Cashing in 30 years on

Cowwarr Primary School has reaped the benefits some 30 years later after planting more than 1100 trees at a site now owned by HVP Plantation back in the 1980s.

Last week the school received a $21,890 cheque from the company after the trees, spread out across a 1.8 hectare site at Boola, were harvested.

Cowwarr Primary School principal Albie Fitt said it was good for the school’s 13 students to connect with the community after the initial plantation was planted in 1887.

“It connects us up with the generations of people who worked to build the Cowwarr community,” Mr Fitt said.

“It connects current students to past students and current community to past community and I think that’s important in a small town and community.”

The donation is part of HVP Plantations’ School Plantations Scheme which has been running throughout the Latrobe Valley since the 1950s.

The scheme allocates parcels of land to schools in Gippsland, allowing a plantation to grow and be harvested, before the money from the sale of plantation is returned to the school community.

HVP Plantations provide the land at a nominal annual lease of $15 to the school as well as the fertiliser and weed control to keep the crop growing over its lifespan.

“We’re going to work as a team to work how that money will benefit the current school population,” Mr Fitt said.

“The school council and students work together in a very close team, so we’re going to be consulting parents and there will student and staff input to make the best decision as to how the money will be spent.”

Mr Fitt thanked HVP Plantations for its support as the school unveiled a special paper tree thanking the company and the people who started the program last week.

HVP Plantations Cowwarr nursery supervisor Rob Taylor said the harvested timber would be used to make treated pine posts for fences and house framing.

“The tops of trees went to Australia Paper Maryvale mill to make paper products such as Reflex photocopy paper,” Mr Taylor said.

“I’m always happy to see local schools across Gippsland, like Toongabbie and Cowwarr where I live and work, receive money like that.”

Since 1985 more than $1 million has been donated to Gippsland schools under the scheme.