It's a growing thing
For Ōpōtiki locals, the first Sunday in August was ideal for parking up in bed. Heavy showers, wind, and — at least for the eastern Bay of Plenty coast — chilly.
"But no," said Jim Robinson, executive officer of Motu Trails Charitable Trust
"Over 30 people ignored the unpleasant weather forecast and turned out to a planting day on the Dunes Trail, just east of Opotiki."
Over a couple of hours, close to a thousand plants and trees were successfully dug in.
"The key species of the day was harakeke or flax, selected to preserve the panoramic views around the 2 kilometre mark of the popular trail, which is one section of the Motu Trails," he continued.
"Admittedly, the post-planting barbeque was a wash-out. Though, at least, that was a perfect start for the plants.
"You've got to think, if a town of 4000 people can get three dozen people turning out with raincoats and spades, enthusiasm for planting has become a real thing."
All planting along the Dunes Trail is guided by a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP), ensuring plant species reflect what would probably once have been there.
Each year, several thousand more plants are planted; there's also weed and occasional rabbit control.
Graeme Simpson: Rotorua rising star doing well overseas
Graeme Simpson: Ask not what your club can do for you
The BMP is an agreement between Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Opotiki District Council, Department of Conservation and the Motu Trails Charitable Trust.
Guided by the BMP, somewhere close to 20,000 plants and trees have been dug in over the years. The coastal environment is quietly transforming.
Also on the Dunes Trail a couple of weeks earlier, Whakatane Mill staff held a planting day as part of their corporate responsibility programme.
More than a dozen mill staff plus a few others dug in another thousand trees and plants, including 100 of the nationally significant plant, Euphorbia Glauca.
"This species has been bedded in at many locations alongside the Dunes Trail and has spread to the point it is possibly the world's biggest population of this special, but no longer rare, plant," Robinson said.
"From a trails perspective, perhaps the best thing is that the BMP - and organised, regular plantings - would simply not have happened without the Dunes Trail."
When the trail opened in 2012, it created easy access to the area, a sense of community ownership, and a strong focus for environmental restoration and funding.
"Obviously, not all areas are suitable for trails, but Dunes is a reminder that, where suitable, a trail can be a powerful way to enhance an environment," he added.
"And a lot of people want to get out of bed for that."
Rotorua tree planting proect
-Help is needed for a Rotorua tree-planting project on Saturday, August 31 from 9am at Lake Okareka.
-Check out Tipu Wai on Facebook for where to meet.
-There are 1700 natives to plant (supplied by Bay of Plenty Regional Council with permission from Rotorua Lakes Council) replacing ugly and invasive gorse and blackberry.
-Bring a spade, Capers Epicurean will supply cake.
The Rotorua Mountain Bike Club AGM
-Monday, August 26 at Peak Safety's offices at SCION.
-Hear about all the great work over the last 12 months and what the future holds.