Councillor Dunn joins city Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes tree planting in Tyrell Street, Wallsend.

City of Newcastle is capitalising on autumn rains by planting hundreds of street trees across Newcastle as part of the Living Streets Program to expand the City’s urban forest.

Crews have been busy digging holes on street verges and reserves for around 500 trees – 40 different species – across Wallsend, Adamstown and Adamstown Heights (click here for the full list of streets)

Around 1,000 street trees will be planted this year as part of the City’s commitment to deliver cleaner air, reduced stormwater runoff, habitat for local biodiversity, more shade and a cooler urban environment. 

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who joined City staff to plant trees along Tyrrell Street Wallsend today, said autumn offered the perfect weather for new plantings and that today’s work followed a council decision to join a global initiative aimed at enhancing nature in and around cities.

While most community requests for tree plantings come during Summer when we are all feeling the need for more trees, Summer isn’t the ideal time to plant and establish trees,” Councillor Nelmes said.

The weather conditions are more favourable at this time of year as it’s cooler and more rain is about.

Under our Living Streets program and in line with the City’s Urban Forest Policy, we are committed to sustaining and expanding our urban canopy cover, as we know a five per cent increase can reduce summer temperatures by one to two degrees, and that 17 trees will offset the use of one car a year in terms of carbon emissions.

We want to see more trees and nature in our cities, which is why earlier this week Council voted to accept an invitation to become a pioneer city of the CitiesWithNature (CWN) initiative aimed at promoting the many benefits of bringing urban communities closer to nature. These include mental and physical health and wellbeing, better social connections, greater liveability, urban cooling and climate change adaptation.

CWN is a unique partnership initiative founded by ICLEI or Local Governments for Sustainability that provides an online platform to connect cities and subnational governments, researchers and urban communities to share, learn from and inspire each other.”  

Council’s City Greening Services team will complete regular maintenance of the new trees, among 6,000 recently planted across the local government area, carrying out mulching, weeding, watering and formative pruning.

The City is running a series of education activities in conjunction with tree planting, encouraging children during the COVID-19 lockdown to observe animals that visit their favourite tree and write a love letter to it.

Ward 4 Councillor Jason Dunn said kids were invited to submit a letter and photo of the tree via email to naturalconnection@ncc.nsw.gov.au to encourage conservatory thinking and see which trees are the most popular across the local government area.

We want kids to take a moment to visit their favourite tree and stop, watch and listen and then write to us about how many different animals visit the tree, how long they think it’s been here and what could be lost if it was cut down Councillor Dunn said.

As well as planting trees, we want to educate the next generation about how native and non-native trees support a huge amount of life in urban environments.”