Youngsters plant trees to protect their stream
Friday, 14 June 2013 4:31 p.m.
Rotorua young people from five schools were out in force today [Friday 14 June] planting up the Utuhina Stream as part of a Rotorua Youth Environmental Forum (RYEF) project.
The Forum organised the planting day with support from Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua District Council, with about 150 students from five local schools helping to plant a section of the stream.
RYEF received funding from Ministry of Youth Development to involve local youth in an action campaign for the Utuhina Stream. The students are encouraging schools in the area to adopt a part of the stream near them.
The Utuhina runs through the city, and is a source of pollution for Lake Rotorua.
The students rafted down the river to see what work was required before starting the project – a difficult operation because the stream is narrow in places and overgrown. They also videoed themselves and tested water quality from the spring to the lake as they went.
The students shared their video and an interactive presentation with schools near the stream to raise awareness about the state of the stream and the lake, and organised the clean-up and planting.
Regional Council Strategy manager Fiona McTavish said planting stream banks reduced erosion and ensured less top soil went into the water.
‘It’s great to see young people showing leadership and taking action for issues like water quality and lake health that affect their community.”
“The planting will provide shade and keep water cool for fish and invertebrates, act as a filter and reduce nutrients going into the lake. The plantings help to create wildlife habitat and spawning for fish, so the work these young people are doing is very valuable for our environment.”
The Rotorua Youth Environmental Forum is supported by Bay of Plenty Regional Council. In recent years the forum has coordinated community various events for Earth Hour, World Environment day and run Environmental Leadership seminars for intermediate school students.