Youth wetland project granted funds

By Emily Norman emily.norman@age.co.nz -
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Featherston Youth Programme leader Reanne Tawharu is pleased to receive funding from Greater Wellington Regional Council for a wetland planting project. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Featherston Youth Programme leader Reanne Tawharu is pleased to receive funding from Greater Wellington Regional Council for a wetland planting project. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A wetland planting project involving Featherston youth has won funding from Greater Wellington Regional Council as part of its Wairarapa Moana Catchment Community Restoration Fund.

The project, led by Featherston Youth Programme, will assist in filtering urban stormwater entering Donald's Creek which flows into Lake Wairarapa.

Youth programme leaders Reanne Tawharu and Brenden Saayman were pleased to receive the funding, a part-share of $15,000 annually allocated to community-led biodiversity projects by GWRC. The planting project is called "Reconnecting the community and Donald's Creek to Lake Wairarapa" and will be carried out over a three-year period starting in June.

Mr Saayman said eco-sourced native plants will be used to improve the native ecosystems around Donald's Creek and Lake Wairarapa.

"Having a site close to the town and local schools will allow us to include them in learning about these natural resources and also to contribute to the restoration work as well as making the connection between stream and lake," he said.

"The project is about spreading the message that native ecosystems are really important and, by involving our youth in the restoration work, we enable them to connect to these valuable resources and feel a sense of pride in their achievements."

Other successful applicants from the same funding round were the Friends of Onoke Spit for dune planting at Onoke Spit, the South Wairarapa Biodiversity Group for planting at the Onoke/Okorewa Lagoon at Lake Ferry, and Pirinoa School for propagating plants as part of its Trees for Survival programme and planting at Wairio Wetland.

GWRC biodiversity manager Tim Porteous said the grant programme encourages the work of "clever, motivated people out there who share our passion for the restoring the environment".

"We want to help these people restore their local native ecosystems because healthy ecosystems keep our waterways healthy and ultimately improve the condition of Wairarapa Moana."

A second round of applications opens in October.

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