Credit: Statistics NZ / Facebook
Thousands of primary school children will get the chance to plant native trees in their communities as part of a new Arbor Day initiative announced by Forestry Minister Stuart Nash.
The initiative is open to more than 2,400 primary schools, and is the result of a partnership between Te Uru Rākau/NZ Forest Service and the conservation charity Trees That Count.
“Every primary school will be offered five native trees to plant, through the new Trees for Schools programme.”
The Forestry Minister said the government was keen to revive the Arbor Day celebration in which communities are encouraged to plant trees.
“Kiwis have celebrated Arbor Day for more than 130 years, since the first tree-planting ceremonies in Greytown in the winter of 1890. Many community groups keep the tradition alive on 5 June every year but it has not been widely promoted in the past few years," he said.
"We want to bring back the celebration of Arbor Day across the country as part of our push towards a sustainable and low-carbon future."
Schools who wish to be part of the Arbor Day initiative should register an interest before 30 June through a new portal on the website of Trees That Count, said Minister Nash. Trees will be delivered to schools from July onwards, along with a poster and educational material to help with tree care and maintenance.
“Whether you’re a student, teacher, a farmer, landowner, community group or iwi, or a gardener supporting your local nursery, I would like to encourage every New Zealander to get involved and plant trees this Arbor Day.”
Statistics NZ reports that New Zealand indigenous land cover area decreased across the country by 12,869 hectares between 2012 and 2018, part of an ongoing trend of indigenous land cover area net loss.