Farewell – with gratitude

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Long-serving Trees for Survival stalwarts – one who has mainly worked behind the scenes, the others in the field – have recently retired. Graeme Houston, the Trust Chair says that, “Shirley Conway, our Administrator since 2007, Dianne Patterson, Field Officer for six years, and Kirsty Hardie-Boys, Field Officer since 2012, have strongly committed themselves to promote the work of Trees for Survival. The Trust owes them all a great debt of gratitude and wishes them well for the future. Shirley, Dianne and Kirsty will be sorely missed”.

In the eight years as Administrator, Shirley has built up a great understanding of the Trees for Survival programme and provided huge support for the people promoting it. She has often been the first point of contact for teachers making orders or responding to enquiries, and has also been active in maintaining the database, record keeping, writing letters and thanking donors.

Kirsty has very successfully covered a great deal of ground working with schools in Auckland central and to the north, where she has developed great rapport with staff and students, as well as Auckland Council supporters. Kirsty also made a major contribution to the development of the Kowhai Awards programme which she helped judge in its first two years.

Dianne Patterson presenting a potted tree and the Kowhai Award to Awhitu School.

Dianne Patterson, has been a Field Officer with attitude since 2009. She is passionate about the programme and the importance of teaching children about why we plant trees. Dianne has worked with teachers and pupils in schools showing them how to grow and plant trees. She has also encouraged and supported a multitude of volunteers and liaised with countless Trees for Survival supporters.

Perhaps the last word should go to Dianne, who says, “I have loved working for Trees for Survival! I am more passionate about the programme and the need to teach children to plant trees than I was when I started.

“I have worked with upwards of 40 schools and their Support Organisations and met you, an amazing group of like-minded people who care deeply about the conservation and restoration of New Zealand’s indigenous habitat.

“I now know dedicated teachers who impart their own convictions, and hard-working Rotarians who consistently volunteer their service. The growing involvement of businesses and corporations, with their people taking time out of offices and warehouses to support children on planting day, broadens our idea of community. Day-to-day the programme means watering, weeding, and teaching horticultural skills on caring for the seedlings to new groups of children. My thanks to you all, especially to the children and young people involved.”

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