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A Success Story in Conservation: The First Farm Riparian Project by the Ōkārito Plant Project

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Embracing a New Partnership

Fox Glacier West Coast New Zealand With Farm Land Below

In the world of conservation, every project is an opportunity to make a difference. This was certainly the case when we were introduced to Tim Sullivan, a local farmer in Fox Glacier who was interested in receiving a proposal from the Ōkārito Native Plants Trust for a riparian planting project on their farmland. This marked the beginning of our first farm riparian project under the Ōkārito Plant Project umbrella, a milestone moment that we are proud to share.

Fox Glacier Farmland Waterway With Paddocks And Rainforest

Taking the Leap: Overcoming Funding Challenges

Funding for projects like this can be challenging to secure not only for farmers but even for non-for-profit conservation organisations like the Ōkārito Native Plants Trust and this very fact has been a driving force behind the establishment of the Ōkārito Plant Project, driven largely by local tourism businesses and the community. The Plant Project is a framework in which strives to succeed without relying heavily on external funding sources, but instead contributing to eco-tourism proving an inlet in which tourism businesses can get involved and make a real contribution towards change within a circular economy model. The Sullivan Farm Planting Project was the first project in which was entirely independently funded by the the Ōkārito Plant Project, this included providing and co-ordinating the volunteers and the plant inventory.

Making an Impact: Planting in Stages

Conservationists Men Planting Native Trees As Part Of Fox Glacier Farm Riparian Planting Project Southern Alps Mountains In The Back Ground

The planting process was carried out in two stages. The first stage commenced in July 2023, when we planted close to 300 plants. This quick turnaround exceeded expectations, particularly for Tim, who initially anticipated seeing the first tree planted in about three years. To have 300 plants thriving in the ground within two weeks was a thrilling outcome for everyone involved.

Harnessing Local Expertise: Community Businesses at the Forefront

As community businesses, we understand the importance of organisation and strategic planning. Leveraging these skills, we led the charge in executing the project, ensuring its swift and successful completion. The positive reactions from the community were truly rewarding, reinforcing the value of our collective efforts.

Engaging the Next Generation: Involving Local School Students

The second stage of the project brought an inspiring group of helpers - the students from Fox Glacier School. Their involvement created a deep connection between the young generation and the project. It was incredible to see local children engaging with nature, planting trees on a local farm, and learning about the significance of their actions. This hands-on experience goes a long way in fostering an appreciation for conservation among the younger generation.

Looking Ahead: Ensuring Sustainability

The success of our first farm riparian project has paved the way for more such initiatives. We have several more projects lined up and are eager to continue this important work. However, our commitment doesn't end with the planting. The next step involves weed control around the plants—an ongoing task to ensure that the newly planted vegetation thrives. Our approach is not just about planting and walking away; we are committed to nurturing these plants and ensuring their successful growth.

A Triumph in New Zealand Conservation

In conclusion, our first farm riparian project under the Ōkārito Plant Project has been a resounding success. It's a testament to what can be achieved when community businesses, local schools, and dedicated individuals come together with a common goal. From overcoming funding obstacles to engaging local students, every step of this journey has reinforced our belief in the power of community-led conservation. As we look ahead to future projects, we remain committed to connecting people with nature and making a lasting difference in the world of conservation.

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