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Capital canopy celebrated with Arbor Day

Arbor Day marks the start of the native tree planting season in Wellington – and while the goal of reaching 2 million set in 1997 has been impacted by Covid-19, it will get tantalizingly close this winter.

This Friday 5 June, Mayor Andy Foster and Councillor Teri O’Neill will join volunteers at a planting event to celebrate Arbor Day and World Environment Day as a part of the Forest in the Heart of Wellington Project – and to recognise Wellington recently being named one of the Tree Cities of the World.

Wellington City Council’s Berhampore Nursery will provide 95,000 native plants for community, partner and Council plantings this season – and with a massive effort by volunteers we hope to reach a total of 1,962,000 this winter says Mayor Foster.

“During the Covid-19 lockdown, it was our City’s natural environment that provided so much solace for Wellingtonians, and we are blessed with an abundance of it. That’s been the result of deliberate ongoing land acquisition, protection, and environmental enhancement over the last 28 years.

“In addition to adding to the beauty of our city, trees also provide shelter, bear fruit and nuts, help prevent climate change, are home to our wildlife, filter stormwater, and connect neighbourhoods and communities – so it’s important to celebrate them not just on Arbor Day, but every day.

“A huge effort by committed volunteers has made a massive difference. They have been busy planting across the city, rewilding the capital and improving our ecosystems for decades – and we thank them for it.”

Urban living usually comes at the cost of green space, but Wellington has a natural amphitheatre of vegetation which is beneficial for the city, the environment and its people, says Natural Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Teri O’Neill.

“Trees are nature’s filters, effectively breathing in carbon dioxide from our ecosystem and emitting oxygen. As a city, we’ve embraced, supported, and protected our trees over the years, and have plans to manage, maintain and establish more trees by supporting groups and initiatives like the Forest in the Heart of Wellington Project.

“These projects, policies and activities combined means we have achieved the standards to get international recognition by achieving Tree City of the World status – acknowledging our commitment to sustainable living and a better future for us all.”

There will be a tree planting event attended by volunteers, Mayor Andy Foster and Councillor O’Neill at Ellice St (near 104 Ellice Street) at 12.15pm on Friday 5 June.

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