Unley’s trees

by Anne Wharton


Unley Council is attempting to come up with ideas to stop the loss of canopy cover and especially significant trees on private land. We know that this loss is happening all over Adelaide. Recently Dr Jennifer Gardner and Marian McDuie appeared on Gardening Australia in relation to research they have done on 1200 trees in the Waite Arboretum. The research calculates a value for the trees by assessing the environmental benefits of each tree (carbon stored), its size, species, location and age, to give each tree a financial value, in the hope this dollar value will make trees more appreciated.

Unley resident and SCSA member, Pat Wundersitz, has recently written an excellent letter to Unley Deputy Mayor Michael Hewitson. Here is her letter:

I am interested in retaining tree cover in Unley, as I have spent quite a deal of my life planting, revegetating and caring for remnant vegetation here in South Australia and also in Tasmania when I lived there. I feel it is important for not only supporting suburban wildlife, but maintaining good mental health of our citizens, and mitigating changes to local weather conditions. Trees are our natural air conditioners: cooling us in summer by up to 5 degrees, retaining heat in winter, and lessening effects of wind around our built environs.

Unley has done some wonderful plantings in the streetscapes and the program to divert runoff on to the street trees is an excellent idea. Then we have the problem of new developments and infill. This is where we all labour to find solutions. If Council could implement a program to give publicity to new constructions where existing trees are incorporated into the design, offering wide media coverage of any suitable designs and maybe offering some certificate of excellence, then the public perception could be changed to a new way of thinking. Publishing in architectural, sustainable housing, Unley Life and other avenues, where people are looking for new concepts and ideas, are some of the areas which could prove useful. Unley could lead the way, with a standard of excellence. I will cite two examples.

I looked at a new house on Fisher Street, with a new dwelling located straight across the block behind a strong healthy eucalypt, or it was. I do not know the reason for its demise. Now one or two sad leaves hang on the lower branches, and birds are perched in the dead upper storey. I could envision the tree forming part of a courtyard, with the tree offering wonderful shade in summer, as the house faced north, and the house framing the tree in its construction. When I visited Opey Avenue recently (mooted for a 7 storey development on Unley Road), I looked at the wonderful eucalypts bordering the road and building alignments, and thought there was a wonderful chance to build new constructions around those magnificent trees.

We need to be proud of our trees and value them as part of our heritage. Work done at Waite Arboretum by Dr Jennifer Gardner and Marian McDouie shows the value of some of the old established trees at Waite. The value to the community of these trees – $13 million.

Another thought, that perhaps when development applications come in requiring cutting down of street trees, efforts should be made to change plans, rather than cut down trees, which take years to then develop their potential for habitat, shade and visual amenity. After all, the trees belong to the City of Unley and residents, not to one land owner.

I await with interest the approach the City of Unley takes to the recent good reports by Kat Ryan and Ben Willsmore, environment staff of Unley Council.

Pat Wundersitz

We urge others to share their ideas on how to save mature trees.


Marvellous Microbes

Sustainable Communities has hosted two talks recently on the microbes found in our soil: the first, at the One Planet Market in May, focused on the diversity of fungi; and the second, a Grow Grow Grow workshop in Unley covered what makes soil so productive, and needing to be treated with care. They fit into a growing awareness of the importance of microbes and their role in biological interactions.

The sheer diversity and abundance of microbes on this planet is astounding. A gram of soil contains thousands of species of microbes. I’ve known that bacteria can exist in many harsh ecosystems around this planet, but I was surprised to find out that fungi too have been found in extreme places such as deep ocean beds, in thermal springs and high in mountain ranges.

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Heroic Tourism did it for the dolphins!

by Jessie Panazzolo

Heroic Tourism, a local Adelaide conservation venture run by Jessie Panazzolo and Shannon Moulds, was proud to focus its first event in 2018 on the plight of dolphins in the tourism industry.

Since 2014, Heroic Tourism has been running as a global initiative to promote positive ethical alternatives to detrimental tourist ventures for wildlife. The event featured a screening on 7 March 2018 of The Cove, about Ric O’Barry’s investigation into the dolphin industry and the impacts that capturing dolphins has on captive individuals, wild populations and the health of Japanese citizens. After the screening, we held a discussion to find out how much the attendees knew about dolphins in tourism, what shocked them and what they had learned from the event.


Here are some reactions:

It’s important to see these things even if you know about the situation, to truly understand the enormity and make that emotional/cognitive connection. Humans (the ones in power) are motivated by greed and have an incredible amount of cognitive dissonance and or willful ignorance. You’re either an activist or an in-activist.

That dude’s persistence to make a change- proved to me that individuals can make a difference. Also how much exposure and understanding can impact an issue – we all need to share as much info as we possibly can!

I had no idea about how dolphins were being treated and mass murdered for no reason. Like I was aware that, yes, captive animals have a lower quality of life compared to wild animals in their natural environment, but I assumed that places like SeaWorld took care of its animals. Now I wonder how many other animal related attractions take terrible care of their animals!

After watching the documentary, 100% of attendees said that they cared more about dolphins in the tourism industry and 78% of people said that since the event they are more inclined to see animals in the wild rather than in tourist facilities.

On Saturday 10 March 2018 we hosted an excursion to swim with Adelaide dolphins on the Temptation sailing boat. We saw two species of dolphins, the local residents, Bottlenose Dolphins as well as the migratory Common Dolphin. It was shocking to hear that Bottlenose Dolphins can live up to 60 years in the wild, but only live up to five years in captivity which just goes to show that being a tourism hero can add 55 years to a dolphin’s life!


If you want to get involved with Heroic Tourism and our future events, please check our website www.heroictourism.com or our Facebook page for updates. Our next event, Education for Elephants on 20 April 2018, in aid of SA Youth Week, will focus on elephants in the tourism industry.

Thank you to Sustainable Communities for supporting this event and we look forward to working with them and a brand new lot of Tourism Heroes in future!



Aldinga Arts Ecovillage Open Day

Aldinga Arts Eco Village is holding an Open Day – 10am to 4pm Sunday 5 November 2017

Open Day images

Building on this 34 hectare village began in 2002 on what was a degraded and barren horse agistment property. Since then the land has slowly been regenerated and is currently home to over 300 people living in an assortment of low-energy dwellings along with shared orchards and open spaces.

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