The 30-year-old Cambridge Tree Trust is back planting post Covid-19 – and its voluntary membership has grown it highest level.
Chair Eric Todd said it is not uncommon for more than 30 people to show up to help with planting projects around town when the trust gathers every Tuesday at its Thornton Rd base.
“There’s a lot of people retiring to Cambridge who are looking for something active and productive to do,” he said. “Given that, our volunteer numbers are certainly booming.”
To cope with the growth Eric said they had looked at dividing into separate planting groups – but were reticent to do so.
“We’re not sure we really want to – because a big part of the enjoyment people get from the work we do is the social aspect of it and the camaraderie.”
On planting days, as well as the planting crew, there are volunteers who specifically stay back at the base, either working in the shade house or tending to the up to 6000 plants which can be in the trust’s nursery at any one time.
A maintenance day – every Thursday – has also been added to the trust’s calendar.
Its aim is to set aside time for volunteers to tend to existing plantings they have already put in the ground as part of existing projects all over Cambridge.”
“We could still always do with more help and volunteers though,” Eric said.
“We never really catch up on our workload – it never stops. Every time we finish a project there’s always two more waiting.”
The trust’s first planting initiative post-lockdown – which volunteers have been working on for the past two Tuesdays – is work below Canoe Racing New Zealand’s High Performance training centre at Lake Karapiro’s Mighty River Domain.
As work continued there this week, Mr Todd said about 20 people were on hand.
Mighty River Domain site manager Liz Stolwyk said the work trust volunteers were doing below the centre would improve the area immensely.
“We are exceptionally lucky that we have such an active, passionate and well-organised group like the tree trust in Cambridge,” she said.
With a long-term view in mind, Eric said having a hand in the beautification of Cambridge for future generations was very satisfying.
“We all really enjoy the work we do. Even for us today, we owe so much of what we enjoy about town to the foresight and hard work of those who went before us.”
Cambridge Tree Trust was founded in 1991 by Lola Silcock.
The trust has overseen multiple major planting projects around Cambridge – including Lola Silcock Park on Bath St, Meadow Walk in Alpers Ridge, work behind Resthaven in Vogel St, and the Oak and Maple arboretum in Swayne Rd.