202020 Vision Launches National Plan to Reach its Goal

202020 Vision Launches National Plan to Reach its Goal:

The 202020 Vision, an initiative of the Nursery & Garden Industry of Australia (NGIA), was named after its mission: “To create 20% more green space in our urban areas by 2020.”

Launched in 2013, the initiative has worked tirelessly to collate the knowledge of, “500 greening experts from across business, government, academia and the community sector consulted during the initiative’s Growing The Seeds tour into a document that showcases proven, scalable and replicable solutions to greening the urban landscape.” This document was officially launched last month as The 202020 Plan.

Dr Anthony Kachenko, Research and Development Team Leader and Portfolio Manager at Horticulture Innovation Australia said, “The 202020 Plan shows if you get industry and government leaders together to share their collective wisdom they can create simple, impactful pathways to reversing the urban greening crisis – it truly is collaborative impact at its best. Through the plan we now have the start of a compendium of urban greening strategies that is a must-read for every business, level of government and community group in Australia that is playing a role to see our cities become healthy, productive, thriving places that can mitigate the effects of climate change.”

The City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy is one of the initiative’s most successful projects, and will see the council increase canopy cover from 22 per cent to 40 per cent by 2040. Next on the agenda is a “White Label Urban Forest Strategy” for other local governments, providing a template enabling them to replicate The City of Melbourne’s success.

Collectively, governments, business, and planners are beginning to understand the need to green urban environments. The 202020 Vision, “Australia’s biggest network of green space experts, creators and supporters…is uniquely placed to pioneer a more efficient approach.”

The 202020 Plan is available for download here.

10-step ‘How to Grow an Urban Forest’ Guidebook

10-step ‘How to Grow an Urban Forest’ Guidebook:

In an Australian first, a 10-step guidebook on growing urban forests in order to reduce temperatures in cities has been launched in Melbourne during an urban forest masterclass involving 200+ urban planners, arborists, and land managers. Supported by the Melbourne City Council and the Victorian Government, the 10-step “How to grow an urban forest” guide has been created to give local councils the tools they need to increase urban greenery.

Launched as part of the 202020 Vision, the guide was inspired by Melbourne’s commitment to plant 3000 trees every year to help cool the city. It includes a vast array of information including the benefits of heat mapping, how to assess your assets, and useful interviews with experienced councilors.

Arron Wood, Chair of the Melbourne Council’s Environment Portfolio, said, “…urban forests have the potential to reduce the severity of heatwaves, which have claimed hundreds of lives in other parts of the world. So these beautiful trees that you walk past in the street and think ‘aren’t they lovely’ and ‘you provide me with nice shade’, literally they could save your life one day.”

One of the key messages is the guide is that of diversity. Mr Wood said, “With diversity you get greater resilience, you’re not going to get a disease that wipes out a single species and changes the whole look of your urban forest. It’s also good for biodiversity because you’re bringing the flowering plants, the native plants and that really is about bringing good biology and good ecology back into the city.”

The guidebook is available for download at https://202020vision.com.au/media/41948/urban-forest-strategy-workbook.pdf.

Melbourne’s CBD Trees Receive Thousands of Love Letters

Melbourne’s CBD Trees Receive Thousands of Love Letters:

They say happiness is receiving an unexpected love letter. Such is the case for Melbourne’s CBD trees, who recently became the unexpected recipients of thousands of love letters from residents in Melbourne and around the globe.

As part of the Urban Forest Strategy, an initiative to combat the decline of Melbourne’s urban forest, the city assigned all of Melbourne’s 77,000 trees individual email addresses. The idea was that residents would use these emails to report trees that had been vandalized, appeared to be suffering disease, or posed a safety hazard to the community.

However, residents quickly started using the email addresses for another purpose – writing love letters to their favourite trees. The Chair of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Counciller Arron Wood, said the response was an unexpected but welcome surprise, “It is unbelievable, we have now received over 3000 emails from all around the world — there have been people from Russia, Germany, Hungary, Singapore, Britain and Hong Kong all confessing their love for trees in Melbourne.”

Here’s a sample of the love letters received:

Weeping Myrtle, Tree ID 1494392
Hello Weeping Myrtle, I’m sitting inside near you and I noticed on the urban tree map you don’t have many friends nearby. I think that’s sad so I want you to know I’m thinking of you. I also want to thank you for providing oxygen for us to breath in the hustle and bustle of the city. Best Regards, N.

Golden Elm, Tree ID 1028612
I used to think you were the Magic Faraway tree when I was a child. Now that I’m an adult, I still look forward to seeing you as I come around the bend after a tedious crawl down Hoddle Street.
A loyal friend always there waiting to say hello.

Variegated Elm, Tree ID 1033102
Dear Elm, I was delighted to find you alive and flourishing, because a lot of your family used to live in the UK, but they all caught a terrible infection and died. Do be very careful, and if you notice any unfamiliar insects e-mail an arboriculturist at once. I miss your characteristic silhouettes and beautifully shaped branches — used to be one of the glories of the English landscape — more than I can say. Melbourne must be a beautiful city.
Sincere good wishes,

Golden Elm, Tree ID 1037148
Dear 1037148,
You deserve to be known by more than a number. I love you.
Always and forever.

Mr Woods said while the emails are encouraged, the team can only reply to authentic requests. “The whole point of the project was it would be no cost to council, so we have to ensure people aren’t wasting tax payers’ money to reply to all the love letters. With that said, it’s great that this has been effective in spreading a very important message.”

You can email your favourite tree at https://melbourneurbanforestvisual.com.au/.

City of Melbourne Collaborates with Community Members on its Urban Forest Strategy

City of Melbourne Collaborates with Community Members on its Urban Forest Strategy:

“Participate Melbourne” was launched by the Melbourne City Council in 2013, as a means for members

of the community to understand and contribute to the decisions that shape Melbourne’s future. An

online, collaborative community, this initiative is the result of the council’s commitment to being a more

accessible, transparent, and responsive organization. Information is shared about the council’s decisions

and performance, with a particular focus on how the views of community members have influenced the

Key projects being shaped by Participate Melbourne include the Queen Victoria Market, 10 Year

Financial Plan, the Arts Strategy, and the Urban Forest Strategy.


According to its Urban Forest Strategy site, The City of Melbourne is, “facing three significant challenges:

climate change, urban heating, and population growth. These will place significant pressure on the built

fabric, services and people of the city. A healthy urban forest will play an important role in maintaining

Melbourne’s liveability.”


The Urban Forest Strategy provides a robust framework for the evolution and longevity of Melbourne’s

urban forest, with Participate Melbourne currently running a number of initiatives to inform how this

will look at an individual street level. Via Participate Melbourne, the council is working with community

members to develop tree planting plans for local areas.


Already in progress is the plan for a future urban forest in Parkville, with community members meeting

at a free breakfast to contribute and discuss ideas in March. Individuals can also share their ideas by

pinning them on an interactive map, and completing a photo questionnaire. Both tools, along with

regular updates, can be found on the Urban Forest Strategy site.


Next on the agenda for the 2015 program, two further free community breakfasts will take place:


To receive updates on urban forest projects and events in the City of Melbourne, individuals can email



Photo credit: Participate Melbourne



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