The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful autumnal day in the Whakatipu basin.

Locals from dozens of tourism businesses around Queenstown – Queenstown Airport, Skyline Enterprises, Ziptrek Ecotours, and several activity and accommodation providers – are gathered ready to get their hands dirty.

Boots, gloves, and smiles are on as they take time from their busy schedules to volunteer to plant native trees at Slope Hill Reserve, Lake Hayes. One tree at a time, they’ll be working towards establishing an ecological corridor stretching from Arrowtown to Lake Whakatipu.

This hard work will benefit local wildlife, enhance water quality, contribute to climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration, and raise awareness of the importance of restoring this place.

In total, over 140 volunteers from across the industry planted upwards of 2,500 trees in just two days. This collective action showcases the tourism community’s dedication to leaving a positive and lasting impact on Queenstown and its surrounding natural landscapes.

Two women smiling as they plant trees at a Love Queenstown Industry Planting DayLove Queenstown Planting Day. Image: Dave Oakley.

The planting days were made possible due to a collaboration between Love Queenstown, Mana Tāhuna and the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust (WRT).

Earlier this year, the He Rā Rākau Tītapu - King Charles III Coronation Plantings gifted 7,000 native plants from Trees that Count to WRT and Mana Tāhuna, enabling them to expand their restoration work.

Partnering with Love Queenstown, a community fund connecting visitors and the tourism industry to environmental projects of impact, has enabled tourism businesses to (quite literally) sow the seeds for future generations and demonstrate their passion for this place.

What’s more, all the compost on the day was provided by local environmentalist, Michael Sly as part of his waste-to-wilderness efforts. Food waste from local tourism and hospitality providers will nourish the new plants.

two people planting trees at Slope Point, Lake Hayes, Blue sky with mountains in background.Love Queenstown Planting Day. Image: Dave Oakley.

“Planting events like these are a perfect example of how communities can show up, do more for our backyard, and drive essential environmental action in our district. There is a really special feeling when a group gathers to put in the hard work to create a better future for their community and environment," says Love Queenstown Coordinator, Ash Bickley.

Through collaborative efforts such as these, Love Queenstown aims to continue fostering environmental stewardship within the tourism industry, leaving a positive and lasting impact on the Queenstown community and its surrounding natural landscapes.

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