Shady trees to keep parents cool

The banksias planted in Melbourne Ave

Students at Umina Beach Public School have helped plant shady banksia trees on the school’s nature strip along Melbourne Ave.

The tree-planting initiative occurred when local mum Kelly Sunartha started a GoFundMe page with a few other parents who wanted more shade when waiting to pick up their kids.

“There have been some really hot days lately,” Sunartha said.

“Many of us tend to huddle under one tree, closest to the gate to stay out of the scorching sun, which is not ideal for social distancing.”

With help and donations from parents and a few local businesses like Law Quarter and Bunnings Umina, they were able to go ahead with the tree planting initiative.

Relieving Principal, Chad Tsakissiris, thanked the school council and P&C for the ongoing support they provided to the school.

“Our year five students planted four trees at the end of term last year, followed by a tree planting day on December 17, with families and students planting a further six large trees,” Tsakissiris said.

“Families then adopted a tree to water it daily over the holidays—thanks to their efforts, the trees have survived and thrived over summer.

“Coastal Banksia’s were selected as a local species, which grow well in the area and will provide shelter and food for native wildlife.”

The school couldn’t directly help with funding as the trees weren’t located on school grounds; however, students were encouraged to volunteer their time to help out.

Local community group Grow Urban Shade Trees (GUST) also helped support the project by volunteering their time and plant expertise to the students and families.

Hayley McMahon