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Wollongong City Council

Thinking Big on Tiny Forests

Thursday 9 June 2022

From little things big things grow! This is exactly the case with Council’s newest tiny forests, which have begun sprouting up around Wollongong.

Works are underway for the tiny forests trial to make better use of some of our outdoor spaces. By swapping grass with a range of plants and trees, these multi-layered forests will create around 30 times more green surface area compared to grass alone.

On Wednesday 8 June, students from Tarrawanna Public School took the first steps to plant a new tiny forest at Harrigan Park, Tarrawanna. Working closely with Council staff, who selected plants for the location, the students planted 500 new trees and shrubs.

“For our first tiny forest, the Wollongong Botanic Garden nursery chose over 50 plant species that are commonly found around Tarrawanna with Grassy Woodland dominating but merging with Wet Sclerophyll and Rainforest – a type of Australian vegetation common to our region and consisting of plants such as eucalyptus, wattles, palms, tea trees and grasses,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“What we’re hoping is that by involving local students, our community will be able to take ownership of this new tiny forest and care for it while it establishes roots.

“This is a great community project, and we want to say a big thank you to all of the students who lent a hand, or a shovel, or drew pictures to get this started in Tarrawanna.”

We’re now getting ready to plant more tiny forests around our community at locations such as Dimond Bros Park at Dapto and the Wollongong Botanic Garden. We’re also looking at potential sites in suburbs which have low tree canopy cover such as Bellambi, Kanahooka and Unanderra.

Each tiny forests will be filled with a diverse and dense mix of native plants, chosen to replicate the layers of a forest. The planted areas are able to thrive in busy, built-up areas where they can provide a big impact to nearby communities.

“These forests offer so many benefits to our community from more shade, cooler air, homes and food for wildlife, a buffer to reduce noise, restoration of local biodiversity and a way to absorb harmful carbon emissions to create a more liveable future,” Cr Bradbery said.

“Each of the sites selected for the forests are about the size of a half tennis court. To prepare each site, we’re using our own premium and nutrient boosted FOGO compost so it’s a bit of a circular system. Your food waste is turned into compost which in turn is used to grow a tiny forest in your community.

Most of the plants for the sites are grown and prepared from the Wollongong Botanic Garden Nursery.

“These self-sustaining spaces really are a wonderful idea and what’s even better is that we’re able to involve our community and make it truly a local project,” Cr Bradbery said.

“These tiny forests build on the work of our Urban Greening Strategy. Just as our verge gardens create microenvironments that benefit our communities, these tiny forests are sure to be a welcome addition to our greening program that benefits everyone.”

The Tiny Forests Project is just one part of Council’s Urban Greening Program to create a more liveable future. To learn more about this project or get involved in other community greening initiatives, visit Council’s website.