Australia Treeplanting 15

French photographer Cécile Lopes takes us to Australia with the treeplanting volunteers.

  • Story Alex
  • Photos Cécile Lopes
  • Soundtrack of the report
  • Tree Huggers
  • Antsy Pants

It’s no secret that Earth is being deforested at alarming speed. Since we are kids, we see those horrific pictures and videos of forests being burned to the ground or of the Amazon Rainforest being exponentially reduced everyday. Whatever the reasons are, the impact on the environment is massive and worrying. But it’s not too late we can still act to preserve the eco-system. Of course, the solution would be to prevent the uncontrolled deforestation but that seems unrealistic on a global scale. Another option is to help reforest the countries where needed. Today we take you to Australia with a series of pictures of some of those volunteering tree planters.

Here’s what Cécile wants to say about the pictures :

Treeplanting is a photo essay I made about Outland Resources, a treeplanting contractor that provides services for the forestry industry since 2000. They have already planted over 70,000 hectares of land, which represents a third of Luxemburg and about 80 million trees.

I volunteered with them for 3 months and became part of multicultural community. Each one of us went past his mental and physical limits in the desolated environment of the Australian outback where life follows the cycles of the Sun.

I shot these pictures during this adventure to be able to share these incredible memories now.”

Australia Treeplanting 1

Treeplanters n°1, Cap York (North of Australia)

Australia Treeplanting 2

Tool n°1, Cap York.

Australia Treeplanting 3

Arthur, Cap York.

Australia Treeplanting 4

Rest, Tully, Queensland.

Australia Treeplanting 5

Gary, Tully, Queensland.

Australia Treeplanting 6

Tool n°2, Cap York.

Australia Treeplanting 7

Tool n°3, Cap York.

Australia Treeplanting 7

Tool n°4, Tully, Queensland.

Australia Treeplanting 9

Mick, Cap York.

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Nap, Queensland.

Australia Treeplanting 11

Cécile, Cap York.

Australia Treeplanting 12

Tool n°5, Cap York.

Australia Treeplanting 13

Treeplanters n°2, Cap York.

Australia Treeplanting 14

Gary, Tully, Queensland.

Australia Treeplanting 15

Team, Cap York.

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The farm, Queensland.

Australia Treeplanting 17

Break, Wallaman falls.

Australia Treeplanting 18

Matt , Wallaman falls.

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Owen, Wallaman falls.

All pictures by Cécile Lopes. More on her website

Portrait Ben

3 questions to Ben, treeplanter :

What volunteering brings to your travels ?

Volunteering isn’t about what it brings to traveling, it’s about what it brings to you and the course you are helping. Obviously in any job while traveling you re-gain a little stability in living that is normally lost with the constant moving and changing of environment, but volunteering gives you as much if not more happiness than the people you are helping. The feeling to help and the gift of giving your time for free will always be one felt by both the giver and the receiver.

What is the best advice you could give to anyone planting trees ?

Planting trees is some of the hardest yet most rewarding work I have ever done. Not only in weekly pay-off but in breaking physical and psychological boundaries. The best thing I could tell someone to do is to stick it out! The first week of tree planting is always going to be the hardest, your body isn’t use to constant bashing and your mind isn’t conditioned to push your body through repeating the same action thousands of times a day, you feel clumsy, you have no rhythm and normally feel like you just went through some sort of torture to only come out with nothing more than a few dollars…
But give yourself a little time, a lot of positive and maybe competitive energy and get in the zone, and before you can smash another tree into ground you’ll have done things a few months before you would have sworn were impossible!

Any plans on planting trees again or do more volunteer work ?

Volunteering is a hugely varied bag of opportunities and is something I will always be drawn back to, but tree planting on the other hand…. To be honest last year I returned to Australia but had no plan to go back to tree planting. I love to learn new things and have new experiences, and generally spend my time searching out this instead of going back to things I already know. But when the phone-call came I couldn’t refuse. The allure of working in amazingly distant, beautiful environments and again testing, and further pushing my boundaries to come out at the other end with more than just a nice sized paycheck lead me back!
So the answer is never yes, but it definitely isn’t no!

Resources for potential treeplanters :

Interested in helping the environment ? Here’s some interesting links to know more about tree planting :