The City of Melbourne has an interesting initiative that is showing that the community cares about its public trees. I first read about this last year & it seems to have taken off in the community’s mind.
The City of Melbourne’s Urban Landscapes Team had the quite brilliant idea that each of their 70,000 public trees be assigned an email address allowing the community to send an email if they had something to report regarding a tree.
This initiative did not cost much as the Council already had a comprehensive database on every one of their public trees. Every tree has its own ID number, so the community does not need to try & describe the location of the tree to the Council in any correspondence. The ID number provides Council with all the information they need about ythe tree, a bit like your medical file.
The initiative allows people to report problems with trees to the Council, but they also started receiving positive emails about particular trees & how the person writing loves them. In response, the Council staff began sending a reply email from the tree. How lovely is that!
I think this is a brilliant way of encouraging people of all ages to value the urban forest. I can easily imagine schoolteachers asking students to pick their favourite tree & to send an email listing all the reasons why they like it & thanking the tree for the benefits it provides. What an interesting way to get kids engaged & learn about the value of trees. Sending a reply could be fun for the Council staff too. See – http://bit.ly/1KdQZrh
The article also said that Eucalypts are Melbourne’s most common trees. Nice that they have an Australian native tree that provides a quintessential Australian look to the streets, as well as being a great food & habitat provider for wildlife.
The City of Melbourne also has a comprehensive & interactive webpage about their urban forest. It also allows you to explore the database, which is really excellent community engagement in my opinion. You can find it here – http://melbourneurbanforestvisual.com.au/