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The Establishment of the Ōkārito Plant Project

Updated: Nov 16, 2023


Protecting the Ōkārito Wetlands: A Unique Approach Restoring and Protecting South Westlands Biodiversity


While driving one day, an intriguing idea began to take shape in my mind. I had been pondering over pictures of a tourist with a backpack, a cow, and a waterway on my PC, trying to figure out how these seemingly unrelated elements could fit together. Then, an innovative concept started to unfold that would soon become the Ōkārito Plant Project which would inevitably empower communities to restore and protect natural ecosystems for a sustainable future, fostering biodiversity, and regenerating vital forests, waterways, and wetlands.


The Okarito Wetland Lagoon With Mount Cook And Mount Tasman In The Background

Riparian Planting - A Major Goal in Environmental Sustainability

We had been grappling with the challenge of implementing riparian planting on farms. Despite our efforts, we kept encountering obstacles, particularly when it came to securing funding. We began to understand why farmers were also struggling to make progress in this area.


That's when it struck us. What if we could bring tourism businesses into the picture? They could help get the plants in the ground for farmers eager to contribute to conservation efforts. This approach would bypass the need for complex funding grants, enabling us to start planting immediately.


Forging Partnerships in the Name of Nature Preservation


Development West Coast played a crucial role in refining this concept and bringing it to life. Alongside them, Landcare Trust has been instrumental in bridging the gap between us and the farming community. His knowledge of farms and understanding of suitable plant species have been invaluable.


The Ōkārito Plant Project has brought together people from various walks of life, including local schools. It's a true community effort aimed at protecting our waterways with the plants we grow. By uniting different sectors and stakeholders, we're showing that everyone has a role to play in environmental preservation.


Team Photo Of Conservation Volunteers As Part Of The Okarito Plant Projects First Riparian Planting Project

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