their hearts out to Major Tom, and donated enough money to plant thirty-five trees.
BallaRatCat Comedy, a group that has been going strong since 2013, has dedicated a number of its monthly comedy nights at The George Hotel to the climate emergency over the past year. Even with covid bringing things to a halt they’ve raised enough to plant 50 trees. BallaRatCat might be all about the laughs, but they’re also deadly serious about the planet. As the group states clearly on their website, it ‘stands in solidarity with all those demanding climate justice and action’. Just as we do at Fifteen Trees.
All the event-based trees have now been planted at Avon Plains, VIC. One day, they will be habitat; home and food and protection for insects, birds, and native animals. They’ll be one small part of rebuilding a landscape degraded by human activity and challenging climate conditions.
This year I moved back onto the family farm, attracted by the prospect of farming in a regenerative way that reduces synthetic inputs and fosters natural systems. Part of the plan is to have a greater percentage of the farm under native vegetation to help increase biodiversity and the many benefits it brings. Shelter belts of native trees and shrubs are to be established and the costs and labour associated with such an undertaking are not insignificant. The support Fifteen Trees has helped to make this task possible particularly when plans to have friends from Melbourne help in the big task of planting, guarding and watering the trees had to be abandoned when the Covid restrictions were introduced.
These trees are the first to be planted for some years and will provide many benefits for all. They help to create a wind break for those chilling southerlys and they link the river with an older line of trees. They have been planted in rows of 5 so will provide enough density to offer shelter for the smaller birds. The diversity of species will mean there is a more consistent food source as different plants flower at differing times of the year.
Dougal McAllister | Member | Buloke and Northern Grampians Landcare Network (BNGLN)
Fighting climate change doesn’t always have to be hard yakka. It can be full of joy. You can do it laughing, you can do it singing; you can do it in a pub or at a bar; you can do it on your own or in a mad assembly of tuneful Bowie fans. The important thing is, as both the Bar Choir and BallaRatCat Comedy appreciate, is that we keep doing it. As much or as little as we can.
Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk about how you can incorporate tree planting into your event. Contact Melinda at <[email protected]>
Writer – Sarah Hart.