Tree planting dream closer

Tree planting dream closer

tree planting dream closer
Passionate tree man Don Cross will see the start of his wish for a return to the great Arbor Days of the past with the planting of more than 1,000 native plants.

The natives, grown from seed by students from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) will fill a plot on the banks of the Taylor River, allocated by Marlborough District Council.

NMIT Marlborough horticultural tutor Don Cross hopes the big planting day on Friday will be the start of a resurgence of community interest in an annual tree planting day.

School children around New Zealand used to get the day off to plant trees on Arbor Day in June but Cross says the tradition has virtually died out. However, NMIT and the council are working together to plan a formal Arbor Day planting next year.

"I'd love to see all that planting again. Marlborough needs more native trees and plants", says Cross who supervises about 25 students in a 12 month certificate programme.

The students, ranging in age from 20 to 70, have propagated seeds and grown them in NMIT's nursery. But with more than 1,000 plants and the next intake on the free programme beginning on 12 October, Cross says they had run out of room and needed to find the plants a home.

Marlborough District Council responded by allocating a council plot behind the Taylor Pass road transfer station. Cross says the council's collaboration ties in with its "Tui to Town" programme promoting native habitat restoration.

"We've chosen to work with natives at NMIT and are using the (Marlborough) council list of natives to plant varieties including cabbage trees, hebe, flax, kanuka and manuka".

On Friday, NMIT staff, students and their families and former students will turn out in their gardening gear to do the planting.

But next year, says Cross, schools and the public will be invited to join in a community Arbor Day planting and he says a high visibility site will be chosen.

"In years to come people will be able to go past these plantings and know they helped make a difference by planting a native".

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