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Reflections on Walk For The Trees 2023 – Part 1

Earlier this year, Mark Allaway and Jill Lancashire, our regional coordinators from Australia, kickstarted the planning of an event to fundraise in the name of Global Tree Initiative (GTI) and Atisha Center Bendigo (ACB).

At ACB, Mark, Jill, and the local community have planted (and dedicated) many trees over the last two years.

This was a pioneer event in GTI’s young life! Mark and Ken Fox, a friend from ACB, with vital support from Jill, committed to walking 90km distributed over 4 days. The event was named “Walk For The Trees 2023” and happened from March 27 to 30.

The walking crew kept us updated on their whereabouts, through posts on GTI Australia Facebook page.

There was a lot of planning involved, from knowing the walk’s route to spreading the word to interested people and possible donors. Mark was committed to providing some educational content to the community. Indigenous peoples play an important role in Australia’s history and culture, and Mark was determined to tell us about it and honor it during the walk! The Walk was held at an important time in Australia with a planned National Referendum on Indigenous Recognition in the Australian Constitution.

In this two-part article, we will share the highlights of the four-day event, and re-live some exciting moments!

The first article will cover the first two days, and the second article will tell us about the last two days.

Day 1 – March 27

The journey started with a train ride, at 9:30 am, local time. The crew picked up the train at Sunbury rail station instead of Diggers Rest, as planned, due to a timetable change.

From left to right: Jill, Mark, and Ken

There was rain pouring for a good part of the morning, but Mark shared “walking was very pleasant in 15 degrees under overcast skies”.

The landscape changed from treeless grasslands to having some trees introduced in windbreaks on property boundaries. Mark tells us that they walked through a volcanic area.

“A recently published article has classified the southern Victorian region as an “active” volcanic province. Meaning that an eruption, although not imminent or likely, is still possible! Our walk route today, takes us almost through the middle of about 50 dormant volcanoes. We walked along the eastern edge of one today – Mt Aitken.”

We can see the beginning and end points of the walk’s first day, Sunbury & Gisborne, respectively.

This first day of the walk ended in South Gisborne, where the team stayed for the night at a Vietnamese Buddhist Center, Quang Chieu Buddhist Meditation Centre.

Day 2 – March 28

The second day of the walk was from Gisborne to Woodend. “There was fine, warm weather of 22º, rain [was] gone”, Mark said.

On this second day, the walkers covered 23km in 6.5 hours. They walked on the Taungurong Country through the Black Forest in Macedon Ranges.

Along the walk, Mark would update us with photos of beautiful trees they walked by.

At the end of the day, the crew counted with the company of Brian Ashen, Judith-Ann, and Marcia Langton for dinner.

Marcia Langton is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at Melbourne University. According to Mark, “Dr. Marcia has been a leading activist in indigenous issues for more than 40 years, in Australia. She is a champion of human rights and self-determination for indigenous people.”

Later this year, there will be a referendum in Australia to vote for or against the recognition on First Nations People in the national Constitution. Dr. Marcia is part of the panel that proposed the referendum.

From left to right: Ken Fox, Jill Lancashire, Marcia Langton, Mark Allaway, and Judith-Ann Robertson

 

We hope you enjoyed the first half of this journey! The second part will be published soon. Remember to follow our Global Tree Initiative Australia Facebook page and stay up to date with the latest happenings in Australia!

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