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ChCh winter planting programme shows enthusiasm

ChCh winter planting programme shows community enthusiasm

Over the last three months many of Christchurch's regional parks have been ecologically enriched through major native restoration planting projects. The City Council's park rangers have been leading and assisting community groups at 14 sites in city parks or reserves on the Port Hills, along the coast, and across the plains. Parks and reserves where work has been done include Horseshoe Lake Reserve, Charlesworth Reserve, Southshore Beach Park, Styx River, Sumnervale Reserve, Rapanui Reserve, John Britten Reservoir and at the Sign of the Bellbird.

Community support for restoration projects has been outstanding, says Coastal Parks Area Head Ranger Rodney Chambers. "Our rangers have greatly appreciated volunteer contributions and thank everybody involved," he says. "Volunteers have put in 5500 hours and at many of these events people braved inclement weather, in some cases even snow storms, high winds, and horizontal rain, to do their bit for the environment and in the process planting over 30,000 plants."

Dedicated volunteer groups have been planting a variety of species representing Christchurch's diverse habitats and in the process have been creating stepping stones for the future return of native birds such as bellbirds and tui to the city. Species planted include forest trees and alpine shrubs on the Port Hills, coastal shrubs at Southshore Spit, wetland plants at Bexley Wetland and the grass-like spinafex sand-binders at Taylor's Mistake beach.

Similar plantings have also been carried out along the New Brighton foreshore. There, the planting of pingao helps preserve the dunes and is the best method of buffering the land, and coastal houses, from the sea. Vegetating the dune system gives the dunes stability by trapping sand and cuts down the amount of sand being carried by the wind onto roads and homes. The 700 plants being planted along the Travis Wetland central walkway will help the birds in the nearby ponds and wetlands feel relaxed and safe by creating a screen between them and the people on the walkway.

Port Hills Ranger and Revegetation Project Manager Di Carter says: "All in all, it's been an excellent planting season despite the challenges of the weather. The on-going community support has been fantastic, and many positive outcomes have been achieved for both the environment and the community."

? Anyone interested in becoming involved should contact the park rangers of the city's regional parks team by calling the Christchurch City Council on 941 8999.

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