Volunteers will be getting their hands dirty to restore Eltham's environment.

Elthamite Becky Dodunski, who works as a community support worker when not helping beautify her town, says she is excited about the potential for the Restore Eltham project.

She is establishing Restore Eltham as part of Restore Taranaki, a new venture across Taranaki.

Kirstin Foley ,who works for Restore Taranaki, says people have an obligation to protect and preserve what they have by working to restore communities.

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"Restore communities isn't led by anyone, it's different people stepping up to help restore the community. It brings the whole community together as we make small, sustainable changes which will lead to big changes. It's being a part of the bigger picture and showing the rest of the country how to do it."

Becky says that she has a passion for conservation.

"I'm just an everyday local with a passion for conservation. As a child I spent many school holidays on Great Barrier Island so the native landscape and wildlife has always been important to me."

The first project will be the stream area behind Soldiers Park beside the golf club in Eltham. The first job for the group is tackling the weeds and cleaning up the area.

The next project will be planting the area with native trees.

"My aim is to plant lots of new native trees, remove invasive weeds, clean up our rivers and streams, remove predators and encourage an abundance of native wildlife including birds, bugs, bats and freshwater fish."

At the next meeting, there will be $10 rat trap in a box for sale to raise funds for Ngaere School's environmental projects while also helping locals deal with a pest issue.

"Our children attend Ngaere School and we have been selling the rat trap in a box package since last year, which has been very popular. Predator-free Taranaki is an exciting concept for the region." Becky says.

Eltham Primary School will also be helping restore the town and Becky says she is looking forward to working with them.

"We will be renewing the great work already put in by Stuart Wakeling, Howard and Janice Hughes and the Eltham Development Group. We can all do our bit, and together we can achieve a lot."

Becky says they are in a prime position between Rotokare Reserve and the mountain to look after our native plants and wildlife.


 The next community meeting will be held on Friday February 22 at 7.30pm at the Eltham Fire Station. For any queries contact Becky Dodunski on 027 768 0711.