Canberra Tree Week 2018
Nestled away in the heart of the National Botanic Gardens, screams and cheers for the daring climbers making their way down the tree could be heard echoing across the vast garden holding the largest living collection of native Australian flora, as they competed in The Australian Capital Tree Community Climbing Championship.
There was considerable support from their families and friends as the climbers competed against each other, the competition also drew crowds of curious onlookers visiting the gardens for a Saturday stroll.
Compared to last years event which was held in Telopea Park, this year participants were treated with a warm sunny day, and although the foliage cannot be compared to last year’s beautiful falling yellow autumn leaves, the feat of climbing this year’s Eucalyptus offered no different challenges.
Standing below, it was hard to visualise how high the climbers were above you and how far between each branch they had to climb. On each round, climbers were lifted to the top of the tree where they calculated their movements to each station on the tree, marked by a bell which was to be rung by the climber. Each climber was judged on their speed, smoothness and safe practice of their climb. There were two different trees assigned to climb, one of the trees was reserved for the more advanced climbers as the competitors ranged from amateurs to more advanced athletes.
Members of the ACT Scouts branch provided a BBQ and a gelato stand for the public. Mont Industrial have been sponsoring the event for three years now and this year had a stall set up offering an extensive specialised range of tree climbing and arborist equipment.
The event ran from Saturday 6th of May through to Sunday 7th of May and marked the end of Canberra’s Tree Week which began on Monday the 30th of April. The annual celebration encourages the community to appreciate and admire all things trees.
The week started off with tours of the English Gardens hosted by Friends of ACT Trees, and each day library branches (pun not intended) across Canberra hosted Tree Week themed story time. A highlight of the week included the tours of tree of significance at the National Arboretum and at the ANU. The week also saw the inaugural event of Hug a Tree Day, where people celebrated the connection and relationships shared between people and tree. Participants giving out free hugs to trees at the Arboretum were given a certificate for their participation and it also set the first record to see how many people can simultaneously hug trees at the Arboretum, this was also done in preparation for next year’s attempt to break the Guinness World Record.