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Tarrawanna gets city’s first ‘tiny forest’ under plan to swap grass with trees and shrubs

Tarrawanna students help plant Wollongong’s first ‘tiny forest’

FROM little things big things grow!

This is exactly the case with a tiny forest, which sprouted-up on Wednesday at Harrigan Park, Tarrawanna.

Students from Tarrawanna Public School took steps to plant Wollongong city’s first ‘tiny forest’. Working closely with Wollongong City Council staff, who selected plants for the location, students planted 500 new trees and shrubs.

Works are underway for a ‘tiny forests trial’ to make better use of outdoor spaces throughout city. By swapping grass with a range of plants and trees, Council says the multi-layered forests will create around 30 times more green surface area compared to grass alone.

The plants chosen are commonly found in grassy woodland, wet sclerophyll forests and rainforest – the type of vegetation once common in Tarrawanna. The plants included eucalyptus, wattles, palms, tea trees and grasses.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Wollongong Botanic Garden nursery chose over 50 plant species for Tarrawanna.

Tarrawanna’s ‘tiny forest’

“What we’re hoping is that by involving local students, our community will be able to take ownership of this new tiny forest and care for it while it establishes roots,” Cr Bradbery said.

“This is a great community project, and we want to say a big thank you to all of the students who lent a hand, or a shovel, or drew pictures to get this started in Tarrawanna.”

Council is now getting ready to plant more tiny forests around the community in suburbs which have low tree canopy cover such as Bellambi.

Each tiny forest will be filled with a diverse and dense mix of native plants, chosen to replicate the layers of a forest. The planted areas are able to thrive in busy, built-up areas where they can provide a big impact to nearby communities.

“These forests offer so many benefits to our community from more shade, cooler air, homes and food for wildlife, a buffer to reduce noise, restoration of local biodiversity and a way to absorb harmful carbon emissions to create a more liveable future,” Cr Bradbery said.

“Each of the sites selected for the forests are about the size of a half tennis court. To prepare each site, we’re using our own premium and nutrient boosted FOGO compost so it’s a bit of a circular system. Your food waste is turned into compost which in turn is used to grow a tiny forest in your community.”

Most of the plants for the sites are grown and prepared from the Wollongong Botanic Garden Nursery.

“These self-sustaining spaces really are a wonderful idea and what’s even better is that we’re able to involve our community and make it truly a local project,” Cr Bradbery said.

“These tiny forests build on the work of our urban greening Strategy. Just as our verge gardens create microenvironments that benefit our communities, these tiny forests are sure to be a welcome addition to our greening program that benefits everyone.”

To learn more about the Tiny Forest Project or get involved in other community greening initiatives, visit Council’s website.


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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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