The Griffith University EcoCentre will facilitate the Queensland operation of One Tree Per Child, the environmental initiative created by singer Olivia Newton-John and co-founder of Planet Ark, Jon Dee.

The Queensland program was launched last week at Lota State School when Mr Dee was joined by the Brisbane City Council’s Wynnum-Manly representative, Councillor Peter Cumming, EcoCentre personnel and Lota students for a tree-planting ceremony.

The event also represented the beginning of the EcoCentre’s role with One Tree Per Child, a platform for school-aged children to connect with the environment and their communities through tree-planting.

The Federal Government is also backing the initiative, recently pledging $300,000 to help plant 100,000 trees nationally.

EcoCentre manager Ms Delwyn Langdon says the connection between Griffith University and One Tree Per Child is exciting.A tree in a field

“Environmental studies and sustainability practice have been essential to the Griffith philosophy from the start,” says Ms Langdon. “Our involvement with One Tree Per Child continues that commitment.

“We will effectively be running the state program from the EcoCentre on our Nathan campus, and we’re very excited to be reaching out to schools to spread the message of sustainability.”

Since co-founding Planet Ark in 1991 with Australian tennis great Pat Cash, Jon Dee has driven many successful environmental programs, including DoSomething and One Tree Per Child. In 2010 he was named NSW Australian of the Year.

During a visit to the Nathan campus in 2014, Mr Dee praised Griffith University’s commitment and leadership on social and environmental issues.

“Initiatives such as the EcoCentre are proof that Griffith does not just talk about taking positive action; it goes out and does it,” he said.

“All campaigns, no matter what they are, need change agents to lead the way. Griffith University is clearly taking on the responsibility to be one of those change agents.

“In terms of environmental sustainability, it’s about communicating a compelling message that encourages others to recognise the value of contributing to the common and greater good.

“That way, sustainability can become second nature for everyone, and that can only be of benefit for us and the world.”