Eyes on the canopy

People come to Pittwater for its beauty but not everyone is aware of the fragility of our environment, under threat from urbanisation and development. Fortunately there are many groups devoted to protecting our flora and fauna, some old and some new.

One of the latest to form is Canopy Keepers, founded about a year ago by a group of like-minded people whose name describes their intent. Education, advocacy and action about the value of maintaining a healthy tree canopy are the group’s focus.

Deborah Collins was writing a thesis at home in Avalon when the need for an organisation such as Canopy Keepers spoke loudly to her. Very loudly. Wanting to work in the area of environmental policy, she was studying science communication and was horrified by the sound of chainsaws busily at work felling mature trees. “I was either going to move or find other people who felt similarly to me. I didn’t necessarily want to be on the front line with the bulldozers but wanted to work in environmental activism,” Deborah says.

Having worked with others to set up a team and an impressive website, Deborah is keen to increase the organisation’s membership (which is free). The group understands that influence comes with numbers.

“We’re really into preservation and regeneration and we think education and awareness is the way to go,” says Deborah. “We’re not into being adversarial and shaming and upsetting people. I want to stress that we see so much planting of trees but where we’re really failing is preserving the old canopy. It’s fabulous to plant trees but these little seedlings that we’re putting in are not going to be a hollow for an animal for 100 years.”

Canopy Keepers does have a planting program, outlined on its website, but preservation of mature trees is the key goal.

“The balance is not right. Taking out one tree can affect a pathway and a pathway affects all the critters who need that pathway. We need to think about them, not just ourselves.”

For full details see the Canopy Keepers website.

Image Caption: Canopy loss affects wildlife, climate, our wellbeing and much more
courtesy Canopy keepers 

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