The Climate Factory partnered with the Downer Community Park Conservation Group to transform the Cole St park into an enhanced neighbourhood park. Using crowd funding, 189 supporters pledged over $20,000 towards installing a micro-forest of native, climate-ready and fire-ready plants in the park and a Landscape Sketch Plan to provide a blueprint for the future.

The Downer volunteer group has successfully applied for additional funding through the ACT Government Adopt-a-Park program.

You can DONATE to the Downer project by direct deposit:

The Climate Factory
BSB 313 140
Account No 12214509

Type ‘Downer’ into description field and your surname.

Below is a rough sketch plan showing the potential locations of the micro-forest. We would choose trees for the forest based on an analysis of a number of characteristics, including:

  • climate readiness – trees that cope with extreme heat, extreme cold and drought conditions
  • low combustion
  • longevity
  • shade provision

We will trial a diverse array of trees from different plant families and genuses to ensure the forest is resilient to changes in the future.

Rough concept sketch of how the Cole St Downer site could look. White dashed area encloses space to be kept open. Whilst hatched areas represent planting. Circles with a dot in the middle represent trees with grass underneath. The Climate Factory will work with the Downer ParkCare group to develop a Landscape Sketch Plan for the site.

Neighbours adjoining the park and the broader Downer community were invited to a planning session about the park’s future in December 2019. Participants voted on the most important features they wanted to see included in a Landscape Sketch Plan. These were: water harvesting, habitat provision and nature-based play areas.

Participants also agreed that the design should take into account summer sun and winter shade needs as well as sustainable material use.

A copy of the report is available here as a pdf.

The first planting bee will occur in Autumn 2020.

The ACT Government will undertake weed control of the tyre-puncturing three cornered Jack or Emex australis in late 2019 early 2020.

A big thanks to our sponsors, Service One, a 100% community owned bank who kicked off the crowd funding campaign with $5000. Local businesses, Light House Architecture and Science and Federation Financial become Gold Sponsors and donated $1000 each.

Our Silver Sponsors, Bluebell 2509 and Tim Smith pledged $500 towards the project .

The following individuals and businesses pledged $200 to make the project happen.

The Tree Man
The Happy Apostrophe
Katherine Horak
Suzanne Moulis
Robbie Kruger
Baily Hepple
Malcolm Leslie
Alastair Crombie
Bernadette Law
Hannah Louise Landscapes

20 November 2019


Our concept is to create a display of edible climate-ready plants in wicking beds in the City Centre. Native and exotic species are mixed together to provide food, shade and thrive with hotter, drier weather and extreme cold.

Trees, shrubs and groundcovers are planted in a carefully formulated soil mix in the wicking beds to give them all the nutrients they need during their first six months.

Concept sketch of arrangement of edible micro-forest proposed for the City Centre. Wicking beds are used to plant trees, shrubs and groundcovers directly into soil that will help plants thrive for the first six months. Each wicking bed module (4 in total) stores 110 litres of water, reducing the need for supplementary watering in hot weather. A seat provides a place to stop and linger and relax amongst the greenery.

The wicking beds are composed of 85% recycled food grade plastic and each 1mx1m square module has the capacity to hold 110 litres of water at the roots where it’s needed most.

This reduces the amount of time spent maintaining displays which use small pots that require individual hand watering in order for them to look good.

Plant species used and other sustainability tips will be featured here.

In addition to the climate-sensitive micro-forest display we offer one cafe the opportunity to host a workshop run by The Climate Factory on ‘Edible gardening in pots’. This will be a great workshop for people living in apartments and townhouses.

30 November 2019



Our first native micro-forest was installed in October 2019 in a front garden in Downer opposite the Cole St Park. The garden already has many mature native plants but required infill planting.

With our client we planted 300 native plants over 120 square metres.

9 October 2019



In 2018, with the support of hundreds of volunteers, SEE-Change built the Birdscaping #CBR project. This was the first of it’s kind in urban Canberra, located on a rarely used piece of urban open space in O’Connor. The project was designed to attract small threatened native birds (like the Scarlet robin) and insects back into the suburbs. Despite record breaking temperatures in early 2019, the plants thrived.

A scout dad and his son help plant tubestock at Birdscaping CBR.

2000 native trees, shrubs, groundcovers and grasses were planted. Not only will these plants improve local biodiversity, the trees planted will absorb carbon as they grow and help cool the local environment. Hardwood logs were added to attract insects and the birds that prey on them. The logs also double as informal seats.

Insect hotels were added in September 2019.

This project was funded by an ACT Government Environment Grant.

Project value: $43,000
Project location: David St, O’Connor (opposite Turner Primary school)
Project partners: Greening Australia ACT

Find out more about this project