11 May 2018
The squelch under the boots and the smell of damp soil are synonymous with wetlands, the theme for this year’s Arbor Day at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park.
The largest mass planting event of the year, Arbor Day is a key event for Hamilton City Council’s Parks and Recreation Unit and was first held at Waiwhakareke in 2004. The park is a long-term ecological restoration project on the city’s outskirts, near Hamilton Zoo.
This year’s theme is “Wetlands are cool”, with the event on Friday 1 June, starting at 10am.
Close to 1000 people have already registered for Arbor Day 2018, and anyone can join in on the day.
Anyone attending Arbor Day should bring a spade, sturdy waterproof shoes or boots, dress for the weather, and bring some water to drink.
Gerard Kelly, the Council’s Community Planting Co-ordinator, says an estimated 280,000 individual plants have been planted over the 14 years of Arbor Day, with some specimens some now up to 5 metres in height.
“Planning for Arbor Day starts at least two years in advance – we need to source the seed from the ecological areas, propagate the plants, and grow them to a size suitable for planting,” Mr Kelly says.
The average planter will put 15 plants into the ground at the planting.
“The aim of the exercise is to plant the trees to last - and that means taking a bit of extra time to get it right,” he says.
“We’ve just produced a new video to show how it’s done – you can check that out on the Council’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.”
Mr Kelly says Arbor Day is a great learning experience for children, and an opportunity for businesses or organisations wanting to involve staff in a volunteer or community day.
The event goes ahead as scheduled, unless the MetService issues a Severe Weather Warning for the day.
For further details on Arbor Day and Waiwhakareke, visit hamilton.govt.nz/waiwhakareke