Newcastle has celebrated World Environment Day this week by planting 5,500 native grasses, groundcovers, shrubs and trees in Jesmond to help restore the city’s urban ecosystems.
The 2021 United Nations World Environment Day’s theme of ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ has also been acknowledged with community activities to enhance the region’s urban forest.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said connecting with local school students and residents to plant a tree and learn about nature was a special way to mark the event.
“Locals have volunteered their time and effort to create a pocket of habitat for local birds and other wildlife in Maclure Reserve, which demonstrates the value people place on greener public spaces,” she said.
“Green spaces make our city ecologically richer, and a more beautiful and pleasant place to live.”
Cr Nelmes added the council worked hard each year to restore the diverse natural ecosystems.
“City of Newcastle has invested more than $1.3 million in caring for and restoring Newcastle’s bushland, creeks, wetlands, coast and estuary ecosystems so far this year and has committed $1.5 million in next year’s budget,” she said.
“The City cares for a wonderful array of natural ecosystems including 79 kilometres of creeks, 506 hectares of bushland, 65 wetlands, nine coastal rock platforms, 19 hectares of sand dunes along our 10 beaches, and over 90,000 street and park trees.
“These natural assets not only sustain our local biodiversity but also keep our city cool, absorb and store carbon, provide food and shelter for native wildlife, and keep our air and water clean.
“The greening of our urban landscape, by restoring urban forest areas, watercourses or wetlands has a positive impact on Newcastle and improves our community sense of wellbeing. It’s a win-win for the city.”
The urban forest planting events are another example of the council’s commitment to becoming an International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) City with Nature.
It recognises and enhances the value of our natural surrounds, as well as our efforts to be a global local government leader in sustainability.
More community planting events are planned this month. Visit newcastle.nsw.gov.au/living for more information.