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Mid-Canterbury Rugby Legend completes major conservation initiative

On Sunday 18 August, Mid-Canterbury Rugby Legend Jock Ross joined 100 volunteers to plant 2,000 native trees and shrubs at Ashburton’s Harris Scientific Reserve.

This staggering achievement was part of the Living Legends project.  Living Legends is completing 14 regional projects during August, to reach a target of planting a total of 170,000 native trees throughout New Zealand.  The work follows on from 2011 when Living Legends was established to leave a legacy of New Zealand’s hosting of Rugby World Cup.

Each region’s planting project is dedicated to a local “Rugby Legend”.  Jock Ross was selected by Mid-Canterbury Rugby Union as the Mid-Canterbury Rugby Legend in 2011 and spent Sunday morning at Harris Scientific Reserve mucking-in with volunteers from the community to complete the Ashburton planting project.

Jock Ross says “Living Legends is a fantastic project that has brought together rugby and conservation.  It has been an absolute privilege to be selected as the local Rugby Legend and to contribute to a project that will make a difference to New Zealand for generations to come.”

Devon McLean, Project Manager for Living Legends, adds “Jock has been a wonderful local ambassador for the Living Legends project, and has gone out of his way to support us.  To have him there this weekend alongside the local community for our final event was brilliant, Jock truly is a legend.”

The Harris Scientific Reserve is a highly valuable remnant of once extensive dry-land kanuka.  It has only been preserved through the willingness of the past landowner, Arthur Harris, and the efforts of the Ashburton Community Conservation Trust. Living Legends was keen to assist in the extension and restoration of this remnant because of its great scientific value and the commitment of the local community. A total of nearly 7,000 dry-land kanuka and associated species have been established by Living Legends and the maintenance of these plantings will now be handed back over to the Ashburton Community Conservation Trust.

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