Young participants (aged 7-12yrs) who took part in Whenua Iti Outdoors (WIO) holiday programmes had a beautiful afternoon planting trees with Rotary Club members at Rough Island on the Waimeha /Waimea Inlet.
The planting contributed to the work of the Waimea Inlet Restoration Group, who have been funded by Jobs for Nature to bring back biodiversity and health to the inlet.
It was an intentional part of the holiday programme to weave in nature connection experiences for tamariki as part of the wider Kaimahi for Nature Connection Project. This project, facilitated by Dana Carter at WIO, has received Jobs for Nature funding to offer as many experiences as possible to school-aged children across Te Tau Ihu.
“By involving tamariki in such a project, we are able to nurture a connection to the environment that will build a life-long love of nature. When tamariki enjoy getting their hands in the whenua (land), and can see that their mahi for the environment is valued by our local community, they are developing into strong citizens who will love and care for nature into the future”, says Dana Carter. “It is an important part of nurturing a sense of kaitiakitanga in our children. This was reinforced by the positive interaction they had with the Rotary members that they were doing something really good. It was a great success!”
Garrick Ferguson, who was the lead instructor on the holiday programme, said that “seeing the Rotary members and tamariki together felt very good to my heart.” When he later asked the children at circle time about their highlights for the day, many included the tree planting. “In fact we had trouble getting some of them to leave!”
This fantastic opportunity was coordinated with the help of the Waimea Inlet Restoration Group with the support of the Tasman Environmental Trust.
WIO will be continuing to collaborate with existing community projects to create nature connection experiences as part of the wider project. “We are in the process of developing further programmes to be piloted through local schools and have been really encouraged from feedback we’ve received from parents, teachers & children on the programmes so far,” says Dana.
Thank you to the amazing support from community conservation groups to enable us to weave restoration into our programmes. The tamariki get so much out of these experiences!! Tēnā rawa atu koutou ki ngā tautoko mīharo!