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Sydney City aims to increase its urban canopy by 50% by 2030.

One Tree Per School, One Shrub Per Student

"Society benefits when young children get out, get their hands in the earth, and plant trees," says Olivia Newton-John. Pictured here with John Dee, co-founder of One Tree Per Child

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The City of Sydney pledges to plant a mature tree in every primary school and plant a shrub for every primary student in the local area as part of the international One Tree Per Child campaign.

One Tree Per Child was founded by Olivia Newton-John and Jon Dee, the founders of Australia’s National Tree Day – during the time that they fronted the event, over 10 million native trees and shrubs were planted across Australia.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said a tree will be offered to every primary school in the local area, as well as a shrub for every child to be planted in the school or local parks.

“The City of Sydney is delighted to support this important program to help children connect with the environment and green our local area,” the Lord Mayor said. “They are our future so it’s important that we can teach them about the environment for the city they will inherit.

“We’re planting more street trees and increasing the number of trees in our parks and it’s fantastic to join a program that helps children learn about the valuable role that trees play in city life.

“As these trees grow we hope the children’s commitment to their community, and doing their bit to help the environment, will also grow.”

The City has planted around 10,000 street trees in the past decade. There are around 30,000 street trees across the city, and a further 12,000 trees in the city’s parks and open spaces. Along with green roofs and walls these trees contribute to the urban canopy, help combat climate change, and create wildlife corridors for native birds and animals.

“Green spaces benefit the community’s health, cleaning pollutants from the air, creating shade in the hot summer months and enhancing general wellbeing. The City’s target is to increase its urban canopy by 50 per cent by 2030,” the Lord Mayor added.

Olivia Newton-John has planted over 10,000 trees in Australia and said planting trees and shrubs is a great way for kids to connect with their community.

“I believe society benefits when young children get out, get their hands in the earth, and plant trees,” Ms Newton-John said.

Mr Dee said the program helps children to learn the importance of protecting and preserving wildlife and the environment by taking part in a hands-on activity.

“As a child grows, so does the tree that they plant,” Mr Dee said. “Our experience shows that as the tree grows, so does the child’s commitment to looking after the environment and community around them. If other cities follow this example by planting one tree or shrub per child, millions of trees could be planted around the world.”

The City will send a tree expert out to the City’s primary schools to help them their plant their tree. If the primary schools don’t have spare land for their tree, the City will plant it in a local park and arrange a planting ceremony for the children.

For more information about the program see http://www.onetreeperchild.com