CAFS (Child and Family Services Ballarat) is a familiar presence in Ballarat. There are tens of thousands of people from all different backgrounds who have found CAFS a safe place to land during life’s challenges. CAFS is there for everyone who needs it.

We are so touched to find that CAFS’ culture of care extends to the environment as well. This year, to pay tribute to local First Nations communities during NAIDOC Week, CAFS has partnered with Fifteen Trees to plant 420 trees.

The trees went to 3 Ballarat sites:

  1. Magpie PS 100 trees
  2. Ross Creek PS 120 trees
  3. Leigh Creek 200

The 420 trees represent the staff and carers who work for CAFS. It’s been such a tough year.  Without the dedication of social services staff, as well as the amazing generosity of kinship and foster carers, it would have been an even harder one for many. It’s also been a difficult year for the land, those who love it, and anyone who values the living culture surrounding us. We’ve endured devasting bushfires, been broken-hearted at the destruction of priceless indigenous rock art, and, closer to home, felt sickened by the continued threat to beloved and sacred trees at Djab Warrung near Ararat. So many of us are feeling the urge to help and to heal, and there is no better place to start than the earth at our feet.

 

Trees ready for planting.

 

Site 1. One hundred (100) of the trees were planted at Magpie Primary School during NAIDOC week, one for each child.

 

 

We would like to thank CAFS Ballarat for donating 100 native plants to Magpie Primary School. This donation was kindly organised through Fifteen Trees. This donation has allowed our school to create a native garden within our school grounds, which helps us to build a strong connection with our Indigenous community.

Our native garden will be a space where students, staff and the wider community can gather and make connections with the traditional owners of this land. Our school will use this space for story-time, making ceremonies and native cooking.

Our students planted these trees during NAIDOC Week. They thoroughly enjoyed getting their hands dirty while creating a beautiful outdoor space.

Casey Woolfe | Teacher | Magpie Primary School

 

Site 2. Two hundred (200) trees went into the ground at Ross Creek Primary School, organised by Trevor & Rosemary Barnett and the team behind Ross Creek Landcare. The aim of the planting is to revegetate the surrounding paddocks with native trees and create a sustainable link between the school wetlands and the Ross Creek Nature Reserve.

 

Ross Creek.

 

Site 3. One hundred and forty (140) trees were planted by Nick McKinley and the Leigh Creek Landcare group. These trees were integrated into a bigger project where numerous landholders are protecting and enhancing remnant vegetation by planting indigenous trees, which were supplied by the Sutherland Trust Nursery. The trees were a mixture of Gum trees (Manna, River Red, Swamp, Yellow and Yarra), Sheoaks, Messmates, wattles and tea trees (Woolly, River).

 

The beautiful western skies over the Leigh Creek district.

 

The theme of NAIDOC Week 2020 was Always was, always will be. First Nations people have cared for this island nation and its inhabitants for over 65,000 years. It is moving to see an organisation like CAFS finding truth in the meaning of Always was, always will be by supporting the land alongside its people.

 

CAFs would like to recognise that the land on which it operates ‘Always Was, Always Will Be‘ Aboriginal land. We feel that the tree plantings is the perfect way to pay our respects. By sponsoring the planting of the 420 trees, we hope to raise awareness about the importance of caring for and protecting our natural resources and living culture.

CAFs | CEO | Wendy Sturgess

 

Every one of those trees will provide habitat, stabilise the soil, be a home for native fauna, and give pleasure to the human community for years to come.

 

 

 

Writer – Sarah Hart.

Sarah is an artist whose passions include the stories and experiences of women and narrative driven creative work. Her aim is to delight, to reveal glimpses of everyday beauty, and to celebrate flights of the ordinary. Sarah works across a range of media, with an abiding interest in pen and ink, mixed media and the human form. You can find Sarah here.