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The Forest Bridge Trust has been awarded $300,000 from the Community Environment Fund, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.

“The vision of The Forest Bridge Trust is to create a connected landscape of healthy forest and flourishing indigenous wildlife from the Kaipara Harbour in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. They plan to achieve that vision by connecting up bush remnants, fencing, planting and doing weed and pest control throughout the area,” Mr Simpson says.

“The Forest Remnant Protection and Connectivity – Hoteo Catchment project will fence off valuable native bush blocks on farms in the Hoteo River catchment, north of Auckland. The target is for a minimum of 2.5 kilometres of fencing each year.

Advice about animal pest control will be given through a series of community animal pest control workshops.  By the end of the three-year project, the Trust aims for 20,000 hectares to have an animal pest control plan being carried out to best-practice standards.

The Trust will also train children from 15 local schools on how to control introduced pests and to track their results using the University of Auckland’s CatchIT system. It hopes that 60 per cent of the families involved will continue to use a trap on their properties and to record the catches, and that 30 per cent of parents will attend a follow up workshop.

“The Government is committed to Predator Free 2050 – a plan to eradicate rats, stoats and possums from New Zealand and protect precious native species.  By encouraging local farming families to take an active stewardship role in trapping and recording catch data we will continue to build interest and enthusiasm for pest control.  Longer term, widespread local participation could become the community norm with great potential benefits in reduction of pests.”

“It’s great to see the local landowners, communities and councils working together to create a lasting legacy of a pest-free forest where native plants, birds and animals can thrive and be enjoyed by everyone.”

The Community Environment Fund provides funding so New Zealanders are empowered to take environmental action. The Fund support projects that strengthen partnerships, raise public awareness of environmental issues, and encourage community participation in environmental initiatives. Since 2010 the fund has awarded more than $12 million to environmental projects.

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