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Wetlands get helping hand on Arbor Day

Wetlands get helping hand on Arbor Day

Wetlands in two regional parks will benefit from Arbor Day tree planting in June. School children will help re-create wetland forest at Queen Elizabeth Park, Kapiti Coast, and Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, Pauatahanui.

“Wetlands are some of New Zealand’s most damaged natural environments, with over 90% having been drained or severely modified. Arbor Day is a chance to plant trees and help repair some of the damage,” says Greater Wellington Landcare committee chairman Chris Laidlaw.

At Queen Elizabeth Park on Tuesday, 8 June, over 130 children will plant suitable wetland plants such as ti kouka (cabbage tree) and harakeke (flax).

Park ranger Chris Muller says, “This will be the fourth year we have planted in this area, and it’s very rewarding for us and the children to see how fast the trees grow in a relatively short time.”

The second planting, at Battle Hill on Friday 11 June, will take place in Swampy Gully. This has been fenced off from stock and is ready for some large scale planting. Ti kouka will feature again, along with toetoe, kahikatea and a range of wetland grasses.

Cr Laidlaw says, “Healthy wetlands have many benefits. They act like a giant ‘sponge’ soaking up excess water, stabilising the land during floods and providing places for plants and animals to live. They also help filter excess nutrients running off farmland and keep streams and lakes clear of algae and other plants. All these help make our region a more attractive and healthy place to be.”

The plantings are at Queen Elizabeth Park, MacKays Crossing entrance,10.30am on Tuesday 8 June and at Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, foot of Paekakariki Hill Road, 10am on Friday 11 June. Anyone is welcome to come along and lend a hand. Refreshments will be served after the plantings.

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