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Sustaining environmental stewardship at Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview

31 August 2014
Student tree planters from Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview

Student tree planters from Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview

Sue Martin

The Environment Committee of Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview in New South Wales, Australia organized a tree planting activity with a group of geography students last 10 to 11 August at the Yamagalli property in Harden that lies in the region’s southwest slopes.

The activity was coordinated closely with Ms Trish Murphy, one of the school’s boarding parents and who comes from the village of Galong, also in Harden. Trish has extensive experience in tree planting and working with organisations wanting to offset their carbon footprint through tree planting.

The planting occurred on the property of an alumnus, Danny Flannery, and a neighbour of Yamagalli property. The students also visited some of the Landcare work in the area and discussed environmental issues facing rural Australia, including salinity management.

Mr Greg Conlon, chair of the Environment Committee, with a newly planted river red gum tree seedling

Mr Greg Conlon, chair of the Environment Committee, with a newly planted river red gum tree seedling

The trip was organized as a pilot program with a small number of students, with the intention of becoming an ongoing feature of the environmental stewardship undertaken by the College. It is part of the Riverview Carbon Offset Program developed with Trish and the Environment Committee, chaired by Mr Greg Conlon. Mr Conlon says, “It is a great opportunity to work closely with the Landcare community around Harden.”

The group of students travelled down to Harden on the Sunday morning, ready for an afternoon of tree planting. Nearly 1,600 river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) trees were planted this year, and in the next five years, the intention is to plant up to 10,000 trees. This is the first year of what is intended to be an annual event.

Riverview is excited to work closely with Trish and the Landcare team as this is one way for students to engage meaningfully in the sustainability journey being undertaken at Riverview. It is also a solid way to contribute and take part in the Reconciliation with Creation program that Jesuits across the world committed to do.

Sue Martin is the Sustainability Centre Coordinator at Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview and can be reached through her email SMMartin(at)riverview.nsw.edu.au for further information.

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