Tree-riffic welcome to the world

Three-year-old Lucas says one day his tree is going to grow all the way to the moon.

The tree was planted when Lucas was born, part of a program the City of Kalamunda has run for almost half a century planting trees to commemorate their little locals.

Lucas’ mum Stephanie Alvaro has lived in the area since she was a kid herself. She says the trees are something that connect her kids to Hills’ life and are something they can always go back to as they grow up.

“It’s a sentimental gesture that is really symbolic of what his life is. You’ve got these kids and they’re growing and then they’ve got these trees that are also life-giving and growing,” Ms Alvaro says.

“In 20 years’ time, they can come back and have a look at that tree and see how big it’s grown and how it’s flourished. When they have their own kids they can take them up here and it’ll just be like a special thing that you can kind of do with the family.”

For Lucas and his sister Mia, the tree has extra meaning.

“For them, it’s pretty special because their dad actually passed away last year. And it’s something that they did with Dad, and they remember doing with Dad.

“When I last took Lucas to have a look at the tree, he was like, oh yeah, we did that with Dad. I think they will always have that to remember. And it kind of embeds their lives in his life as well.

“I feel like that’s a special thing for them,” Ms Alvaro says.

Elyssa Thomas says growing up, she remembers visiting her tree with family.

“I know when we were younger, we would take photos next to our trees as they grew and as we grew. We got to watch as, over the years, both we and our trees got bigger,” she says.

“I think planting one of these trees is a great way to give something to the community, but also to create memories and something special for your own family.”

“All those trees have been there for years and years and years. And maybe the person who planted them in the first place has passed away now but that tree and that memory that they created all those years ago is still there. I think that is really special.”

Elyssa’s Dad Steve Thomas says there are also environmental benefits.

“It is a good thing in terms of focus on maintaining the green canopy within the community as well.”

City of Kalamunda Mayor Margaret Thomas says the trees help new little locals have a connection with the area.

“It’s the joy of putting something in the ground together with family. The parents, grandparents, and siblings all come and plant the tree, they can come back and watch it grow,” she says.

“These trees are attached to a baby, that’s what makes it so special. When you have a child it’s such a joyful thing. The tree is that baby’s gift and they can watch it grow.”

City of Kalamunda Mayor Margaret Thomas.

“I have a 18, 16 and 12-year-old grandchildren who have trees from when they were babies and they still tell me when they have gone to see their tree.”

While the program has widespread support from locals, some have had less positive experiences with trees not surviving or being removed to make way for developments.  

Mr Thomas says many trees planted in the same area as his daughter’s tree have been removed for pathway development. Her tree has also been worse for wear in recent years.

The City of Kalamunda does not currently offer a tree replacement service.

The Commemorative Tree Planting Ceremonies became an annual event in 1988. This year’s event will be held in July in three local green spaces.  

Families will be given a plant to take home and a certificate for their baby.

Plants available this year include the Banksia Attenuata, the Grevillea Masons Hybrid, the Kunzea Muntries, and the Eucalyptus Erythrocorys.