New to volunteering at native tree planting events? Here’s what to expect…

Date: 24th August 2022

Volunteering at a community native tree planting event is a great way to take action to mitigate climate change, restore biodiversity & have a fun and social day out in nature with awesome, like minded people.  If you are new to volunteering at native tree planting days, here’s a brief summary about what to expect on the day.

All of our planting dates and locations are listed on our website and facebook events.  Parking is generally close to the planting site, with a green Whakatipu Reforestation Trust flag indicating you are at the right place!  On arrival, you will be greeted by a team member wearing a hi-viz vest, and directed to the registration table, where you will be welcomed, sign-in, and receive a health and safety briefing.

From there, one of our volunteers will show you where to get any equipment you may need (shovel, gloves, fertiliser etc) and demonstrate how to plant a native tree.  While we appreciate that many community members are avid gardeners, we do like to take the time to show each new volunteer how we plant natives to give them the best chance of survival in a non-garden setting.  The demonstration includes:

  • How deep to dig each hole,
  • How much fertiliser to apply to each plant,
  • How to remove plants from the black plastic bags,
  • Placement of weed mats,
  • Installing plant guards and bamboo canes to protect plants from browsing rabbits (not all sites),
  • How to mulch,,  
  • What to do with the bags once you have finished planting.

Then you are ready to get planting!!  All of the plants, plant guards, bamboo stakes etc will have already been distributed around the planting site, so you can look around and find some plants that are ready to be dug in, and start digging and planting.   

We reuse black plastic plant bags, so we ask volunteers to take care when removing the plants from the bags.  The bags are collected throughout the morning (a great job for kids), and volunteers will fold these so they can be taken back to the nursery for washing.

So, that’s the technical side of things… but we all know that morning tea, including hot chocolate with marshmallows, is the real draw card for planting days!!  We are very grateful to both the Hilton Queenstown and Crowne Plaza Queenstown for providing morning tea for our volunteers.  Hot drinks and morning snacks are provided mid morning, and this is a great opportunity to take a rest, refill your water bottle, and chat with fellow volunteers. 

Planting is generally finished by late morning.  And once all of the plants are in the ground, we ask volunteers to help tidy up the site & return all of the planting equipment.  

At our Whitechapel Reserve planting day, we wrap up the event with a community BBQ sausage sizzle (vegan and GF friendly of course!).  It’s always an amazing feeling to look over the site once planting is complete, and appreciate how much has been achieved by our community of volunteers!  Now is the time to pat each other on the back for a job well done!

Of course, the day would not be complete without loads of selfies and cool photos of plants for your socials!  Please remember to tag us #whakatipureforestationtrust so we can check out your photos too!!  We will also be taking photos throughout the event.  If someone in hi-viz asks to take your photo, please feel free to either give them your best smile, or let them know if you would rather not have your photo taken.  We respect that not everyone wants to end up in our FB and Insta posts!  

We are excited about this upcoming spring planting season and are looking forward to working together to plant over 5000 native trees and shrubs throughout September.  

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