A milestone year for Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway
Past and present trustees and coordinators gathered at Joyce Reserve in Glentunnel to celebrate the planting of the 100,000th native seedling in the Te Ara Kākāriki Canterbury Greenway last week.
Glentunnel school students, Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage, Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton and local leaders joined the trust to plant five Podocarpus tōtara to mark the milestone.
Te Ara Kākāriki began planting native species in Selwyn in 2009 with the aim of restoring biodiversity to Canterbury through the creation of a native Greenway or corridor. The vision is to create a series of Greendots or small forests, linking the mountains to the sea and Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, providing habitat for indigenous birds and wildlife. Later this year the trust will plant their 100th Greendot site.
Trust Co-Chair Craig Pauling addressed guests, acknowledging the community and leader for their support on the journey. The story of the trust he said was “a story of vison, collaboration and perseverance.” In the early 2000’s “people thought we might be a bit crazy.” The first reaction when approaching one group about planting on their site was why?
The Canterbury Plains has less than .5% native coverage. “It was a struggle at the start, it was tough to find funding” Craig said, (Funders) “only wanted to protect remnants, we wanted to add to them, create the remnants of tomorrow, to recreate the corridor that was there in the past”
Minister Sage congratulated Te Ara Kākāriki, “getting to 100,000 trees is a magnificent achievement and an awful lot of hard mahi.” She acknowledged the contribution of the landowners, nurseries and all involved as there is a lot of work put in before and after the planting of each seedling.
Te Ara Kākāriki have been planting with Glentunnel School at the Joyce Reserve Greendot for four years adding to work of the Coalgate/Glentunnel Reserve Committee. There is now a great mix of young and established native plantings at the site, making a stunning recreation and picnic spot just off State Highway 77 beside the Waikirikiri/Selwyn river.
Glentunnel school students assisted Minister Sage, Mayor Broughton and Committee Chair Phillip Shaw to plant the tōtara before finishing off the celebration with a cake and drinks. The students later planted another 250 native seedlings as part of a Te Ara Kākāriki Kids Discovery Plantout day. Sixteen Selwyn schools are taking part in the Kids Discovery Plantout Programme this year giving students the opportunity to learn about and improve their local ecosystem through planting and related activities such as invertebrate investigations and pest monitoring.
Te Ara Kākāriki have also held three community planting days with volunteers this Spring. The last public plant-out of 2020 will be held on Saturday October 3 in West Melton. More volunteers are welcome and further information can be found HERE