|Point View School students hard at work |
during a Trees for Survival session
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Children growing our future
In 1988, Cyclone Bola created some of the heaviest rainfall in a single storm in New Zealand’s history. Many regions received their annual rainfall totals in a week; Gisborne got 917mm which is almost a metre!
While he was District 9920 Governor, Rotary Club of Pakuranga member Noel Holyoake recalled an environmental programme he had seen operating successfully in Australia, and thought if he could bring it to New Zealand, with the help of the Rotary network, a difference could be made. Trees for Survival was born.
It is an educational environmental programme where students grow on native tree seedlings in special plant growing units, and learn about the part plants play in maintaining our natural environment, so that as adults they will not repeat the costly environmental mistakes of their forebears.
The planted trees help landowners re-vegetate erosion prone land to combat erosion, improve stream flow and water quality plus regulate water flow, increase biodiversity and offset carbon usage.
Trees for Survival is a community partnership. Schools work with their communities, councils, landowners, supporting organisations and commercial sponsors. Rotary clubs are to the fore in helping the schools pay an annual fee. All of these partners work together to restore the natural heritage.
The 1 million tree milestone was passed several years ago. With major sponsorship from the Accor Hotel Group, and in association with the Auckland Council, and the Enviroschools organisation, 2 million is on the horizon.
Recently the Trees for Survival Trust brought the management of the programme “in house” by appointing Pakuranga Rotary Club member Roger Milne as National Manager. With a family history in farming, and a career in commercial horticulture, it’s a perfect fit.
“This programme can be national, and it has the potential to make an even greater difference to New Zealand’s famous natural environment. I recently saw a small tin storage shed which had been donated by the school’s business sponsor, but it lay as a flat pack next to the plant growing unit – it just needed two able Rotarians with a batt drill, to assemble it – that’s the type of support Rotary can provide,” says Mr Milne.
“This is a Rotary programme of immense benefit, so I ask New Zealand Rotary club’s throughout our green land not to hesitate when a Trees for Survival Field Officer asks you for help.”
www.tfsnz.org.nz has further information.