Nita Smith is the Conservation Coordinator for the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust. The Trust's vision is to: Protect and restore the native biodiversity of the Wakatipu Basin through revegetation projects, collaboration, education and advocacy.
The kowhai rich dry woodlands that used to be prolific in the Wakatipu Basin are one of the most threatened ecosystems in New Zealand, and also one of the least protected. The Trust, through the passion and commitment of volunteers is doing what it can to reverse this by running a native plant nursery and planting native plants out on public land around the Wakatipu.
While Nita's background isn't strictly botany and reforestation, she has had a career shaped by her love of the environment and mountains including working as a scientist in Antarctica, hydrologist on the West Coast and more recently in environmental education.
Some of that love of the environment is due to being dragged up a few wild valleys aged about 7, botanising with her Mum and Wakatipu Reforestation Trust founders, the well known Neill and Barb Simpson, proof that environmental education in children can have a lasting lifetime effect.
Having returned to the area recently she is super passionate about helping enable the community to get out to dig some holes, plant some plants, connect as a community in gumboots over a cuppa and a scone, as well as being involved in some exciting environmental research projects that have the potential to change the way we do landscape reforestation.