July 31st, 2016 was Australia’s National Tree Day and members of the Church Of Christ from the Local Congregation of Brimbank gathered in Public Parkland in Sydenham Park, Victoria to help the Brimbank Council plant 1500 seedlings.
The initiative, which started in 1996, is the country’s largest community tree-planting and nature care event. Its aim is to encourage all Australians to do something positive for their local environment by planting and caring for native trees and shrubs. Simon Heyes, a land management officer with the Brimbank Council, talked about the need to revegetate and increase tree cover across Australia.
“A lot of the landscape, particularly around this part of Melbourne, has been heavily cleared so we use this as an opportunity to try and reverse some of that land clearing that happened in the 19th century.” Simon Heyes, Land Management Officer.
Concern for the local environment is something that the members of the Church Of Christ of the Brimbank congregation have long shared with the local council.
“I think it started way before the INCGiving initiative. We’ve been having tree planting days before I even started with the Brimbank congregation. We have an obligation to God to share our faith, but we also have an obligation to protect what gifts God has given us, and one of that is the environment,” said Michael Velasquez.
July 31st 2016 also marked the start of a countdown to a historic milestone for the Church of Christ in Australia. In seven days the Church would be celebrating 40 years in the land down under. For the many of the members of the Church Of Christ, it was a time to think back to how the Church arrived in the country and to be thankful for how far it’s come. And for a large crowd standing on a sunny hillside in Sydenham Park, it was also a time to look ahead and plant for the future.
The symbolism in caring for seedlings (young plants) is a theme that was clear for many INCGiving Volunteers. Parents, especially, took this day as a chance to teach their children about the importance of growing more than just trees.
“Apart from planting trees and trying to help them understand the importance of helping out with community activities, it’s also a way of showing them that we’re always attending church activities. It’s very important that in their young age they start to understand that we hold these church activities and that we always try to attend.” explained by Ron Talicuran, who had brought along his 4-year-old son, Ryder and 2-year-old daughter, Mya.
“I am actually quite proud that they chose to be involved in something like this…because it shows that we care.” – Ella San Jose
As one of the many youth in attendance with their parents, it’s evident that this important lesson is clearly one that has been, and will continue to be, passed on to the next generation. Ensuring that for many years to come, there will always be trees in the Parklands around the Brimbank Congregation, and many young hands to help care for them.
Contributed by: Anna Katrina Aragon, Brimbank, Australia