1. Why 15?
Fifteen Trees was chosen for 3 reasons.
- Here at Brown Hill (Central Highlands of Victoria) we have 15 trees of significance surrounding us (including a magnificent 120 year old Mistletoe).
- Multiples of fifteen is the number of trees we hand out to community groups for planting (purely logistics here folks).
- Fifteen trees is the number of trees we need to plant on your behalf to reduce the carbon emissions of your vehicle for one year.
2. Can I claim Carbon Credits from you?
In a word – no (sorry).
To qualify for carbon credit registration, we would have to plant trees in huge numbers, on land at least one square km in size, which receives at least 1000mm of rain and the trees must be one of four vegetation types. These trees would then be assessed and monitored by an external company. Small community groups would then miss out and we would lose the original vision behind the business i.e. helping small (mostly rural) communities in their efforts to improve their local environment.
If you want to be able to claim official carbon credits with tree planting, your best bet is with GreenFleet or Carbon Neutral (both great Australian companies). If you want to have a connection with your trees, and those planting your trees … stick with us!
3. Who plants my trees?
Community groups such as landcare, schools and environmental networks plant the trees.
The community benefits from the distribution of the trees. When Fifteen Trees plants on your behalf, you are helping to support those (mostly volunteer) groups who do the hard work in the community for the environment; preparing the ground, planting the trees, protecting them and keeping an eye on them for those first crucial years. Local native plant nurseries also benefit. In many instances these businesses propagate the native trees using local indigenous seeds.
Those planting your trees have local knowledge and expertise. They plant native trees indigenous to the area and at the right time of the year (usually the winter months) this in turn ensures a very good strike rate for the trees. Also, planting indigenous trees in turn encourages native wildlife to establish itself within the plantation, and sets up a whole self-sustaining ecosystem.
The trees are planted on both private and public land.
Why private? In Victoria, large areas of land are predominantly privately owned. Many land restoration programs aim to link up parcels of natural land through the use of corridors. It is inevitable that these corridors pass through private land. Also, these days, farming is different. Young farmers are working hard to re-generate their land into sustainable native forests, bushlands and grasslands, as well as productive land for crops and stock.
4. How do I know when the trees have been planted?
Via the Fifteen Trees website, you are able to see your trees and read the stories behind those who have planted them. We always include the name of those who have done the planting and the location of the trees. If a community group has planted your trees, we include the website of that group. You are more than welcome to contact the community group to verify or even visit, the planting site.
5. Are the trees are planted for the long-term?
All groups and individuals who receive the trees for planting need to belong to an established environmental group (such as Landcare). While the trees can be planted on public and private land, these groups and individuals have a long history of looking after their native environment. Their role in the community is around sustainability and preservation.
In good faith, the trees are being planted for the long-term. However, we are all aware that floods and fire are a natural part of the Australian environment and we simply cannot guarantee that your trees will survive for 100 years. But what we do know is, that trees do regenerate, some species need a bushfire to actually release their seeds from the pods and we can’t not (oh yeah … a double negative) plant trees because we think they may not survive.
6. Are my trees planted straight away?
In the southern states, the trees are planted in the wetter, cooler months of the year (between April – October). This helps give them the best possible start before the dry summer months. In the more northern states, the tree planting season can extend much longer. Once you have bought your trees, it could be a few months before you get to see them. Planting groups need to be organised, and local nurseries found. The planting groups then need to contact their (mostly) volunteers and the planting day and location decided.
7. Can I help plant my trees?
Our trees tend to go where there is a need and logistically it is very difficult to co-ordinate you with your trees in your area. If you are really keen to help plant trees, check out the Landcare website to find a group who may have planting projects in your local area.
8. Is Fifteen Trees a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation?
No, it isn’t. To become a ‘not-for-profit’ you need to have a committee overseeing the process. This involves getting a group of people steering the direction of Fifteen Trees. We kinda like having free reign. If a project or interesting event comes up, we want to be able to pursue it without having to call a meeting and ‘argue the toss’.
Having said that … Fifteen Trees does financially support organizations such as – GetUp, ACF, Who Gives A Crap, Sea Shepherd, Rainforest Rescue, GreenPeace, The Climate Council, The Bob Brown Foundation and various community projects that come up on crowd funding platforms such as Pozible.
We tend to call ourselves a ‘social enterprise’. Check out Social Traders and learn about other businesses in this genre.
“Social enterprises use the power of the market place to solve the most pressing societal problems. They are businesses that exist primarily to benefit the public and the community, rather than their shareholders and owners. Social enterprises are commercially viable businesses with a purpose of generating social impact”.
Yep, that’s us!
9. What sort of trees are planted?
This is one area that I leave completely to the group planting the trees. In consultation with their local nursery, the group decides the species of trees. These local communities have expertise in their local flora. Often, the nursery will have collected seeds from the surrounding environment and propagates from them. Having said that … the trees planted are natives and usually indigenous to the region. The benefits of planting local species include: lower maintenance and inputs (including water), suitable habitat for local wildlife, improved biodiversity (eg. increased bird life), higher survival rates, improved water quality, improved erosion control and habitat for insect and bird predators.
10. Can you supply me with trees?
Yes, indeed. At Fifteen Trees we believe in supporting community groups, landholders and environmental groups by providing them with trees for planting.
There is no charge to receive trees for planting, however you do need to be a member of an environmental or community group (such as Landcare, school, environmental network etc) to receive the trees. Trees may be planted on public or private property.
If you wish to receive free trees for planting in 2017, please contact us and ask for a copy of our Planting Agreement form (nothing onerous). To help you choose the right plants for your area, download (free) The Australian Native Plant Guide from the Native Shop.