Positive change from volunteer action

“Volunteering is one of my favourite ways to contribute a positive impact,” says Jen Coombes from Toronto, Canada.

“As visitors in this country we often take photos of the beautiful landscapes, but do nothing to help preserve them.”

Focus on wetland restoration

Jen has been helping Environment Canterbury’s Kaikōura project delivery officer Heath Melville with wetland restoration works.

A 2015 report noted the Kaikōura district has lost 95.5 percent of natural wetlands through drainage, land development and land use change.

Environment Canterbury staff are working with landowners to protect wetlands in the zone with the Kaikōura Water Zone Committee supporting wetlands projects through its Immediate Steps Biodiversity Fund.

Jen has been planting native sedges at Warrens Creek and hand-weeding the swamp edges at the Hapuku Wetlands.

Creating change

In Toronto, volunteering is mandatory as part of the school curriculum.
“You create change from such a small action of donating a few hours of your time; it's benefiting both for yourself and the community.

“Kaikōura and New Zealand have given me so much, volunteering is my little thank you to this beautiful country and the amazingly kind people here.”

“Working with the wetlands around Kaikōura has been so cool, learning all about the local flora and fauna, connecting with the environment around me. I feel good that for just a couple of hours in the day I did something to combat the effects of climate change,” Jen said.

Heath said Jen’s enthusiasm for the wetlands projects has been amazing and her help has been well received.

“Jen is very adaptable and enthusiastic, making it easy to coordinate tasks with her that are meaningful and interesting,” he said.

Become a volunteer

If you would like to volunteer with Environment Canterbury in Kaikōura, check out the Volunteer Whiteboard at the Kaikōura i-Site or contact Heath on heath.melville@ecan.govt.nz.