Our Forest


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Hutia te Rito

Māori waiata

Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei whea te korimako e ko
Ki mai ki ahau
He aha te mea nui
He aha te mea nui o te ao
Maku e kii atu
He tangata, he tangata,
He tangata, hei!

If you remove the heart of the flax bush
From where will the Bellbird sing?
If you say to me
What is the most important thing
In this world
I will reply to you
It is people, it is people,
It is people!

Staveley Camp Forest

The Staveley Camp Forest, also known as Sawmill Road Bush, is a unique and precious remnant of native alluvial plain forest in the Mid-Canterbury foothills. It holds immense ecological value and is a testament to the natural heritage of the area. Unfortunately, the forest suffered degradation over time due to early grazing and the presence of non-native plant species.

Invasive weeds, like cotoneaster and sycamore, fundamentally alter the structure of the soil making it more inviting for weeds, and less welcoming to native trees and plants.

Our role is to provide the very best environment within the forest to encourage the growth of native bush, which in turn welcomes native birds and wildlife.

In 2018 and 2021, Staveley Camp received generous funding from ECan (Environment Canterbury) for the Forest Restoration Project. In addition to supporting our efforts to nurture this beautiful forest, the project seeks to actively engage schools and the local community in learning about biodiversity and the urgent need to safeguard our natural spaces.

The Forest Restoration Project at Staveley Camp serves as a platform for education and raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation. By involving the community and schools in this important cause, we hope to foster a sense of stewardship and inspire future generations to truly respect and give to the forest as it has provided for people for generations.

Ashburton Guardian

School students join camp’s war on weeds

Armed with saws and secateurs, Mt Somers Springburn School students were out in force at Staveley Camp for a pre-Christmas weeding bee.

The students were the first to take part in a new weedbusting programme devised by Staveley Camp to help look after the 10 hectare forest remnant which surrounds the camp.

This remnant is the last eastern-most patch of mountain beech left in the Ashburton District, and a rare reminder of what forests in the area once looked like.

Saving our Forest

As part of our efforts, we are collaborating with Kakariki Camps to create an environmental education program called ‘Heads, Hands, Hearts.’ This unique program aims to provide purpose-built, enjoyable forest activities that engage students and teachers alike, igniting their interests in subjects such as ecology, history, creative writing, art, and complex systems. By combining education and hands-on experiences in the forest, we believe this program offers numerous benefits for both the forest itself and the participants.

In addition, we regularly organize community events that celebrate and encourage involvement in caring for the forest. Staveley Camp already hosts a vibrant array of diverse groups who share a deep appreciation for and connection with the forest. We aim to raise awareness about the significance of the ongoing work in the forest and inform visitors about its importance.

The Staveley Camp forest serves as an ideal educational setting to teach about various approaches to environmental weed control. It offers a remarkable range of environmental weed species, allowing visitors to comprehend the challenges associated with weed management. The forest’s size strikes a balance, providing enough space to understand the problem without overwhelming participants, while the comfortable indoor learning spaces further enhance the educational experience.

Restoring the Staveley Forest will undoubtedly contribute to the preservation of local indigenous biodiversity. The impacts of this restoration extend beyond the forest itself, playing a vital role in the overall health of the wider ecosystem. By capturing hearts and minds through our efforts, we have the potential to create a lasting positive impact on the forest and inspire a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

Upcoming Events

Wellbeing Weekend – Weed Wrangling

Wellbeing Weekend – Weed Wrangling

Saturday 27 April 2024
Get ready for an unforgettable Weed Wrangling Day at Staveley Camp! The remnant native forest at Staveley Camp is under threat from invasive weeds and we need your help to save it.

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Wellbeing Weekend – Wellbeing Day

Wellbeing Weekend – Wellbeing Day

Sunday 28 April 2024
Take a day out to nurture your wellbeing in the beautiful environment of Staveley Camp & Native Remnant Forest. Set this day aside for yourself – to be refreshed & invigorated.

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