The Western Australia Tree Festival has returned for 2023 and this year has grown to include 18 local governments representing more than 1.2 million residents.
The 2023 Festival got underway on Monday and will run until May 10th, featuring a variety of workshops, school holiday activities, art installations, talks, free plants, and wellness activities to increase awareness of the importance of conserving the urban tree canopy.
City of Stirling Council will again lead the local governments delivering activities and keynote speakers across the 18 local government areas.
Mayor, Mark Irwin said that local governments across the state are planting and retaining trees on council land, including verges, but retaining trees on private property was a challenge that requires more attention.
“The WA Tree Festival is growing from strength-to-strength, nearly doubling in scale from last year and putting forward a united front from the local government sector on the importance of trees,” he said.
“The City of Stirling’s 10-year analysis shows that canopy on Council owned land has increased by 10% or 130.5 hectares of canopy coverage; however, the loss on residential land has been 18 per cent or 135.5 hectares.
“This is a net loss of just over five hectares from private land behind the mailbox, which is a similar experience across nearly all councils.
“To stem this loss and improve the canopy across the whole of the state means that all levels of government, and all parts of the community, need to start to talk about the long-term benefits of tree retention.”
Among the more than 100 events across the 18 local government areas will be several seminars and workshops from sustainability experts, including Sabrina Hahn and lecturer in sustainability at Murdoch University, Chris Ferreira.
Mr Ferreira said there were many benefits to homeowners keeping trees on their side of the mailbox, including some financial benefits.
“Analysis by the University of Western Australia with the support of the CSIRO reveals that homes on tree-lined Perth streets are worth an average of $16,000 more than homes without trees,” he said.
“However, trees don’t just lift property value on resale. When you step into the backyard, you see more long-term benefits like improved health and wellness and there is long-term economic advantage in reducing cooling costs, not just providing shade.
“Many people feel the pressure to clear trees as the easy option for developing their property and maximising their investment, but quite often the better long-term solutions environmentally and financially is to retain and realign around existing trees.”
WA Tree Fest will hold various workshops and lectures designed for a broad audience appeal, as well as school holiday activities for children to get involved.
Each participating LGA has a schedule of events listed on the WA Tree Festival website, providing a centralised location for all festival-related activities.
Learn more: www.watreefestival.com.au.