Big week to hug, climb and look up to trees

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Tree-hugging Samantha Ning… “I just love trees. They make you feel good, they look beautiful, they’re air conditioners, they filter pollution, they bring so many benefits.” Photo by Kathryn Vukovljak

HELD in the midst of Canberra’s stunning display of autumn colour, the fifth annual ACT Tree Week aims to encourage us to look up and appreciate the trees we have and what they do for us.

Samantha Ning, tree protection officer at City Services, says Tree Week will kick off on Monday, April 30, at the English Gardens in Yarralumla, with Prof John Langford, grandson of Charles Weston, handing over the Weston Family Papers to the ACT Heritage Library.

“Charles Weston was responsible for setting up the Yarralumla Nursery, species selection and doing a lot of the original planting for Canberra, so to have John Langford here officially donating these papers is incredible,” Samantha says.

“Under Charles’ guidance, more than a million trees were planted over five years.

“John will be giving information that will be at the Heritage Library for generations to come. There’s family photos, old photos of Canberra from Mount Ainslie where there’s nothing but St John’s Church in Reid, and documents and letters between him and officials, so it’s a really significant donation.”

Tree climber Maja Blasch, 27… “The competition is a great spectator sport.” Photo by Kathryn Vukovljak

Tree Week will include a series of events, from tree-themed storytimes at local libraries to a symposium at the Botanic Gardens covering topics including Canberra’s Urban Forest: life and death situations, “Tree Happenings” at the Yarralumla Nursery, how Canberra’s urban forest can protect us from climate change and data-driven urban forest management; art workshops, guided ranger walks, “Treeology” installations around Civic, a tree-hugging session at the arboretum and the ACT Tree Climbing Championships.

Tree climber for Canopy Maja Blasch, 27, will enter the tree-climbing competition held at the Botanic Gardens this year and says she loves being outside, but also getting to connect to people over their trees.

“The competition is a great spectator sport, with five events over the day including work climb, secured footlock, speed climb, throwline and aerial rescue,” she says.

“Tree Week brings more awareness to trees and what we’re doing in Canberra.

“I think people take for granted how many trees we actually have here and curse about the leaves that fall, but the value that tree is adding, not just to our homes but to our lives in general, is immeasurable. Taking the time to get that perspective is important.”

Samantha says she wants to share her passion for trees with everyone in Canberra.

“I want people to stop and take a look around, acknowledge the benefits that trees give us,” she says.

“We’ve got one of the best urban forests in Australia, with so many different species and diversity. Especially in autumn, which is why we have Tree Week at this time of year, just that tapestry of colour you get. It’s spectacular and people travel to Canberra to see that.

“Let’s celebrate it, let’s enjoy and embrace it. I just love trees. They make you feel good, they look beautiful, they’re air conditioners, they filter pollution, they bring so many benefits.”

The launch of ACT Tree Week 2018, 9am, Monday, April 30, at the English Gardens, Weston Park Road, Yarralumla.

Tree Climbing Championships,Saturday, May 5, 8am-4pm at the Eucalypt Lawn, Australian National Botanic Gardens.

ACT Tree Week, April 30-May 6. A full list of activities is available at

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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist with a particular interest in homes and gardens.


  1. Seems strange to have this celebration when the ACT government refused to allow private enterprise to replace the 50 or so missing street trees in and around Civic, including Glebe Park.

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