Enviro Champions help parks go fruity

People of all ages in Westmeadows and Gladstone Park will soon be able to watch fruit grow at their local park, thanks to orchards planted by Hume’s Enviro Champions.

More than 30 volunteers have helped to plant eight fruit trees and a herb garden at Hillcrest Reserve (Hillcrest Drive, Westmeadows), and 11 fruit trees at Trentham Drive Reserve (Trentham Drive, Gladstone Park).

Hume Mayor, Councillor Adem Atmaca, said the community orchards could be enjoyed by everyone.

“We hope the trees will deliver a wide variety of fruits and people will be welcome to take part in the harvest,” Cr Atmaca said.

“Anyone can visit the parks to see the trees, and it is often fun to watch fruits grow and ripen.

“This is a terrific way to make delicious fruits available within our neighbourhoods, and the orchards offer a great example of how nature works.

“People are invited to join a group of volunteers who will help to nurture the trees, so that they receive plenty of water in the hot months and the right amount of fertiliser.”

Hume’s Enviro Champions are local residents with a passion to help the environment and make the municipality more sustainable.

Each year, Hume City Council trains its Enviro Champions on ways to communicate, advocate, and design and deliver local projects that make a difference.

The participants undertake field trips between February and April, to learn how other people have improved their environment.

Between May and August, the Enviro Champions put their new skills into practice, and implement ideas that can enhance Hume’s environment.

On Friday 7 August 2015, Cr Atmaca presented 14 residents with their Enviro Champions certificates, as part of a graduation ceremony.

“We are fortunate that so many people want to protect and assist Hume’s environment,” he said.

“Our Enviro Champions powerfully demonstrate what can happen when people decide to be the change they want to see.

“We’re proud of this program because it brings people together and enables Hume residents to get to know others in their neighbourhood.

“Many community groups have assisted our champions, such as Craigieburn Men’s Shed and Connections@Craigieburn.”

The Enviro Champions initiative commenced four years ago, and has resulted in many practical projects that make Hume more sustainable, including:

• communal vegetable gardens in Craigieburn;
• a monthly food swap in Sunbury; and
• a specially-designed tricycle for residents in Craigieburn who need to transport large volumes of cargo.

In June, Hume City Council’s Enviro Champions program won the Community Action Leadership prize at the Keep Australia Beautiful – Victoria 2015 Sustainable Cities Awards.

People who would like to care for fruit trees at Hillcrest Park can call Kris on 0438 353 123, and residents with an interest in the fruit trees at Trentham Reserve may phone Peter on 0433 566 717.

Further information about Hume’s Enviro Champions is here. Alternatively, email envirochampions@hume.vic.gov.au

Posted on 12:00 AM, 24 August 2015

Updated : 1:15 PM, 24 August 2015

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