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Thousands Of Trees Being Saved On Mt Victoria

Wellington City Deputy Mayor Sarah Free with John Grieve, Event Director, Sport Wellington and Scott Gallacher, General Manager Metlink

29 October 2020

Today, Deputy Mayor, Sarah Free, Wellington City Council, along with volunteers from Sport Wellington and its supporters, spent the afternoon on Mt Victoria, tree releasing. Efforts to plant native trees in the greater Wellington region have increased significantly over the past few years; but without ongoing care, many of these trees struggle to make it to maturity – which is why tree releasing is so important.

Natalie Jones, from Conservation Volunteers NZ, estimates that 50% of native trees planted may die without ongoing care. In sites that have weeds such as blackberry and honeysuckle, you could lose all the trees if you allow them to revert to these weeds. “People love tree planting, everyone gets a lot of satisfaction of seeing hundreds of trees potentially planted in a day,” she says. “A lot of businesses and organisations want to reduce their carbon output by tree planting, but those trees won’t survive if we don’t come and care for them. That means coming back and removing long grasses and weeds that compete for sunlight, water and nutrients.”

During the spring and summer months, Conservation Volunteers NZ facilitate tree releasing days for the community to get involved in helping our native trees to survive.

“It’s called releasing because you’re releasing the trees from being smothered by the grasses and weeds that grow up around them,” Jones says. “It’s about making sure the young trees survive their first 5-10 years in the ground while they are establishing.”

A partnership between Conservation Volunteers NZ and Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays means that every person who registers to participate in the 2020 fun/run event will automatically adopt a tree that has been planted along the town belt in Mount Victoria. Participants will then be able to take part in Community Releasing Days and care for the Round the Bays trees.

“Many Wellington lunchtime runs take in parts of Mr Victoria, enjoying the bush and earning spectacular views including over the Round the Bays course,” says Wellington City Deputy Mayor Sarah Free. “As a keen runner and conservationist, I am delighted that Wellington’s largest running event will now contribute to our ongoing, world leading, environmental restoration journey. This journey we should all be involved in whether it is trapping, planting, weeding, clean ups, or getting involved in one of our 140 reserve restoration groups.”

To highlight the importance of nurturing our native trees, Deputy Mayor Free, Metlink’s General Manager Scott Gallacher and staff from Sport Wellington and the Councils all mucked in to support Conservation Volunteers NZ with their first tree releasing day of the season at Charles Plimmer Park in Mt. Victoria on Thursday 29 October.

“The Metlink team is really excited to get into our gumboots to help with the Adopt a Tree releasing days in Mount Victoria, where we’ll nurture the trees that keep our city beautiful, improve our air quality and offset carbon emissions,” says Scott Gallacher, General manager of Metlink.

A partnership between Greater Wellington Regional Council and Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays also means free transport will be available to participants in order to reduce barriers to participation and encourage people to get into the city in a carbon-friendly way.

“Metlink is here for whānau and the community to provide sustainable, safe and accessible means of transport,” Gallacher said. “We want to help the region get around in greener ways, and public transport is a great way to reduce congestion on our roads and carbon emissions.”

These partnerships are part of Sport Wellington’s sustainable event policy and commitment to transforming Round the Bays to a zero-waste and zero-carbon event by 2025.

“As organisers of Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays, Sport Wellington are delighted to be working on a range of initiatives that promote the importance of caring for our environment,” says Event Director John Grieve. “The ‘Adopt a Tree’ project will enable thousands of native trees to flourish in the backdrop for our iconic course around the bays. It is a great example of the positive impact the event makes on our communities, whilst helping us achieve our ambitious zero-waste and zero-carbon goals. Bringing these ideas to life are only possible through working in partnership with a range of organisations, whose common goal is to find sustainable solutions to the ecological challenges we face”

Earlybird registrations for Brendan Foot Supersite Round the Bays open on November 5th. More details about the ‘Adopt a Tree’ initiative and the work of Conservation Volunteers New Zealand can be found at www.wellingtonroundthebays.co.nz/adopt-a-tree.

“People often don’t know about us, once they find out about what we do and how easy we make it to get involved, people love it,” Natalie Jones from Conservation Volunteers New Zealand says. “We take care of everything, we can arrange transport to and from the sites, we provide the tools, the gloves, the training…we really try to break down barriers to participation.”

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