Guest Blog by Allys Todd, Greening Australia
Urban green spaces have many proven benefits for people’s physical and psychological health, and are highly beneficial for the development of our children. Adelaide is fortunate to have abundant green spaces where we can unwind, relax and play.
To help make Adelaide a ‘Green City’ of the future, Greening Australia are partnering with a diverse group of people and organisations to protect and improve nature and liveability in the urban landscape.
Two out of every three Australians currently live in or close to our capital cities, and this number is increasing. In these rapidly expanding urban landscapes, our connection to nature and access to green, natural spaces is diminishing, often to the detriment of the community and the environment. Native plants in urban landscapes improve our standard of living by cleaning our air and water, supporting native wildlife and providing natural areas for people to enjoy. These green spaces also improve our urban areas by helping to moderate our climate, remove carbon from out atmosphere, provide habitat for our wildlife and improve the usability of our shared public spaces.
What’s being done
As part of our Nature in Cities program Greening Australia have initiated an ‘Adelaide Green Cities’ project to enhance collaboration, increase community involvement and awareness, foster an adaptive management approach to projects, complement and inform existing planning and projects, and contribute to the SA Government’s goal of achieving a ‘Carbon Neutral Adelaide’.
Conservation Action Planning is being used to bring stakeholders together through a series of planning workshops that will specifically consider aspects of community wellbeing such as recreation and facilities, alongside more traditional biodiversity conservation values. The initial output from this process will be an Adelaide Green Cities Action Plan which will be used to guide onground actions.
Image: Green Cities – Conservation Action Planning Workshop attendees, Adelaide Zoo 2017
As part of the action plan, they have been working with partners to set up a new carbon sequestration demo site next to Adelaide High School to help visitors and residents to gain a better understanding of carbon offsets and the important role that plants can play in creating a carbon neutral city. The site provides an outstanding and inspiring example of an open, urban space that has been transformed to maximise habitat for native wildlife, contribute to local food production and create unique nature-based play areas for children and relaxation areas for adults.
Image: Launch of the Adelaide High School carbon bio-sequestration demonstration site. Dr Stuart Collard Greening Australia, Cezanne Green Adelaide High School Principal, Hon Ian Hunter MP DEWNR and Natasha Davis Trees For Life.
In conjunction with planning, 50,000 new seedlings have already been planted along the River Torrens to offset carbon, improve biodiversity, create new habitat and enhance water quality on the river. Arbor Day plantings along the river have transformed once degraded areas into wonderful spaces for people and nature to thrive within urban Adelaide, and the expansion of the project will continue to make a direct, significant contribution to the important efforts being made to aid the recovery of the river.
The river is an important wildlife corridor, particularly for aquatic plants and animals, but vegetation along its banks also provides habitat for a range of unique land-based species.
Through the Adelaide Green Cities project the local community will be able to gain a better appreciation of the value of trees in our cities and get back to nature.
Funding partners Boeing and The Department Environment Water Natural Resources have made this possible.