There’s something really encouraging about seeing a crowd of kids getting their hands dirty and having fun whilst planting native trees. Sure there were plenty of other reasons to attend Tropical Tree Day held by Cairns Regional Council, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation – there was the lucky door prizes (a chance to WIN one of five return family experiences on Skyrail or one of five annual Rainforest Foundation memberships!), the colouring in competition, the raft of awesome giveaways (posters, flyers and environmental booklets), the face painting and glitter art tattoos AND a Barbie.
In the case of my son it was the FREE sausage sizzle that inspired him to plant 5 native trees… Apparently it made up for the 5 sausages that he devoured (thankfully there was still plenty for everyone else). For me, I’m always happy to have some excuse to get the kids away from the screens and enjoy a Sunday digital detox. Thankfully the early 8am start was balanced with easy access to good coffee thanks to the Coffee Can being parked at the tree planting site.
It was great to see the passion of the Skyrail rangers and the Council’s landcare workers for their local environment and watch how it ‘naturally’ rubbed off on the kids that came along. Council’s level 1 water restrictions were also a topic of conversation on the day, adding to the education element and helping us all to understand why it is so important to choose the right type of plants in the tropics.
“This is the Bandicoot Berry” Jesse from Cairns Works told us “it produces the Bandicoot’s favourite fruit on the rainforest floor”, and with that simple comment my son had committed the Latin name instantly to his memory – Leea indica – I just wish we could do that with his math equations!!! Check out the Tropical Tree Day Native Species List of trees that were carefully selected to be planted on the day and learn interesting facts about each plant and why they were chosen for Cattana Wetlands by the Natural Areas Management team from the Cairns Regional Council.
Possibly the most surprising part of the morning was how quickly 500 native trees got planted into the ground, despite all the other alternatives (face painting, barbie etc. etc.). Once the kids knew that they could get their hands dirty and officially play with the water saving ‘gloop’ (water crystals), AND choose their own trees to plant, a whole trailer of young native trees disappeared.
It was so rewarding to look along what was once a bare strip of land and see all the young trees receive their first little drink to help them grow tall and strong. Perhaps the biggest reward will be returning to this spot in a few years time to see what it looks like…….. after all, it may give us parents another excuse to get the kids outdoors.
Check out all the action shots from the day!