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Thriving Volunteer Day at Okarito!

Updated: May 27

We had an incredible day filled with enthusiasm and hard work on Friday, May 17, as a fantastic group of volunteers joined us in Ōkārito. This event was a wonderful chance to introduce everyone to the Ōkārito Plant Project and the meticulous process that prepares our plants for planting days.

The day kicked off with an engaging journey through the history of the Ōkārito Native Plants Nursery, leading up to the exciting launch of the Ōkārito Plant Project. We then took a picturesque walk along the edge of the lagoon, exploring our first restoration site, and capped it off with a memorable group photo at the Ōkārito Wharf.

Next, we headed to the Nursery, where we unveiled the fascinating stages of seed gathering, care, propagation and nurturing plants until they were "hardened off" and ready for planting. This intricate process can take up to two years, with some of our trees reaching an impressive 8-10 years of age!

We were thrilled to host 26 dedicated volunteers representing nine different businesses, all bringing their unique energy and passion to the day.

Group Of Conservation Volunteers Posing For Photo At Okarito New Zealand

All Photos by Zak Shaw Photography

The real work began after our introduction. The volunteers tackled the colossal task of removing all the established plants and trees outside the nursery, pulling up 14-year-old weed mat, levelling the ground with sand, laying down new weed mat, and relocating all the plants. We moved about 1,750 plants out and 1,750 plants back in—a whopping total of 3,500 moves! With 26 people contributing 105.75 hours of their time, the day was filled with hard work, camaraderie, and lots of laughter.

Photo By Okarito Native Plant Nursery Of Conservation Volunteers Working At Planting Day

A massive shoutout to Carey from the Scenic Hotel Group Franz Josef, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Franz Josef Wilderness Tours, Glacier Valley EcoTours, Okarito Kiwi Tours, Okarito Boat EcoTours, Sam from New Zealand Landcare with his endless expertise and Zak Shaw from Development West Coast. Your efforts were truly outstanding!

Up next, we have two exciting planting days this week: one in Whataroa on Thursday, May 23rd, and another at our project near Lake Matheson in Fox Glacier.

Stay tuned for more adventures and join us as we continue our mission to restore and protect the stunning natural landscapes of Ōkārito.

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