Local residents celebrate thousands more plants for Perth’s heat-affected suburbs

Volunteers busy working at a community planting day for the Our Park, Our Place project. Image by Jesse Collins.

Celebration events over the past month have brought suburbanites together to enjoy the outcomes of Greening Australia’s Our Park Our Place project that has seen 130 local residents get their hands dirty at three parks in East Cannington, Morley and Eden Hill.

More than 35,000 seedlings and 344 trees have been planted in Perth public spaces throughout the project, which aims to help the community tackle urban heat and biodiversity loss in their neighbourhoods by getting people out planting and reconnecting with nature.

Funded by Lotterywest, the Our Park, Our Place project is a collaborative effort between Perth residents, landscape architects, three local councils, Water Corporation, The Behaviour Change Collaborative and Greening Australia.

The Hon Dave Kelly, Western Australia’s Minister for Water, said: “I’m really pleased that the McGowan Government, through Water Corporation, has been able to partner with Greening Australia and local governments on the fantastic Our Park, Our Place project, like the one at Mary Crescent Reserve.

“Not only has a small urban wetland and habitat for local wildlife been created through this project, but also a space for the local community to connect to the natural environment in their own neighbourhood.

“It’s been great to also see the local community get on board with the project, and their commitment to helping make their neighbourhood a more liveable, cooler, greener place to be.”

The new plantings follow designs presented to the community a year ago, based on input from more than 200 residents. The finishing touches, including installation of nature art, have recently been added.

As well as the popular planting days to install designs at the local parks, more than 800 people have attended a series of workshops and events associated with the project, with workshops on planting habitat for bees and birds being particularly well attended.

“It’s all about giving residents the knowledge and skills to take action and ownership of their local public spaces, whether that be verges or parks, to create cooler, greener, more liveable neighbourhoods as our climate changes,” said Ruth Cripps, who helps deliver Greening Australia’s Nature in Cities program.

“Rather than feeling helpless about the state of nature, we wanted to equip and inspire residents of these heat-affected suburbs by showing ways to create shady green spaces where people can relax and engage with nature.”

“Bringing more nature into our cities is a great way to support local wildlife, and it has a profoundly positive effect on our health and wellbeing too.”

This video is provided courtesy of Ashleigh Davis, and is part of an article she wrote for the Western Independent – read the full article here.

Peta Mabbs, Chief Executive Officer at the Town of Bassendean stated: “The Our Park, Our Place Project aligns strongly with our community’s commitment to preserving and enhancing our natural environment. As a local government we have complemented these efforts through planting over 2000 trees and 25,000 shrubs and seedlings over the past two years, in addition to promoting verge gardens to provide habitat for birds, cool the neighbourhood and reduce water consumption.

“Getting our hands dirty planting out public spaces through the Our Park, Our Place project enhances the connection between community and local nature spaces.”

Luke van der Beeke, Founder and Managing Director at The Behaviour Change Collaborative, said: “The project provided a fantastic opportunity to increase community awareness of the urban heat island effect while equipping residents with the skills and knowledge needed to do something about it.”

The final community celebration days took place at Arbor Park, Morley, Groundlark Park, East Cannington, and Mary Crescent Reserve, Eden Hill.

For more information and updates on the Our Park, Our Place project, visit www.greeningaustralia.org.au/projects/Our-Park-Our-Place.

The Our Park, Our Place project activities in Perth have been supported by Lotterywest and delivered as part of Greening Australia’s Nature in Cities program, in partnership with The Behaviour Change Collaborative, City of Bayswater, City of Canning and Town of Bassendean.

The project activities in Perth are also supported by Water Corporation’s Drainage for Liveability program. The program, which has seen Mary Crescent basin upgraded, illustrates how functional stormwater drains and basins can continue to serve as flood prevention while also enhancing the liveability of our suburbs.