World Environment Day 2009
Friday 5th June, 2009Over 50 members of the public, including students and staff from local corporate organisations, supporters and volunteers of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, celebrated World Environment Day and Arbor Day by planting 1300 native trees and shrubs. The planting took place at Okia, a 230 hectare reserve jointly owned by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and the Dunedin City Council.
The tree planting is a contribution to returning the native biodiversity to this special part of Dunedin City, home to 20 pairs of yellow-eyed penguins breeding in the reserve.
The trees were planted by students from Bayfield High School, representatives and staff and from the Dunedin City Council, Natural History New Zealand, Department of Conservation (Women and Community Relations Team), Trust staff, Trustees and volunteers.
David McFarlane, field manager for the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, said the event was an opportunity for corporate staff to experience first hand a day that has special significance. "World Environment Day is an opportunity for people and organisations to join together to make a difference in their local environment. The trees and shrubs we are planting will help restore the natural biodiversity to this area, encouraging regeneration of native forest and a number of species, including native birds and lizards, to return to breed".
The trees and shrubs were planted on a slope between the Big Pyramid and Taiaroa Bush, the largest remaining area of native forest on Otago Peninsula. The planting will now link up older plantings that were begun in 2001/2002. What was formerly a grassy slope, grazed by sheep and cattle until 1991, now proudly sports a mini-forest of trees, planted by other volunteers over the past eight years.
The tree planting at the reserve also offered an opportunity for corporate organisations and individuals to reduce their impact on the environment and support the Trust nursery. As part of an ongoing commitment to offsetting its carbon footprint, television production company NHNZ donated 1,500 trees to the Trust as well as sending a team of about 10 paid staff to attend the tree planting day. Managing Director Michael Stedman said the donation was part of a long-standing relationship NHNZ enjoyed with the Trust.
"We're delighted to be able to help the Trust and other conservation projects who are making a positive contribution to the environment and local ecosystems. As a global production company, NHNZ is keen to support these projects as part of offsetting our carbon footprint, and to ensure that our environmental legacy continues to be positive," he said.
The Trust will maintain the new plantings for at least three years, spraying competing exotic grasses and ensuring the protective wire cages are secure, to stop rabbits and hares from damaging the trees.
The Trust nursery still requires additional funding for 2010 to continue planned conservation activity. Each tree planted costs on average $5 to 6 to grow to the stage where they are ready for planting. The protective mesh cage staked around the tree costs about $1.50.
Any organisations or individuals that would like to support the Trust nursery and get involved can contact the Trust directly on phone 03 479 0011