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Close to 10,000 trees purchased by Sunshine Coast businesses, visitors and tourism operators through the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Program will take root at a community planting day in the next 8-10 weeks, marking a milestone for the pioneering initiative.

Created by Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) in conjunction with Reforest and Sunshine Coast Council just over six months ago, the program encourages businesses and tourists to offset their carbon impact by funding trees to plant locally.

The first site to be regenerated is an eco-accommodation site near Eumundi and the native trees will be provided and planted by Noosa and District Landcare.

Reforest’s CEO and Co-Founder, Daniel Walsh, said the progress was very encouraging for both the Sunshine Coast environment and tourism community.

“It’s great to reach the six-month milestone for this first-of-a-kind destination program that brings together the local tourism industry and visitors to restore local ecosystems,” said Mr Walsh.

“In just a few months we’ll be planting the first 9500 trees at the project site in Cooroy, and we can’t wait to get everyone together to put those trees into the ground.

“It’s a real credit to Visit Sunshine Coast and the various businesses who are leading the initiative.”

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Matt Stoeckel, said: “The natural appeal of the Sunshine Coast is one of the main reasons visitors come here and it’s so important that the tourism industry continues to play a lead role in ensuring a greener future for the destination.

“It’s the tourism industry’s way of giving back to the community, removing carbon and restoring natural habitat on the Sunshine Coast.”

“We know our visitors are looking for sustainable experiences when considering where to go and what to do on their holiday and the Sunshine Coast delivers this in spades,” Mr Stoeckel said.

“This program, through a partnership with Reforest and Sunshine Coast Council, unites tourism operators to come together and make a real and meaningful difference to our destination.”

The first two properties selected for regeneration are both former cattle properties and the native trees purchased through the program will help restore native sub-tropical rainforest.

“The sites at Caloundra and in the Cooroy Mountain Wildlife Corridor had been cleared and are being regenerated with native plant species to improve biodiversity and provide safe habitats for endangered species such as koalas, the tiny Coxen’s parrot and the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly,” Mr Stoeckel said.

“We are so lucky to be situated in a Biosphere corridor with three UNESCO Biosphere regions side by side, which is unique in Australia. That is a drawcard for Australian and international visitors, who generate over $5.2 billion annually in revenue to support the Sunshine Coast’s businesses and community,” he said.

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