Members of the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) Alumni Solomon Islands Chapter are working with Solo Enviro Beautification (SEB) to upgrade the Solomon Islands Memorial Garden in Henderson, in the lead-up to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal in August.
Since its establishment in 2007, more than 10,600 Pacific Islanders have graduated from APTC and have gone on to become APTC ambassadors and advocates through the APTC Alumni Association.
APTC is an innovative development project funded by the Australian Government, delivering Australian skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers for skilled workers across the Pacific region.
The APTC Alumni Solomon Islands Chapter, which takes on a community initiative every year, is very excited to assist SEB with the Solomon Islands Memorial Garden project.
On 13 May, the alumni along with APTC staff assisted with the first “garden bee” activity, which involved a general cleanup, weeding and creating a trimmed space around plaques at the base of each tree.
In 2000, SEB, which is a non-profit, charitable organisation, developed the garden as a remembrance park to honor those who either died or fought during WWII.
APTC Alumni Solomon Islands Chapter Chairperson, Mr Clement Oikali said it was a wonderful experience to connect and give back to the community.
“Not only have we alumni and my two children, done something fantastic for the community today, but we have also learnt about an important piece of Solomon Island’s history,” he said.
Another “garden bee” activity took place on 27 May. More “garden bee” activities are planned.
APTC Solomon Islands Country Manager, Ms Pamela Morgan said: “The APTC Alumni network is committed towards making a difference in the community and the collaboration with Solo Enviro Beautification will enable this to happen.”
SEB Chairperson, Ms Keithie Saunders said "SEB is grateful for APTC’s support in assisting with the development of the park by clearing away grass from the base of trees, and planting small flower shrubs supplied by SEB."
She looks forward to the continued collaboration, and believes, this will greatly benefit the community. “The garden is a tranquil park of remembrance and a fitting memorial to the many names that sit in the plaques at the base of the Carilla trees.”
Over 500 Carilla trees were planted in rows throughout the garden. The Carilla tree was chosen as its drooping branches represent soldiers standing to attention. There are also three larger plinths with remembrance plaques of the US Marines, in the garden centre. SEB is assisted by the Solomon Islands Department of Civil Aviation in maintaining the garden.
The Solomon Islands Memorial Garden is open seven days a week. Anyone wishing to sponsor a tree and plaque can contact the SEB office on 22832 for an application form.