As a retailer in the outdoor leisure industry, we have a responsibility to fight for the protection of our environment and its wildlife, and to have a lasting positive impact on people’s lives through the outdoors. The Macpac Fund for Good is our way of giving back, and helping those committed to creating long-term change for the good of our people and planet. One such organisation is the The Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust (BPCT). They work tirelessly to preserve the Banks Peninsula – a beautiful part of New Zealand that we can see from our backyard in Christchurch. We caught up with Sophie Hartnell, Volunteer Coordinator at BPCT to learn a little bit more about the good work her and her team do.
For those who aren’t aware, can you tell us what the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust is?
Sophie Hartnell: We’re a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2001, to work with land owners, agencies, sponsors and the wider community to promote the conservation and enhancement of indigenous biodiversity and sustainable land management on Banks Peninsula. A prime focus for the Trust is working with Banks Peninsula landowners to create voluntary conservation covenants. A covenant enables a landowner to protect ecologically significant areas in perpetuity.
So, what’s the mission?
Sophie: In 2016 the Associate Minister of Conservation, the Hon. Nicky Wagner, launched our 2050 Ecological Vision for Banks Peninsula. This Vision is widely supported by the Banks Peninsula community, local runanga, the Department of Conservation, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, a range of conservation organisations, corporate partners, and our landowners. It includes eight ecological goals and provides strategic direction for the cohesive and collaborative management of indigenous biodiversity on Banks Peninsula. All of the Trust’s programs are underpinned by this Vision.
What are the key threats to the peninsula right now, and what’s being done to combat them?
Sophie: Pest animals and pest plants continue to threaten native forest and biodiversity on the Peninsula. BPCT endeavors to assist covenant owners manage their land by providing support through advice, volunteer work days and expertise in the areas of plant and animal pest control. In addition to this BPCT manages the Wildside Project.
The Wildside Project is a large scale collaboration of landowners, Christchurch City Council, Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury, and BPCT for the protection of a variety of endemic, threatened, and iconic species.
The project began for the protection of breeding sites of pelagic bird species such as the endemic white-flippered little blue penguin, the only titi (sooty shearwater) colony in Canterbury, and yellow-eyed penguin at their northern breeding range. The Wildside has also been recognised internationally in the IUCN Invertebrate Red Data Book (1983) for a place of high invertebrate endemism. Other iconic and threatened species outcomes include the protection of jewelled gecko, spotted skink, the Banks Peninsula tree weta and Akaroa daisy (both found only on the Wildside).
The Wildside is a nationally significant area for the protection of sea bird breeding sites as it bounds the only two marine reserves on the east coast of the South Island, Pohatu and the Akaroa Marine Reserves. With the largest penguin colony on mainland New Zealand at Flea Bay. The Wildside covers 13,500ha and focuses on habitat protection, with 25% held in private or public reserve, and predator control, with over 700 predator traps controlling feral cats, ferrets, stoats, weasels, and possums used in this extensive trapping program.
Why does the trust need support from sources like the Macpac Fund For Good?
Sophie: BPCT is a charitable trust and a not for profit organisation, thus relying on funding from community trusts, sponsorships, donations and fundrasing, as well as volunteers to assist us in our work. To this end we are always seeking financial assistance to continue to deliver positive conservation outcomes and our 2050 Ecological Vision.
For more information on the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, or to find out how you can help protect the Banks Peninsula, visit www.bpct.org.nz.
If you are part of a not-for-profit organisation working on environmental and social causes related to the outdoors, then you may be eligible for a Macpac Fund for Good grant. Your activities need to be based in New Zealand or Australia, or their territories. If you would like to apply, fill out an application form, and return the completed application form to Fund.Forgood@macpac.co.nz