Australian nature lovers Jackie and Robert Van Dam visited Rotorua Canopy Tours in February 2018 and after going on an experience of a lifetime, generously donated to our Canopy Tours Conservation Trust. Conservation is a huge part of what we’re all about at Rotorua Canopy Tours, but we were absolutely blown away when Jackie and Robert told us they were keen to help us do more. So, what encouraged them to donate to our Canopy Tours conservation programme?
When Jackie and Robert visited Rotorua while holidaying in New Zealand, they didn’t have any set plans. Adventure seeker Robert had already been canoeing and white-water rafting, but Jackie was scared of heights, so wasn’t as keen on some of the adrenaline activities Rotorua offers.
When they came across a Rotorua Canopy Tours brochure, they found the perfect activity to do together. The Original Canopy Tour was a great middle ground with enough adventure to keep Robert entertained while not pushing Jackie’s limits too far. The couple try to maintain an environmentally friendly lifestyle so were both keen to explore a beautiful native forest that would leave minimal impact on the environment.
Photo: Jackie and Robert with Guides Dan and Tom
Jackie and Roberts experience on tour
When they arrived at Rotorua Canopy Tours HQ, Robert was racing to go but Jackie still had a few mixed feelings with her fear of heights. Luckily for Jackie she was in great hands with our two tour guides Tom and Dan – they gave Jackie just the bit of encouragement she needed. "Tom held my hand when needed and gave me lots of encouragement. Dan told cheesy jokes and entertained the crowd. He also did a great job of catching us at the other end which was quite important. They were both wonderful,” said Jackie.
Jackie and Robert had an experience of a lifetime flying through the canopy and loved all the knowledge our guides Tom and Dan shared with them throughout the tour. "The best things was not only their knowledge of the zip lines and keeping everyone absolutely safe, but also their knowledge of the work you are doing to try to restore the forest and encourage wildlife to return. New Zealand is an amazing country.”
Photo: Guests on tour learning about our conservation work at Rotorua Canopy Tours
The reason behind the donation
After three hours of having a blast soaring through the canopy and hearing about the impact our Canopy Tours conservation programme was having, Jackie and Robert wanted to do more. They had learnt all about the devastating impact pests were having on our forest, destroying the plant life and killing the native animals that called our forest home. They also learnt about our Canopy Tours conservation programme and the massive positive impact we were having on bringing this forest back to life since 2012.
Jackie and Robert were keen to help us continue restoring our beautiful forest and decided to donate $2,000 to the Canopy Tours Conservation Trust. While they haven’t had anything to do with organised conservation in the past, they do the most they can in day to day life. "We decided to donate to the conservation fund because they are doing an absolutely essential job in an inventive way and getting results. We hope the modest donation we made to the Canopy Tours Conservation Trust has helped to kill a few more vermin.”
Photo: A Rotorua Canopy Tours guide resetting a rat trap in the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve
Restoring the forest
Their $2,000 donation to the Canopy Tours Conservation Trust has definitely helped kill more than a few pests, so we cannot help but acknowledge their generosity! Donations like these go a long way to ensuring we can continue our conservation work and make a real impact creating a forest eco sanctuary for our native species to thrive. Our long-term goal is to completely restore the forest back to pre-human existence and have it 100% pest free, but we can’t do it alone. Jackie and Robert's amazing donation to Canopy Tours conservation helps us to continue to share this magical forest with visitors and do our bit for New Zealand’s predator free 2050 goal.