Waiheke Resources Trust is doubling its efforts this planting season
With twice the number of native trees to plant this year, the Waiheke Resources Trust (WRT) needs you! The community planting days for 2021 are:
- Sunday 23 May
- Sunday 20 June
- Sunday 11 July
- Sunday 22 August
“We’re asking people to ‘save a Sunday,’ and come and plant with us,” says Kristin Busher WRT’s Love our Wetlands Project Lead. “We’ll be out on seven fantastic wetland sites digging-in up to a thousand trees on each community planting day and we could do with some extra pairs of hands on shovels.”
Rangihoua is the first site to receive its new trees on Sunday 23 May. The teams will be planting a wide variety of young trees including ti kouka, mahoe and kahikatea — one of New Zealand’s tallest trees. “When people think of wetlands, they often imagine flat areas of small reedy plants, but wetlands extend way beyond the visible waterline, up into the hills and surrounding valleys where forests grow. We are restoring this rich vista and important ecosystem by planting eco-sourced native trees, including some potential giants,” explains Kristin.
Eco-sourced trees are grown from the seeds of existing endemic Waiheke trees. This makes them more resilient to the island’s conditions, increasing their success rate and removing the environmental impact that would otherwise have occurred from transporting trees here from further afield.
The thousands of trees being planted on Waiheke through the Love our Wetlands project have an important job. Their roots will harness soil to the hillside, preventing erosion. The soil can then trap sediment and filter nutrients, which prevents contamination downstream to rivers and oceans.
Wetlands are home to some of New Zealand’s endemic and critically endangered wildlife and when in good health, these ecosystems can absorb carbon from the atmosphere helping to combat climate change. Around 90% of New Zealand’s wetlands have been drained due to agriculture and development. WRT is working hard to bring the wetlands back to Waiheke for the benefit of all.
The doubling of trees for planting this year was made possible by Billion Trees who have provided an additional $91,000 to the Love Our Wetlands Waiheke. The project has gone from strength to strength since WRT started it back in 2015, with help from the Local Board who continue to provide funding each year.
Since 2017, WRT has also gained funding from Trees that Count, Million Meters, the Sustainable Business Network, Jobs for Nature, and Fullers 360. This support has seen the wetland sites expand from four to seven, and as of April 2021, 24,000 eco-sourced native trees have been planted, with help from more than 2,850 volunteers who have given over 10,600 hours of effort.
Anyone who can make it to a community planting day – come rain or shine – and dig-in with the team will be rewarded with spectacular Waiheke Island views, free kai, bucket loads of fun and a legacy of having contributed to the restoration of Waiheke Island’s special wetland habitats. All you need is a closed-toe pair of shoes and a spade if you have one.