Shocking results from an audit revealing dying mature trees in Grey Lynn and Ponsonby coupled with the ongoing obliteration of the urban canopy prompted the Urban Tree Alliance NZ to bring ‘Adopt-a-Tree’ to life.
Waitematā Local Board gave the concept the green light with a community grant. More support quickly followed from Peace Foundation and Tom Ang, an author, academic and celebrated international photographer who is Sony’s Digital Imaging Ambassador for New Zealand.
The inaugural Adopt-a-Tree community event kicking off the public awareness campaign will take place at Western Park on the corner Ponsonby Road and Hepburn Street 18th November 2017 starting with a karakia at 10am by mana whenua, Ngāti Whatua.
One of the organisers, Aprilanne Bonar says “We’re noticing more and more people are becoming less tree conscious so this is creating a movement.” Wendy Gray a fellow organiser agrees, “our life on Earth is intimately connected with trees, they produce our oxygen. Mature trees are priceless.”
Centrally located Western Park was specifically chosen due to its cluster of old significant trees and the proximity to several enviro-schools in the area. Organisers are encouraging residents to pack a picnic and walk down if they live locally.
The campaign invites Auckland residents to adopt their favourite tree locally, get to know it, give it a drink particularly in the hot summer months and remind construction workers to be careful around trees.
Free yellow ribbon will be handed out on the day for members of the public to tie around their chosen tree. The Adopt-a-tree event will play host to live music, yoga, tai chi and “forest bathing” otherwise known as “shinrin yoku”.
One of the country’s 5 qualified forest bathing guides will be hosting simple sensory activities to connect event goers with nature that is very supportive and engaging.
According to UTANZ trees improve air quality, moderate temperature, capture and filter storm water, and create a greener, more sustainable city.
“While we commend Mayor Phil Goff for wanting to plant 1 million new trees, we want to shift the focus back to embrace and preserve what we already have. It’s a matter of being consciously aware of what we have around us and appreciating it for our children and our grand children sakes” says Bonar.
The Local Board is also right behind it. “It aligns with our commitment to undertake local initiatives to plant and retain more trees on public and private land, supported by a local urban tree strategy” says Waitematā Local Board Chair, Pippa Coom.
In the last 4 years one third of Auckland’s urban canopy has been cut down and by 2030, if the status quo exists, there will be no urban tree canopy left in Auckland.
Source: Urban Tree Alliance NZ