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Green Initiative: Aotearoa’s Benchmark Tree Planting Event

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In a ground-breaking initiative underlining a steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability, Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA), John Turkington Forestry, Feilding High School, the Pohangina Community Board, and the Manawatu District Council have jointly worked together to make a significant climate commitment. This collective effort seeks to counterbalance the carbon emissions generated from international travel during the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport (IWG 2022) last November. This collaboration signifies a crucial step towards adopting carbon-neutral strategies at international and sports-related gatherings, fostering a cohesive approach towards a greener tomorrow.

Myles Guy, the Environmental Business Manager at John Turkington, designed the innovative project and it involved planting 2,500 native trees on a 1.15-hectare tract of land. This long-term vision plans to mitigate the environmental impacts of the 356 international attendees, setting a tangible goal of neutralising carbon emissions over the next 50 years with an allocation of about 7 trees per international IWG delegate.

Mr. Guy expressed his enthusiasm about the project, noting the tangible benefits it brings to both the community and the environment in New Zealand. The conception of this project can be credited to John and Angela Turkington who joined forces with WISPA to craft this innovative carbon initiative. Angela Turkington praised the collective effort showcased at the event, acknowledging the hard work and commitment of all parties, especially the local community and their employees at Turkington Forestry who were involved.

Emphasising the project’s legacy and its potential as a benchmark for future endeavours, John Turkington noted the inclusive nature of the event which fostered community engagement and created a vibrant biodiversity site. Dr. Sarah Leberman, WISPA’s co-founder, echoed this sentiment, expressing her pride in representing WISPA and contributing to global conservation efforts.

The event was marked by enthusiastic participation from local schools and communities, including prominent sportswomen like Verity Sharland, Kayla Whitelock, Megan Hull, and Georgia Simpson, who all joined to support this community initiative. Kayla Whitelock shared her honour in participating, acknowledging the significant step towards safeguarding the future for the younger generations.

Aligning with Mental Health Awareness Week, this initiative encouraged community members to engage in tree planting as a therapeutic and mindful activity, reinforcing the themes of environmental conservation and community participation during this significant week of promoting mental well-being. For more insights on Mental Health Awareness Week, visit here.

This collaboration between WISPA and John Turkington Forestry symbolises a profound commitment to nurturing the environment, fostering community collaboration, and setting a new global standard for international gatherings in Aotearoa and beyond. Both entities foresee this project as a blueprint for subsequent endeavours, bridging environmental sustainability with community engagement and the sports industry.


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