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Microsoft in your community

Planting trees in Hebersham, Australia for urban climate resilience

Trees help urban communities cope with climate change, their green canopy affording a respite from heat while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This local initiative brings trees to sun-exposed city streets in greater Sydney and Melbourne. Microsoft has partnered with Blacktown City Council to plant 400 new street trees throughout the Hebersham community. The Hebersham project is part of a global portfolio of urban forestry projects Microsoft is supporting in partnership with global reforestation nonprofit One Tree Planted.

Empowering neighbors to design a cooling landscape

This initiative is designed to bring climate resilience to sun-exposed urban areas. According to an article in Communications Earth & Environment, urban areas around the world are warming 29% faster than rural areas. Trees are a simple resource not only for cooling neighborhoods, but also for absorbing carbon dioxide emissions.

Blacktown City Council invites community members to give input on the tree planting design. Residents weigh factors such as the appearance, maintenance, environmental impact, and financial benefit of different types and layouts of trees. “This allows local communities to collaborate on the design of street trees to provide shade, maximise cooling, and reduce urban heat, as well as reduce the need for air conditioning,” explains Daniel Leonard, Arboriculture Coordinator for Blacktown City Council.

Coming together as a community for a greener Hebersham

For the Hebersham tree planting project, Blacktown City Council, a team of local citizens and over 80 Microsoft employees planted 45 large canopy trees as well as over 100 shrubs and understory plants around Heber Park at Hebersham in October 2022 and April 2023, creating much-needed canopy cover for a suburb that is struggling with urban heat and heat vulnerability. A focus of the planting was to provide shade over a popular sporting ground and play space located within Heber Park.

The tree planting volunteers teamed up to focus on different areas and created different planting designs. A spirit of healthy competition for “Best Planting Effort” reigned at the event. The winning team, named “Tree Cubed,” took the honors with 15 shade trees planted in an interesting design.

This local council initiative brings communities together to improve the liveability of public spaces while making a positive impact on the environment. Microsoft is proud to partner with this effort alongside Blacktown City Council. In addition, Microsoft tree planting volunteer hours are company matched, with donations going to our global reforestation partner One Tree Planted.

““We are pleased to partner with Microsoft at Hebersham Park. Thank you for providing the trees and the team of volunteers to plant them on the day.””
—Daniel Leonard, Arboriculture Coordinator, Blacktown City Council