The South Australian Urban Forest Masterclass

With the support of financial partners (Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources and the City of Adelaide) and in-kind partners (SA Water Seed Consulting, AILA SA and Heynes Nursery who provided plants for the day), the South Australian Urban Forestry Masterclass was held at the Learning Centre at SA Water on September 18, 2016.

Initially only budgeted for as a half day workshop, the overwhelming interest and support from South Australia meant that we were able to extend the program to a full day.

With 17 speakers in total, the day was broken-up into six sessions designed for rapid transfer of practical information as well as networking and discussion to build capacity among South Australians wanting to increase and improve urban green space.

Speakers followed the structure of the “How to Grow an Urban Forest” workbook co-designed by DELWP, the City of Melbourne and the 202020 Vision as a means by which to share thoughts on best-practice methodology. However, all but the exception of one speaker were from South Australia and therefore the content on the day was contextually relevant to the location. 

The first session was opened by the Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray and Minister for Climate Change. Minister Hunter applauded the 202020 Vision and the Urban Forestry Masterclass as an important way for policy-makers at the State Government level to understand and better collaborate with practitioners working on the ground. He emphasised the need for collaboration across the sector, and was incredibly optimistic about the progress being made in SA.

The Minister’s key themes  - the importance of collaboration and the impetus for ambitious urban forestry targets were picked up by Allison Collins a Senior Executive with the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure who provided detail surrounding Adelaide’s 30 Year Plan and the canopy targets that will be set as a part of this.

Subsequent speakers represented local government, health research and academia and provided a great many practical tips and advice on how to develop the policy rationale for urban forestry, but also importantly, how this converts to more plants and trees in the ground. 

During Session Five, which was all about how to overcome irrigation as a barrier to urban greening, Mellissa Bradley from SA Water enthusiastically advocated for more plants as an integral aspect to water sensitive urban design, saying “I’m an engineer, so I love my concrete and structures but I spend all of my money on plants”. 

As you may be aware, South Australia was hit by a major blackout the day of the Urban Forestry Masterclass. Fortunately for us the lights went out as the final presenter in the final session was presenting his final slide! It was a dark evening in Adelaide and a bumpy ride home but we came away from the Masterclass with a real sense of optimism and enthusiasm for all of the great things happening in SA. 

Local Government: 
City of Adelaide, City of Charles-Sturt, City of Marion, City of Salisbury, City of Prospect, City of Burnside, City of Unley, City of Port Adelaide-Enfield, City of Silsbury, Town of Gawler, City of West Torrens, City of Murray Bridge, City of Campbelltown, City of Tea Tree Gully, City of Mt Barker

State Government: 
The Hon Ian Hunter Minister MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray and Minister for Climate Change, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure, SA Water, Water Sensitive SA, Natural Resources Adealide and Mount Lofty Ranges, LGA SA, ODASA, Environment Protection Office SA

Industry Groups: 
AILA SA, NGIASA (Carl Heyne), Master Landscapers SA

Community sector:
The Heart Foundation, Gardening Australia, Resilient Hills and Coasts, The Food Forrests, Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association, Renewal SA, EnDev Geographic Consulting, Greening Australia

Fifth Creek Studio, Seed Consulting, Aspect Studio, Wax Design, Inside Infrastructure, Peats Soil, Hursts Plant Farm, Greenwell Water Savers, In Eye Design, Stephen Poole Permaculture and Landscaping, French Enviro, Conscious Lifestyles, Suter Planners, ACROplan, Adelaide Arb Consultants, Fern Avenue Community Garden


Adelaide University, Flinders University, TAFE Urrbrae Campus, CSIRO, TAFE SA, University of SA


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