Mormon Newsroom
News Release

Mormons Partner with Adelaide Council to Restore Local Environment

Approximately 1200 native trees, grasses and sedges have been planted along the Mount Barker Creek, in the Laratinga Reserve in South Australia. The two-year revegetation project is the work of members of the Mount Barker congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Over 50 Mormons of all ages, clad in bright yellow “Helping Hands” vests, braved the wet wintry July weather to plant. Prior to the planting, however, members spent numerous hours at workshops and then at their own homes, nurturing the plants. 

Emma Cope, Mount Barker District Council Environmental Project Officer, explains:  “The program involved seed propagation and maintenance of seedlings, requiring nine to ten months of work.”

Mount Barker Council successfully applied to the South Australia government for the “Trees for Towns”* program in 2010.  The Council then relied on Church members to make their dream for the wetlands reserve a reality.

“The revegetated area will provide valuable habitat for various native species, in particular the yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. The area consists of a number of remnant River Red Gums with hollows suitable for the species to nest in, and the newly planted trees are a known food source,” reports the Council’s Winter 2012 publication.

Daylan Riddle, bishop of the Mount Barker congregation, says, “We all feel rewarded, and we all learned a lot. Children and youth worked beside their parents and leaders, without complaint, right down to the last tree. Our efforts will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Ms Cope, thanking the volunteers, said, “Without your important contribution, the project could not have been completed.”

This is not the first time the local Mormons have partnered with the Council, and it will not be the last. In 2010 Bishop Riddle wanted his ward (local parish) members to have a meaningful community service project as part of their annual ward conference weekend.

His wife, Rachel, sent out a blitz of letters offering a voluntary church workforce for a worthwhile project. Emma Cope took up the offer and gave the cheerful workforce two shrub and tree-planting opportunities. Seeing the commitment of the Saints, she then offered them the long-term “Trees for Town” project.

“We hope to keep working with the Council,” says Bishop Riddle. “We are looking at a park clean up and graffiti removal project later this year.”

* Trees for Towns is a 30th anniversary initiative of the South Australian “Trees for Life” program which gifted the local trees and shrubs and also held the propagation workshops in the lead-up to the tree planting. Mount Barker was among 30 regional S.A. areas selected.

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