Help Trees For Life Fund a Forklift!

Help Trees For Life Fund a Forklift!

Trees For Life desperately needs a forklift.  How’s that for something different on a Wish List?  Well, strange as that may seem, a forklift is just what we need at our Betty Westwood Nursery and to buy it we must raise $25,000 before Christmas.

Until recently we had no idea we were ever going to need a forklift.  However, the nursery faced a couple of big challenges in short succession that proved the need was real.  First our foam box supplier closed the business.  Then our soil supplier advised they had changed their delivery methods which meant increased costs.  The knock-on effect of this news was devastating.

What did it mean?  Using a forklift was the only viable solution to get materials to volunteer growers in time for the new season.

I’m sure you know the nursery plays an integral role in our Tree Scheme; where volunteer growers are matched with landholders looking to revegetate their property.  As part of the process, materials need to be ordered, collated and distributed to depots close to the grower’s home location.  Once collected, the volunteer grower or landholder dedicates hours to fill tubes with soil, plant seed, add water and monitor sunlight over several months.  This ensures quality seedlings are delivered on time and ready to revegetate the landscapes we all love.

The collection depots stretch across South Australia from Mount Gambier in the South East to Port Augusta in the North, from Loxton in the Riverland to Port Lincoln and Streaky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula.  In the metropolitan area alone there are 21 depots stretching from Victor Harbor to Gawler.  These depots are staffed entirely by volunteers in each location and we couldn’t do it without their generous support.

To make the distribution and collection of materials as easy as possible, staff at the Betty Westwood Nursery order and coordinate all logistics.

In the past, the foam box company played a key role in our distribution process so their closure was a blow!  Their boxes are easy for our volunteer growers to carry and transport and have worked well in the past.  They provide insulation to reduce water loss and regulate temperature for seedlings…and they’ve been repurposed, saved from landfill to be used over and over again in a statewide revegetation program!

Volunteers fill the tubes with soil then pack 60 snuggly into the box.  Keeping the plants stable in the box allows ease of watering and position in the appropriate level of sunlight.  This all helps produce the quality seedlings needed to plant out in the cooler months.

Fortunately, before the factory closed we were able to purchase and store the required 4,500 boxes for this season at the nursery.  However this added to transport costs and created a new logistical challenge.

How on earth were we going to get the boxes out to the depots in distant parts of the State?  Here’s where the forklift came to the rescue…

We received a couple of bulk soil deliveries at the nursery.  Dedicated volunteers shovelled soil into the boxes, while other volunteers packed the growing materials, tubes and gravel, until the boxes were ready to be stacked on pallets.  Each box of soil weighs 15kg so there was plenty of exercise involved!  Once the pallets were carefully stacked, they had to be wrapped and finally topped with a large blue cover (a giant shower cap).

The result - we had a row of loaded pallets waiting for a truck at the nursery.

Thanks to some quick thinking staff members, we negotiated a trial forklift and called in a favour from a qualified volunteer driver.  The forklift worked a treat!  It coped with the gravel drive-way and made quick work of loading the trucks.

As an added bonus, we used the forklift to tidy up the yard and move heavy items around.  We saw how useful the forklift could be.  It could drastically reduce the many hours spent moving heavy bags of soil, fertiliser and gravel manually and help reduce the risk of injury.

Please can you help Fund a Forklift today?  The race is on to raise $25,000 before Christmas to secure the machine we need at the Betty Westwood Nursery.

We have already invested in other improvements thanks to generous support.  We have some newly fabricated benches to keep plants off the ground and we’ve constructed a shadehouse with a retractable roof that we can adjust to weather conditions and stages of plant growth.  The new irrigation system is working a treat.

This new infrastructure means the nursery can produce double the number of seedlings it has in the past, without any risk to quality, but increasing volume means moving more heavy materials and we need to make sure people work in a safe environment.  We can now appreciate how much time and effort the forklift saved.

The race to fund a forklift is really on.  The recent closure of a large northern suburbs business means there’s an over-supply of forklifts.  Now is the best opportunity ever for Trees For Life to buy a forklift at low cost.  I do hope I can count on your support.

The increased cost of soil delivery means we will have to manage more material distribution directly from our nursery.  The future of the Tree Scheme is at risk.  We need to buy a forklift to ensure grower materials can be supplied to our volunteers in country South Australia as well as metropolitan areas.

To donate to our urgent appeal, please call on (08) 8406 0500 or click the ‘Donate’ tab  The choice is yours.

By supporting us today in our campaign to buy a forklift, you are playing a vital part in saving our rich biodiversity for future generations.

Thank you for your help today.

Natasha Davis, CEO

Trees For Life