Blue tree project a conversation starter

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Blue Tree Project founder Kendall Whyte.
Camera IconBlue Tree Project founder Kendall Whyte. Credit: Cally Dupe

A touching tribute with Wheatbelt origins has taken Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days by storm, with a permanent structure of a painted blue tree now found on the field days ground.

The Blue Tree Project was inspired by Mukinbudin’s Jayden Whyte and his friend Tjarda Tiedekn who, in February of 2014, late at night, decided to sneak out and paint a dead tree bright blue.

Tragically, Mr Whyte took his own life in November last year.

Kendall Whyte, alongside sister Erryn and friend Simon Comerford, has ensured the blue-tree concept has blossomed.

At the Whyte’s family farm in Mukinbudin, the blue tree that emerged as the Blue Tree Project’s foundation still stands tall. Since it was painted, the concept has firmed as an avenue to promote mental health with more than 150 trees painted blue across WA.

Blue trees have also sprouted in New South Wales, Queensland and even England.

Kendall said hundreds of people had left their painted blue handprint on the tree at Dowerin.

“We had a lot of people sharing stories about their own struggles with mental health, or people who knew my brother coming to say hello,” she said.

“We had hundreds of people coming through, leaving their handprint on the tree.

“I think the site activation at Dowerin allowed people to become a part of the project.

“All in all it was a great success.”

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