Commonly referred to as the Green Corridors, this network of walkways weaves its way along the various streams and inlets from the Tararua Ranges all the way to the mighty awa – albeit with some roads in between.
Mostly undiscovered, these corridors from “range to river” are a treasure trove of revitalised native flora and fauna, where redundant farmland once was.
Since 2001, an eco-conscious group of residents has partnered with Council, devoting their free time to enhancing the native bush, helping wildlife thrive and creating some of the city’s most serene – and underutilised – trails.
Palmerston North’s Jack Taylor knows these trails better than almost anyone, having basically grown up alongside the trees he’s been planting for the past 14 years.
“Green Corridors properly started for me during my first year in high school in 2006, while I was working for a plant propagation nursery,” Jack says.
In less than two decades, the Green Corridors programme has made an immense contribution to local biodiversity. In 2017 it was awarded a Local Government New Zealand Excellence Award for Environmental Impact.
However, Jack says there’s still a lot that can be done.
“We do a lot of weed control. In particular, we tackle the larger exotic removals, such as the willows and cherries, as these species colonise very easily and grow quickly, which shades out the natives that are trying to establish.
“As the Green Corridors cover a vast portion of land, there’s always work to do so that the community can continue to enjoy the benefits.”
The community that surrounds the Green Corridors is also part of what makes them so unique.
“Turning redundant ex-farmland into native bush from locally collected seeds and having this among the urban landscape with a network of walkways for people to enjoy is amazing,” Jack says.
Committing weekends and afternoons to help the local environment flourish has been no sacrifice for the self-confessed tree enthusiast, who passion into profession with his business, Vertical Arborists – which has now partnered with the programme.
Trees bring a sense of peace when you’re among them. They’re known to reduce stress levels as well as positively alter our environment by moderating the climate, improving air quality, reducing stormwater runoff and, of course, providing a habitat for wildlife.Jack Taylor
While the Green Corridors volunteers continue to put their muscle into restoring the corridors with native species, the mission is also to continue obtaining land in the hope that one day the trails will be fully connected.
The Green Corridors group is always on the lookout for more volunteers – find your new favourite walk and get involved via the group’s Facebook page: @GreenCorridorsPN
Jack’s favourite corridor is Titoki Reserve. “I remember planting this block of land when it was completely bare. Now we get to walk on a gravel track among the establishing trees we planted only 14 years ago.”
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This story was originally published in the autumn 2020 issue of PalmyProud. Read the latest issue.