600 seedlings, 11 years, a lifetime of friendship 

How Tree Scheme’s unique aim to unite landholders with volunteer growers brought true friendship between one grower and Mt Torrens farmers.

Every summer, nearly 600 South Australians grow native seedlings in their backyards through TFL’s Tree Scheme. When the growing season ends, an estimated 250,000 new plants will adorn the state’s landscape.

One of those growers making a difference to the environment is Blackforest resident Alan Norton.

After retiring in 1998, Alan registered to be a volunteer grower with the Tree Scheme and hasn’t skipped a year since. He spent the first three years as a volunteer grower helping students at Blackforest Primary School grow seedlings, then the next two years growing seedlings for the Wanbi Landcare Group.

For the past 11 years, Alan has grown more than 600 native seedlings for the Hermanns in Mt Torrens.

Noel and Dianne are fifth-generation Hermanns who run beef and dairy cattle and sheep on their 500-acre property. When Noel and Dianne took on a local Landcare project, they started action to put native plants back on their property. Initially they ordered kits from Trees For Life so they could grow their own seedlings. With a busy life on the farm, they soon found out that Tree Scheme could help by supplying a volunteer grower.

Since Alan took on the Hermanns’ growing duties, a special relationship has flourished. So special, in fact, that Alan recently nominated the Hermanns for a Trees For Life award, recognising the appreciation they have for him as a volunteer, and the work they’ve done on transforming creek beds on their property.

The respect is mutual. “They are the most wonderful people to grow for,” Alan says. Noel observes: “Alan is very particular and the trees we get from him are superb.”

When Alan hands over his latest batch of seedlings in April-May this year, it may well be one of the last he grows for the Hermanns, as they draw closer to completing their revegetation works. Regardless of when that time comes, there is no doubt that a lifelong friendship has been forged and both Alan and the Hermanns can be proud of their environmental contributions.

Find out how the Tree Scheme unites landholders with volunteer growers