What I love about ISV's New Zealand Volunteer Projects is knowing that the work we do as volunteers is having a positive impact on New Zealand’s environment, on the plants and animals, as well as entire ecosystems.
There’s nothing better than looking out over a field of newly planted trees! Sure your back hurts, there’s dirt under your fingernails that will take days to come out, and you are cold and exhausted, but when you look at that field of newly planted trees you know that in 10 years you will be looking at a mini forest, and in 25 years you will be able to walk underneath a beautiful canopy of native trees and listen to the abundant birdsong.
That’s what we’re all about – putting in the hard work so that New Zealand ecosystems can recover. Habitat restoration is one of the most rewarding and empowering activities for me personally, because it is an example of redemption.
What do I mean? The loss of habitat, destruction of the environment and extinction of species has been caused by human error. Habitat restoration is humanity's chance to redeem ourselves for the errors that were made in the past.
Of course, we can’t bring extinct species back, but we can create new habitats and ecosystems which will sustain the species that still remain. I find it extremely empowering to know that we can give something back to the environment and leave it in a better condition than when we found it.
This year alone (2011), ISV participants in New Zealand planted over 52,000 native trees, propagated over 10,000 native seedlings, spent over 2,600 hours removing invasive weeds, and worked on over 49,000 meters of walking tracks.
Each ISV participant who put their time and effort into their projects can be proud of those achievements. This is what I love about ISV Projects; knowing that together we are making a difference, together we can impact our world!
ISV New Zealand Project Manager