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Purcell Reserve Planting Day: Bringing Life Back to the Pond - Phase 3

Amidst a week of rain, the one day forecasted for sunshine magically aligned with our scheduled planting day at the Purcell Reserve. Talk about perfect timing! It was a privilege to be out in such stunning weather on the West Coast, surrounded by positive, enthusiastic people, all dedicated to giving back—to the pond, the stream, the land, for the birds, for biodiversity, for the community, and for each other. When people from diverse backgrounds come together and find joy in this work, it’s clear we’re making a real difference.

The morning started with a thick mist draped over the paddocks and trees. The mountains were hidden at first, but as the day warmed, the mist lifted, and we ferried our plants and tools across the paddock. This was our third round of planting, and we tackled a new area. The Purcells had reshaped the edges of the old pond, tidying it up beautifully. The stream was flowing well after the rain, though the water was muddy. The carexes we planted will act as natural filters, catching sediment before it flows downstream.

Purcell Reserve Planting Day

We planted Carex virgata—a water-loving sedge—right at the water’s edge and up the banks, along with Carex geminata (cutty grass). On the upper flats, we added flax, toetoe, mingimingi bushes, and broadleaf. All the plants are protected with biodegradable weed mats, Emguard protectors, and bamboo stakes. These protectors will eventually break down into compost, enriching the soil.

Our crew was a fantastic mix of seasoned veterans and eager newcomers. We had a fabulous turnout, with members from the Scenic Circle Group Franz Josef, Fox Glacier Guides, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Glacier Valley EcoTours, Okarito Boat EcoTours, Okarito Kiwi Tours, Okarito Native Plants Nursery, Ribbonwood Retreat B&B, and Landcare NZ Trust. The Okarito Native Plants Trust provided all the eco-sourced plants and coordinated the team, with Sam from Landcare Trust leading the planting efforts. It was a huge group effort—480 plants in the ground. What an amazing day in this beautiful place we all love.

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