It’s fair to say 2020 hasn’t gone quite like anyone had planned.

Of course, there’s the underlying fear of the virus itself and what it can do. But the truly novel, unsettling thing the pandemic has done to us is to fundamentally upset our sense of connection. How do we support each other if we can’t be in the same place? If we don’t even have the possibility of being in the same place? If we can’t even set a date? How can we encourage each other to dream about a future when we don’t currently know what that future will look like?

It might take us a while to work that out. But there’s true connection to be found in the meantime. It’s close to home, it’s humble, and it will give you hope.

We’re talking about the power of small actions. Palm-sized acts of generosity that make up a circle of connection. Acts of faith in us and in the future, whatever that may look like.

You might draw a rainbow in chalk on a path. You might drop a postcard into a letterbox while you’re out walking – your garden makes me happy. You might rediscover mail and post letters. You might pick up the phone more often, have a little more empathy, smile behind the mask, tell a stranger they look amazing in that outfit (with that mask)!

Our small gestures of faith, of course, are trees. Planting in areas devastated by bushfires or decades of negligent environmental practices. Creating habitat and bringing back native ecosystems. Over the past 6 months, kindhearted individuals have purchased 1415 trees for our community groups. We recently planted all trees in Tasmania, with the assistance of LandcareTAS, 590 trees went into the ground at Redbank Farm and another 825 were planted at Guns Plains.

 

Redbank Farm

 

Adopting a nature conservation management plan in 1998, Redbank Farm seeks to address some of the regional Landcare issues such as localised over-clearing, erosion and water pollution. The steeper areas have been revegetated with native species to create wildlife corridors between bushland remnants. Creeks and waterways have been fenced and revegetated with local species.

The 100 hectares of native bushland contains some of the most pristine remnant forest in the region, including white gum forests, blackwood stands and valuable old habitat trees. The farm also hosts a family of wedge-tailed eagles and the threatened freshwater lobster and burrowing crayfish live in local creeks.

Peter Stronach | Acting CEO | LandcareTAS

 

The Laskey Family from Guns Plain. TAS

 

Planting took place in early June, on a north-facing eroding watercourse on the slopes above Guns Plains Road. The distribution of the various species over the site was based on advice from Peter Stronach (LandcareTAS). Hardier species were planted on the west because of the prevailing winds and the complete exposure of the site. Our team mainly consisted of three people and the two younger members kindly did most of the mattock work and stake hammering.

We thank all the generous supporters of Fifteen Trees. This planting would not have taken place without you.

Laskey Family.

 

Trees from individuals.

We need to thank the following amazing individuals who have purchased 15 trees for us to plant on their behalf: Jake Brunt, Walt Colins, Wendy Jarvis, Robert Rosen, Aurora Kurth, Pauline Clancy, Nicole McMaster, John Morgan, Norian Rundle, Petrina Tankel, Kate Souter, Megan Holman, Rosa Misitano, Donovan Smith, Caroline Spruce, Johnny Heneghan, Rachel Challis, Sarah Brennan, Beth Lamont, David Minty, Peter Volakos, Keith Rhodes, Germain Briand, Stephen, Heather Fizz, James G. Millwood, Christopher Kemp, Ben Lockyer, Brooke Vogt, Bronwyn Blaiklock, Lap Chieu, Drew Mason, Robert Simmonds, Alexander Morrow, Francis Hofheins, Robin Ashmore and John Bailey. Fifteen Trees also had 15 trees planted on the behalf of ACU student Sarah Calleija as a prize for coming first in The Climate Quiz, and another 15 trees for our Instagram friends whom we inadvertently spammed! Sorry guys.

Thank you to Dan Nunan for running a fundraiser at his daughter’s school. Together they have helped us plant 20 trees. Phil Kalluri purchased 30 trees, thank you Phil. Thank you to Kylie Lewis, Antony Swingler, Jessica Wilson, Victoria Jennings and Michael Dixon for all purchasing 45 trees. Thank you to Emily Paige Duggan for purchasing 50 trees and Heike Raunow for your purchase of 60 trees. Thank you also to Mereki Walker and AGL for purchasing 100 trees as a contribution to their Health and Wellbeing Expo.

Trees from businesses.

Thank you also to 5 business, Andriano Cortese from Ranters Theatre, Sue Harling from Designer Blinds to You, Karri Flood from The Planter Pod, Ellen Burns from We Bar None and Paul Hellier Fair Food Forager for each purchasing 15 trees to ensure their businesses continue to care for the earth. Big thank you Leanne Jack (Second Source) for purchasing 75 trees. One tree for every second-hand garment sold via her on-line shop.

Trees as gifts.

Thank you to the following for purchasing trees as gifts to loved ones.

Helen Page purchased 15 trees as a gift for Rachel Page, Simon Brown, Reuben and Fergus. Peter McCracken gave 15 trees as a gift to Mary Drew. Freya Job purchased 15 trees as wedding gift. Rose Harrison purchased 15 trees for brother-in-law’s birthday and 15 trees as a valentine’s gift for her husband. Nat Atherden purchased 15 trees each as gifts for Isabel Wolfgang Taylor, Zephlyn Taylor and Jazpah Alford. Jessica Clarke purchased 15 trees as a gift for fiancé Sam Miller and Han Hayman has purchased 45 trees as gifts for relatives.

Trees in memory.

And finally, sadly we have planted trees in memory of 4 beautiful souls. G.J. Gardner Homes requested 15 trees to be planted on the behalf of Mark and Karen Pemmelaar in memory of Mark’s father, who died earlier this year and another 15 trees planted on the behalf of Wally Wade from Horsham. Sincere condolences to both families from everyone at G.J. Gardner Homes VIC/TAS. Richarda regularly purchases trees for her father Andy and we have planted another 30 trees in his memory.

And 38 trees were planted in memory of Amber by AUIDF members.

Dear Oli and Aphra

The AUIDF members were all extremely saddened to hear of Amber’s passing.  In memory of Amber, we have arranged for 38 trees to be planted in Tasmania.  We know that your family is passionate about the environment and we hope that one day in the future, when you come back to Australia you will be able to walk amongst these trees planted in Amber’s honour.

 

Lots of things have slowed right down or stopped altogether, but these individual tree seedlings aren’t bothered. They’ll take hold and grow to meet the future as a strong, self-sustaining, life-giving eco-system. Just like we will.

 

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.