Another month has almost passed and the end of another year is close. In a few days, motorways will be thick with traffic as holidaymakers exit cities and towns to properties perched where land meets water.
What will they do when they get there? If the weather is good they’ll be on the beach – perhaps having traversed walkways across dunes lovingly replanted with pingao (Ficinia spiralis). They may glance back and momentarily appreciate a new native forest beginning to thicken across a formerly barren hillside. You can see where this might be headed…
It surprised me greatly when members of two different Waikato-based groups, one urban, the other peri-urban, described the lack of local participation in their volunteer activities. Even residents whose properties abut restoration sites rapidly being transformed by regular working bees rarely picked up a spade to help.
I know of excellent educational programmes that take place during the summer that are designed to help holidaymakers see the bigger ecological picture. But could holidaymakers also be enticed to pick up a spade for a few hours or check a few predator traps? Could their ownership of a bach (or crib if you’re a South Islander) extend to practical stewardship for the landscape they’ve chosen to holiday in? What a difference it would make if these holidaymakers opened their arms to the dunes and hillsides and said, “I helped to plant that”.