The Great Coromandel Give-Back!
Take photos, leave only footprints. That's the advice given to visitors of our native New Zealand bush. Guided walks company, Walking Legends, takes that a step further offering clients the chance to plant their own 5-year old kauri seedling in a specially allocated grove. Two seasons on and the grove now boasts almost 70 trees. Guide Brad Taylor says "It has become an unexpectedly poignant experience for our clients. The trees are often planted in memory of a loved one or as a celebration of an achievement or milestone reached. There have been quite a few tears shed up on that hillside." Far from the tree-hugging days of old, this is environmentalism for the iPad generation. Each tree has its’ GPS co-ordinates logged so clients can check up on their trees from anywhere in the world.
The land, at Driving Creek Nursery, has been generously donated by owners and operators of Coromandel Adventures Sarni Hart and Willie Lochore. "Restoring kauri forest on our land had always been part of the plan," says Ms. Hart. "Our relationship with Walking Legends has enabled us to realise that goal a lot faster."
With the guided hiking industry growing annually visitor numbers look set to increase over the next five years, and with it the number of trees planted. Walking Legends is a Qualmark Enviro Silver award-holder and is committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Planting these seedlings is a positive step towards saving kauri forests and exercising the environmental responsibility all hikers have. They also aim to help international visitors create strong ties with the Coromandel, lasting memories that will see them return year after year.
"It’s exciting for both ourselves and our clients to think that in 30 years these trees will be popping their heads up above the canopy and changing the Coromandel skyline,” says Taylor. “We give our guests a truly memorable holiday and every single one is so grateful and appreciative of the local community that allows them to visit such spectacular locations that for them planting a small tree is a more meaningful token of thanks.”
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