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Cultivating a Green Legacy: The Story of 25,000 Trees on a Family Farm

25,000 Trees and Counting: A Family’s Legacy for Future Generations

In the lush landscapes of Te Awamutu, the Storey family integrates their deep-rooted passion for ecological stewardship with the daily rhythms of dairy farming. Over generations, Doug, Penny, Josh, and Bayley Storey have enriched their land with more than 25,000 native trees, cultivating a living legacy that spans far beyond their tenure on the farm.

The Storeys’ journey into sustainability didn’t happen overnight. The inception of their environmental mission traces back to an already existing native forest on their farm, home to an array of indigenous trees including kahikatea, tōtara, rimu, pōkākā, and mataī. Recognizing the inherent value of this natural treasure, the family took decisive action thirty years ago, fencing off the area to safeguard its biodiversity for the coming generations.

The farm itself is a testament to the Storey family’s enduring bond to the land, having been passed down through six generations. Each member, from Doug and Penny to their children Josh and Bayley, contributes to the farm’s environmental efforts, with help from Koroneiki Developments and community volunteers. These efforts include extensive native tree planting along the Mangapiko Stream and the development of a wetland, aimed at enhancing habitat for native birds and wildlife.

“Our aim is to intertwine our lives even more closely with the land, enriching its natural beauty for generations to come,” Doug explains. “It’s about securing a future where eeling in the river and explorative play in the forest are experiences our descendants can enjoy as we did.”

Aside from expanding their native forest, the Storey family has dedicated 4 hectares of their land exclusively for further plantings, stepping away from agricultural use to bolster their conservation efforts. This includes a comprehensive pest management strategy designed to revive the local bird population and enrich the ecosystem’s diversity.

The Storeys are part of a larger community of eco-conscious farmers within the Dairy Environment Leaders network. This platform, initiated in 2007, fosters leadership and collaboration among farmers, DairyNZ, and the NZ Farm Environment Trust, with the goal of reducing the environmental footprint of dairy farming through shared knowledge and actions.

Far beyond their farm, the Storey family contributes to a visionary project aimed at constructing an ecological corridor that links Mt Pirongia and Maungatautari. The Taiea te Taiao project unites farmers, iwi, and several organizations in a collective effort to create a sanctuary for native birds and bats. The Storey farm serves as a crucial stopover for wildlife traversing along this corridor, emphasizing the family’s role in supporting regional biodiversity.

In embracing these initiatives, Josh and Bayley Storey are also driven by a desire to inspire other young individuals to explore a future in sustainable dairy farming. The joy of witnessing native birds like tūī and kererū thriving on their land is a testament to their efforts in environmental conservation.

As part of their comprehensive environmental strategy, the Storeys engage in bat monitoring and the conservation of freshwater eels (tuna) using traditional Māori knowledge. In cataloging all native tree species on their farm, ecologist Britta Deichmann is assisting the family in creating a lasting record that will serve not only as an ecological blueprint but also as an enduring legacy of their commitment to the land and its future stewards.

Through their unwavering dedication to preserving the natural world, the Storey family epitomizes the essence of sustainability. They stand as a shining example of how agricultural endeavors can harmoniously coexist with environmental conservation, paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future.

Ava Bloom

Ava Bloom is an eco-influencer and sustainability coach who has transformed her commitment to a zero-waste lifestyle into a catalyst for change. Through her engaging social media presence and hands-on workshops, Ava teaches the beauty and feasibility of sustainable living. Her journey is one of continuous learning and sharing, from eco-friendly home practices to advocating for sustainable fashion. Ava's articles are a treasure trove of tips, tricks, and motivational insights, empowering readers to make small changes that have a big impact on our planet.

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