Thousands of plants bed in at Silverstream

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Fulton Hogan staff joined volunteers for a recent planting day at Silverstream Reserve. Photo: Supplied
Fulton Hogan staff joined volunteers for a recent planting day at Silverstream Reserve. Photo: Supplied
Volunteers have planted about 3500 native seedlings at Silverstream Reserve this year.

Waimakariri District Council community projects officer Mike Kwant says he has enjoyed working with the Silverstream Volunteers, the Silverstream Reserve Advisory Group and other community organisations, since he took oversight of the project two months ago.

''It's a busy time of year with planting and when you're using community and volunteers it takes a bit more time, but it's more enjoyable.

''With the Silverstream Reserve, the beauty of it is that a lot of the neighbours are either on the advisory group or among the volunteers, so it's a real collaborative effort and you can see the progress of what's happened over the last 10 years,'' he says.

''I feel quite privileged to have had the mantle passed on to me and it's a good crew to work with.''

While much of the earlier work had been carried out at the eastern end of the reserve, around 2000 kanuka seedlings have been planted at the western end in the last 18 months, Mr Kwant says.

''Some of these plantings don't take off, but at Silverstream Reserve you can see you are contributing and the rewards are there. People are now walking their dogs and there's horse riding in the reserve, so people are enjoying the environment.''

Taggarts Earthmoving recently mulched gorse and broom in the reserve as part of the company's community environmental project, while staff from Fulton Hogan helped plant 650 seedlings near the Heywards Road entrance last week.

Other businesses and community organisations which have supported the project this year include staff from Spark (575 seedlings), RSA volunteers (660 seedlings), the University of Canterbury and Waimakariri Student Volunteer Armies (600 seedlings), community Arbor Day planting (300 seedlings), Church of Latterday Saints (290 seedlings) and conservation volunteers (420 seedlings).

Mr Kwant says planting at Silverstream Reserve is now winding down as the weather conditions will get warmer and drier over coming months.

However, there will be plenty of opportunities for the community to get involved next year.

''When you plant a couple of thousand seedlings you don't want to be constantly watering them. But we will be starting again in the autumn.

''If you've got a group that's keen to do some work in their community, we can offer an opportunity to help out.

''We've got all the spades and the gear and we can connect you with the Silverstream Volunteers, who are out there every week.''

Any groups wanting to volunteer at Silverstream Reserve or other planting projects in the district can email Mike at michael.kwant@wmk.govt.nz, or, alternatively, Noelene at silverstream.volunteers@gmail.com, or phone (021) 0676446.