Back in 2013 our South Island Douglas-Fir orchard was ready for its first major pick. The aim was to harvest the seeds from the cones to put them into our breeding programme. It was going to be a huge undertaking for Ernslaw One staff and contractors.
At the time, the West Otago community was raising funds to build a medical centre and rest home. We put the idea of picking the cones as a fundraiser to their committee, which they happily agreed to. It involved a large group of people every day for 10 days to pick the entire orchard. Approximately 400 sacks were picked at the end of those 10 days and over $40,000 was raised for the medical centre and rest home.
Since then, this has been an annual fundraising event for various community groups. We have helped raise money for West Otago community swimming pool, Blue Mountain College tour group and the Tapanui Golf Club.
For more than 25 years Ernslaw One has been supporting the fundraising initiatives of Moana House, a residential therapeutic community for adult male offenders with drug and alcohol problems seeking positive change.
Each year Moana House residents travel from Dunedin to our Beaumont Forest in Tapanui to cut Christmas trees in the lead up to Christmas, to raise funds to help support their programmes.
When we were first approached, we invited the group down to our forests to inspect the trees and make sure they were suitable.The regenerated pines scattered through our trees in the forest as well as along roadsides, were perfect and every year from then on we have looked forward to welcoming Moana House residents.
Each year they cut between 1000 to 1200 trees over a two week period, making it a very successful fundraiser – and a great workout! As part of the ongoing programme we provide training for a First Aid certificate and a chainsaw module to ensure the safety of all participants.
We welcome visitors into Naseby Forest to enjoy all the recreational activities on offer, including swimming, fishing, ice skating, curling, gold panning, mountain biking and walking amongst the alpine beauty.
When we purchased the forest in 2000 we committed to keeping the recreation areas open and to build on this wonderful community facility.
We have donated land for an indoor curling rink - the only one in the Southern Hemisphere that is dedicated to curling – an outdoor ice skating rink, a 400 metre long ice luge and we’ve recently given land for a summer luge which is currently being created.
With more than 53km of mountain bike tracks, Naseby Forest is a mountain biker’s mecca and the location for Mountain Bike Otago’s 12 hour race. Other events include the Great Naseby Water Race, orienteering events and a 200km ultra marathon.
We are delighted to be the guardians of such a beautiful and very special forest.