CVA Updates

Local community plants their roots in CVA’s very first Urban Shade Forest

On a day that’s dedicated to getting your hands dirty while greening your local patch, the community of Greater Dandenong showed up in force to celebrate National Tree Day this year.

To mark this special day on the conservation calendar, CVA, Chevron Australia, and Greater Dandenong City Council hosted not one but two mammoth events, kickstarting our very first Urban Shade Forest at Spring Valley Park. Through the Urban Shade Forest project, we’re working together with the vibrant community of Greater Dandenong to increase the amount of vegetation and canopy cover within our cities, creating suburbs that are cooler, greener, and more liveable.


Over these two incredible days of community action, we were able to:


Connect with just over 1,100 volunteers

Plant 5,980 native seedlings

Collaborate with 23 community groups and schools



Schools Tree Day – July 28

In a series of firsts, we were thrilled to support the City of Greater Dandenong to deliver their inaugural school planting event, supporting the One Tree Per Child program. The global initiative, which aims to get every child to plant at least one tree before they leave school, will be an ongoing local program supported by Council. We welcomed a tiny but mighty mass of 870 Grade 3 students from 14 local schools, where most couldn’t wait to plant their very first seedlings. We were lucky enough to hear from the co-founder of One Tree Per Child and National Tree Day, Jon Dee, about the significance of getting young people involved in caring for nature and taking action as a collective force for good. Our staff were inspired by their pure excitement, enthusiasm, and genuine desire to care for their local green spaces.

For our staff, seeing so many young people excited to get outdoors and plant their own seedlings was truly inspiring. Our Greener Cities Project Manager, Teresa Gustowski, recounts just one of our team’s highlights of the day:


“A highlight for our staff was when one of the students excitedly rushed over to show off his newly planted seedling to one of our Rangers. When the Ranger explained that the species was a Prickly Moses, and that the very thorny species was important for sheltering smaller bird species, the student became even more excited.


When the supervising teacher called the class over to end the planting session, the student then proudly explained to his teacher what he had just planted, and confidently shared why the species was so important.


Our staff had countless heartwarming exchanges just like this throughout the day. We’re certain that these young students will carry these new experiences with them and become champions for protecting nature in cities and beyond.”


National Tree Day – July 30

On National Tree Day, it was now time for the rest of the community to get involved! To mark National Tree Day, it was only fitting to put on a community planting ex-tree-vaganza to celebrate. The day commenced with a Welcome to Country onto Bunurong Country, including an incredible Smoking Ceremony and Yidaki performance by Eric Edwards and Jungala Ellis on behalf of the Bunurong Land Council. The Welcome spoke to the importance of connecting to Country, giving back to the land that provides us with so much, as well as the spirit of Womindjeka / Wominjeka, meaning ‘welcome’ in the Woi-wurrung language of the Wurundjeri people and Boon Wurrung language of the Bunurong people. In this welcoming spirit, we were Welcomed onto Country and granted safe passage, and inspired to welcome all others – learning to walk together in harmony, regardless of our cultural backgrounds and histories.

In addition to planting thousands of native species at Spring Valley Park, attendees were also tree-ted to a variety of exciting activities. A keen supporter of CVA, Emma Grace, taught people to make their own sustainable kokedamas – where a plant is carefully bundled up in soil, hessian, and string to create a living bauble of greenery. Lionel and Skyla Lauch of Living Culture both educated and inspired attendees, sharing their First Nations culture by leading a Yidaki-led meditation workshop, as well as a traditional weaving workshop. Black Snake Productions encouraged us to take a walk on the wild side with their native wildlife displays – showing off shinglebacks, banjo frogs, and sugar gliders and Emmy from Wurruck Yambo nurtured our future urban forest keepers by leading craft activities for children that beautifully weaved in aspects of both nature and First Nations culture. And to refuel after all the hard work? A delicious BBQ lunch put on by the local Lions Club, as well as free hot drinks served up by The Wattle Tree Co.

To inspire attendees to grow their own Shade Forest at home, there were a wide variety of native plants up for grabs. We gave away just over 150 native seedlings on the day, destined for the balconies and backyards of Greater Dandenong. We’re looking forward to hearing about how these miniature Shade Forests blossom and grow in Greater Dandenong!



A huge thank you to all who got involved over these two incredible days and to Chevron Australia and our local Council partner, Greater Dandenong City Council. We’re excited to plant our roots in Greater Dandenong, watch our very first Urban Shade Forest take off, and benefit the community of Greater Dandenong for generations to come!



Want to get involved? Head over to our Volunteer Portal to find events near you, or join our Melbourne Facebook group to keep up-to-date with upcoming Urban Shade Forest events.

If you aren’t based in Greater Dandenong and can’t physically attend our events, that’s OK! There are plenty of opportunities for you to create your own Urban Shade Forest by creating your very own Nature Block at home.


The Urban Shade Forest initiative is supported by our major partner Chevron Australia and supported locally by Chevron’s premium fuel brand Caltex and by the City of Greater Dandenong.

Proudly supported by our partners

City of Greater Dandenong
Chevron & Caltex