Caring for the environment  |  12 Aug 2019

Local students are turning concern about climate change into positive action with a plan to plant more than 500 native trees.

About 50 high school and intermediate students, who are members of Christchurch School Strike 4 Climate, will take part in a voluntary planting effort at Pūharakekenui/Styx River Loop Conservation Park on Sunday 18 August.

Organiser Ciara Foley, 15, a Year 11 student at Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery, says it’s important to show they are walking the talk.

“We’ve always wanted to do something local and practical that will bring environmental change. We’ve advertised the planting day on social media and had a really good response. I think it will be great for students to feel like we’re achieving something positive.”

Christchurch City Council’s Regional Parks Team is supporting the project by providing shrubs, trees and mulch. Council Park Rangers will also be on hand to supervise and give advice and a vegetarian barbecue is being held as part of the event.

Red Bus has agreed to transport the students to and from the site to reduce their carbon footprint. Red Bus Chief Executive Paul McNoe says he admires the students initiative and "commitment to sustainable action". 

Ciara says the encouragement from the Council and Red Bus has been “really amazing”.  

Council Regional Parks Manager Kay Holder is impressed by the students’ practical approach. “This planting will contribute to the ongoing restoration of an ecological corridor from the source of the Styx River to the sea.

“Their time and effort will help with the Council’s ongoing efforts to transform what was previously a paddock into regenerating lowland forest.”

The shrubs and trees being planted, which include tōtara, broadleaf (kapuka) and kahikatea, have been eco-sourced from the area – meaning the seeds they grew from were harvested locally.

Other tasks for the students will include weeding and mulching of existing plants. 

The planting day will happen about a month ahead of the students’ next planned strike action on 27 September.