Trust celebrates decade of planting


Songs of tūī and bellbirds would not be as common in the Queenstown Lakes District if it was not for the work of the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust.

The trust has spent the last 10 years working to restore flora and fauna by planting native trees.

Commemorative trees were planted at the trust’s nursery in Kelvin Heights’ Jardine Park this month to celebrate its anniversary.

Created by Barb and Neil Simpson , the trust has planted 80,828 native trees throughout the Queenstown Lakes District over the past decade.

Songs of tūī and bellbirds are now more common in the Queenstown Lakes District thanks to the...
Songs of tūī and bellbirds are now more common in the Queenstown Lakes District thanks to the work of the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust. Photo: DOC
Mr and Mrs Simpson originally set the trust up because they had too many plants in their garden. They said they started off with about 1000 plants and grew from seeds and cuttings, and now had 30,000 growing in the nursery.

"We had no idea it would turn into something this big; we have gone from being volunteer-run to having three part-time employees," Mrs Simpson said.

The Jardine Park nursery housed 97 species of plants including shrubs, toi toi and natives.

She said they had about five threatened plant species in their nursery, because they were thinking of native lizards, birds and insects "that need native plants".

The trust also did educational work with local schools, and had given 6000 plants to school projects.

"Education is just so important for the longevity for our project, and the kids love getting their hands dirty," Mrs Simpson said.

The trust had also given 18,000 plants to 20 different community groups.

Originally a volunteer, Karen O’Donahoo had become the operations manager of the trust.

She said it was "really special" to be able to make an impact in the environment at a time when it was "so easy to feel so hopeless".

The next big thing for the trust is the planting of 30,000 trees on Slope Hill.

They have been donated by the He Rā Rākau Tītapu — King Charles III Coronation Planting and the Hilton Global Foundation.

olivia.judd@odt.co.nz

 

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