FRIENDS OF THE FOREST A BOOST FOR BIODIVERSITY

FRIENDS OF THE FOREST A BOOST FOR BIODIVERSITY

FRIENDS OF THE FOREST A BOOST FOR BIODIVERSITY 150 150 The Flyer Magazine

More than 30,000 native plants have been planted around the Wakatipu during the past four years by hundreds of Wakatipu Reforestation Trust volunteers who’ve turned out to help give the biodiversity of the basin a boost.

Another 4600 native plants were also planted across 17 local locations this autumn planting season by 222 volunteers who helped out at the trust’s five community planting days. Three thousand of the autumn plants were planted at the trust’s five key sites on public planting days.Between 30 and 67 people turned out at each planting day and co-founder Barb Simpson says it’s been amazing to see so many younger people with a big interest in sustainability turning out to help. Parents also turn up at the planting days with their children, making an educational family outing of it. The remainder of the 4600 plants went to community groups, schools and businesses that the trust supports and that have their own public land planting projects.

These include the likes of the Alpine Retreat community group, Queenstown Rotary, which has two planting areas, the Wakatipu Trails Trust, Queenstown Climbing Club, which also has two planting sites, the Morning Star group at Arthur’s Point and Shotover School. The children at the school have been helping to plant at the wetland below the school for some three years now.Boosting biodiversity is an expensive undertaking which is thankfully bolstered greatly with help from the Leslie Hutchins Conservation Foundation and the Jean Malpas Environmental Trust, as well as contributions from the Queenstown Lakes District Council, and other trust and community grant funding.

“We plant all of the native plants, trees and shrubs that would normally grow in the Wakatipu, like pitossporums, olearias, coprosmas and kowhai,” says Barb.“The work we’re doing now will pay off, increasing the biodiversity of the Wakatipu Basin, including insects, lizards and birdlife,” she says. “Seventy-five percent of all living creatures in the world are insects.”

Depending on the species of plant, maturity of the trees could take anything from just a few years for a flax through to a few hundred years for a Kahikatea.

Planting days are always quite social with a cuppa, biscuits and barbecue all part of the fun. There’s no experience required and the Kelvin Heights nursery will be open during the winter for any volunteers wanting to come and help grow the next season’s plants, learn and meet new people.

For further information see:

www.wrtqt.org.nz