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John Sturgeon to help plant 2,500 native trees to complete major West Coast conservation initiative

On Sunday 1 September, Rugby Legend John Sturgeon will be mucking in alongside local volunteers to complete the Buller/West Coast Living Legends project.

Living Legends is a conservation project that was established in 2011 to leave a legacy of New Zealand’s hosting of Rugby World Cup by planting trees with Rugby Legends in locations throughout New Zealand. A staggering 129,000 native trees have been planted so far. Living Legends is returning to 14 locations across New Zealand to plant a further 41,000 native trees this year, completing the project. 

Each planting project is dedicated to a Rugby Legend from the region. The Rugby Legends were selected in 2011 by each region’s provincial rugby union based on their significant contribution to rugby in New Zealand.  John Sturgeon was selected as the Buller/West Coast Rugby Legend and will be helping volunteers complete the Living Legends planting project in Punakaiki.

Living Legends is contributing to the Punakaiki Coastal Restoration project, adjacent to Paparoa National Park. Following this year’s planting day, volunteers will have planted a total of 10,000 native trees at the area as part of Living Legends.

Devon McLean, Project Manager of Living Legends, says the completion of the project this year will be of major significance to conservation in New Zealand. “At the conclusion of Living Legends planting events this year our volunteers and Rugby Legends will have planted 170,000 native trees throughout New Zealand. Trees play an important role in moderating our climate, improving our air quality, providing homes for native wildlife and landscapes for us to enjoy. It really is a gift to future generations of New Zealanders, and a lovely way to leave a legacy of Rugby World Cup 2011.”

John Sturgeon says he is very happy to be part of the Living Legends project and is looking forward to attending the event again this year. “Living Legends is a fantastic project that brings together rugby and conservation, and it’s a privilege to be able to make a difference to New Zealand for generations to come. I was so impressed with the participation of the school groups that volunteered at last year’s event. These young people seemed to enjoy and understand what the day was all about and I am convinced that the younger generation will eventually take responsibility for this project. I’m looking forward to helping complete the plantings this year and hope to see plenty of children involved again.”

Living Legends welcomes volunteers to this event to help plant the trees. Anyone can take part and it is free to attend but people must register their interest at www.livinglegends.co.nz. Registered volunteers will receive information on what they need to bring along and further detail about the day. Registrations for this event close midnight on Wednesday 28 August.

Living Legends is a joint venture of Project Crimson, an environmental charity with 23 years experience in community-based native restoration projects and The Tindall Foundation. Major sponsors are the Department of Conservation and Meridian Energy. The events are also supported by many local community groups who are actively involved on planting days, and as tree caretakers throughout the year.

For more information about this event visit www.livinglegends.co.nz

Buller/West Coast Living Legends Event
Date of event: 1 September 2013
Time: 9am-12pm
Location: Punakaiki Coastal Reserve

Event is free but registrations are required at www.livinglegends.co.nz

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