Queenstown tourism workers get hands dirty for green cause

Mar 26, 2024

More than 2,500 native trees have been planted on reserve land near Lake Hayes after two days of hard work by teams of volunteers from the tourism sector.

More than 140 people got stuck in at the community planting days at Slope Hill Reserve as part of the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust and Mana Tāhuna’s week-long efforts at the site.

The week's efforts bring the total number of new plants in the ground over the last six months to 4,000. 

Love Queenstown coordinator Ash Bickley says participation across the industry has been overwhelming, with volunteer numbers exceeding expectation in a true display of collaboration and the power of collective action.

"Love Queenstown connects our visitors and visitor industry to environmental projects of impact to ensure our rohe (region) thrives for generations to come. These planting events are a perfect example of how communities can show up, do more for our backyard, and drive essential environmental action in our district."

Whakatipu Reforestation Trust’s operations manager Karen O’Donahoo says, “Events like these require a huge amount of coordination, funding, and, importantly, hands on deck. We are so grateful for the support from Love Queenstown, who played a huge role in making this event such a success”.

Key stakeholders in the tourism sector, including Queenstown Airport, Skyline Enterprises, and Ziptrek Ecotours, alongside other activity and accommodation providers, took part in the planting. 

On other days, local schools, businesses from other sectors, and members of the public also got stuck in with planting work.

The plantings are part of a wider project that began in 2019 with the goal to remove willows and restore native trees and shrubs along the creek that runs adjacent to the cycle trail to Mill Creek, leading to Lake Hayes/Waiwhakaata. 

In doing so, project leads hope to play a role in establishing an ecological corridor stretching from Arrowtown to Lake Whakatipu, creating a substantial seed bank in the heart of the basin.

Meanwhile Love Queenstown is a giving platform that invites visitors and the visitor industry to protect the district, now and for generations to come. Its inaugural funding round will be announced in the coming month, when applications will be invited from local organisations operating in climate, conservation, and biodiversity spaces.

Main image (Supplied/Dave Oakley): Tourism volunteers plant native trees at a volunteer work day at the site of the Slope Hill Restoration Project.


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