November 29, 2021


Planted in

Neu21 and the Forest of Us

Gus Balbontin is a fireball of energy; inspiring people into the unknown and unpredictable side of life. And this is where, Gus believes that we can truly live – with love, creativity and passion. 



Gus Balbontin is a fireball of energy; inspiring people into the unknown and unpredictable side of life. And this is where Gus believes that we can truly live – with love, creativity and passion.


Gus on stage.


I met Gus at a Commerce Ballarat Business Conference a few years back and was totally taken with his original and disruptive ideas about industry, education and the environment. I promptly followed him on his socials and reached out to see if he would be interested in getting some trees planted.

As I had guessed – he was all in!

Over the years Gus has enabled us to plant many hundreds of trees (find them here) and this year, Gus wanted to celebrate the merger of his business and Neu21 with another 500 trees for our native environment. These trees are the start of a fabulous new initiative called The Forest of Us. Stay tuned for invites to come planting with Gus and co. Gus’ plan is to have planting days annually with not only Neu21’ers and their families, but also their clients.

We organised the planting of these trees at 2 sites in the Murrindini Shire of Victoria by the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network (UGLN).


SITE A | Acheron, VIC | 300 trees

The new little trees will add to the tree stand that was planted 5 years ago.


Thanks to Gus, longtime Landcare members Bev and Dale Dick were able to plant 300 native trees and shrubs on their property at Acheron.


I am very appreciative of the support we received to put these habitat plants in on what were otherwise bare hills.

The Red Box trees will link up with the remnant stands nearby and the shrubs will provide food and shelter for little birds, for the insect pollinators and the micro bats that I see aplenty at dusk.

It feels the best use of my muscle power to be re-wilding my patch.

Bev Dick | Member | Upper Goulburn Landcare


Protecting the mother tree.


SITE B | Kinglake West, VIC | 200 trees


Ben and Ellen Richmond from Kinglake West very much appreciated the assistance from the supporters of Fifteen Trees which has helped them revegetate their back paddock.

The planting has complemented similar planting on neighbouring properties and helps connect a wildlife corridor between remnant native vegetation private land and the roadside.

Chris Cobern | Landcare Facilitator & Project Officer | UGLN


Planting on the Runciman property.


Huge thank you to Gus for making all this possible. Five hundred trees for 2 revegetation projects right in the heart of the Central Highlands of Victoria.


Writer – Colleen Filippa

Colleen is the Founder & Director of Fifteen Trees. Established in 2009, Fifteen Trees has helped community groups across Australia plant thousands of native trees.



February 7, 2024
WPA acknowledges that when it comes to environmental initiatives, its people are its strength. It has recently partnered with us to plant 15 trees for each hard-working staff member identified as a Sustainability Warrior.


January 18, 2024
Tasman Cottage already gives you a chance to reconnect with nature, yet its manager Nick has taken an important next step. He recently purchased 150 trees in collaboration with us here at Fifteen Trees, an action which ensures vital habitat for our native fauna, such as the unique Tassie Devil.


January 15, 2024
‘We believe that supporting community tree-planting initiatives is not only an investment in nature; it’s a commitment to a sustainable future. JEI Studio is committed to ongoing donations of 15 planted trees for every design and decoration service agreement’. Jessi Deakin.