When Aiden Aitken digs his hands in the dirt to plant a tree, he knows he will one day reap the benefits of the hard work sewn.
Aiden, along with about 40 other classmates at Gowrie St Primary School, did their part on Tuesday in support of the Greater Shepparton City Council’s Urban Forest Strategy.
The students planted the trees in Sherbourne Reserve, across from the school, planting river red gums and learning how to mulch and water the trees.
The Urban Forest Strategy was implemented in June this year as a deliberate plan for a greener, shadier city and providing the right trees in the right location for greater canopy cover.
The council hopes the majority of council-owned streets and parks, private backyards and vegetation along urban waterways, in reserves and on landholder land will be significantly greener in 15 years time.
Council’s parks, sport and recreation manager Heath Chasemore said the project would also be used as a way to increase community education around the environment, as well as engage with youth.
‘‘The youth today are going to be the next generation of beneficiaries but also custodians of trees, and they will see the benefits so it’s really important to engage with them and give them some ownership of these trees,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re hoping the kids will look after the trees, take a bit of pride, a bit of care and create a sense of community for themselves.’’
The project across from Gowrie St Primary School is in close proximity to the Goulburn River and will become an important biodiversity corridor.
Gowrie St teacher Mason Argus said the project was an opportunity for the students to get outside and take part in a unique project.
‘‘We’ve got a vegie garden and we’re doing some more gardening, but this is just a good chance to do something a little different,’’ he said.
‘‘A place like this across from the school, which does look pretty bare all of the time, will make it a nicer space for them.’’
But for Year 4 student Aiden Aitken, it was another way to get in touch with nature, which he enjoyed.
‘‘I’ve planted trees at my Nan and Pa’s house, we planted the trees a few years ago when we were little, so when we grew up they’d be bigger, too,’’ Aiden said.
‘‘I like that you get to plant food plants for strawberries and mandarin trees.’’