Date: 25 June 2009
More than 50 volunteers met Department of Conservation (DOC) staff at Tangimoana to help stabilise the fast moving sand that has buried the access road and is encroaching inland. “Although I was expecting a big group of people to arrive, it was pretty amazing to look up and see a mass of people cresting the dunes all ready for action”, says DOC ranger Kelly Stratford. “They were so enthusiastic too - willing to listen, learn and get their hands dirty”. The work party included volunteers from Toyota, Mosaic Church, International Pacific College (IPC), and several enthusiastic individuals from the community.
Volunteers planting at Tangimoana beach.
Photo: Lyall Goggin.
There has been on-going discussion between DOC and Toyota about opportunities for involvement in local conservation work. “Toyota has a history of supporting community and environmental work, and this project is a great way to get a ‘hands on’ understanding of local environmental issues,” says Toyota Environmental Officer Tristan Lavender.
Around 20 Toyota employees braved the winter weather for an afternoon on the coast with DOC. Karen Willis was one of those employees, and took her family along. Ms Willis says it was “a great afternoon for the family to teach kids the importance of preserving our natural environment - even my 3 year old was into it with his very enthusiastic distribution of plant ‘lollies’ or fertiliser”.
Mosaic Church is part of the local Seventh Day Adventist community. Earlier this year, they participated in a working bee with DOC to sow Spinifex and Pingao seed, so the beach planting was a great follow up activity allowing them to see how they are helping to preserve the coastal environment.
Traditionally, schools and established environmental groups have been involved in DOC’s coastal plantings. However, DOC is keen to engage new groups in community conservation work. “As much as we appreciate the help we get from our usual community partners, it seems unfair to have to rely on them all the time,” says Ms Stratford, “and there’s plenty of work to go around”. There are several more planting days planned this winter and a whole range of other volunteer opportunities with DOC if people are ready to take action for conservation.
Community plantings are ideal for introducing people to conservation. “For Toyota staff it was a great extension of the sustainability commitments Toyota already have in place and I would recommend more community groups or local businesses getting involved in DOC projects,” says Mr Lavender.