Report 30, 31 August 2018
Next Working Bees
Sunday 16th September, 9am and Saturday 29th September 9am. Meet at the (upper) Waterfall Lookout for both working bees. We will be clearing and watering new seedlings.
- Wear suitable clothes, footwear, gloves and hat and bring your own tools if you prefer.
- Bring a full water bottle and biscuits will be supplied.
Working Bees for October will be Sunday 14th and Saturday 27th (9-11am).
We had two normal working bees this month, with 7 of us on Sunday 12th (including 1 student) and 13 of us on Saturday 25th (including 4 students). We also had five extra planting days on Wednesday 1st (2 of us), Saturday 4th (11 of us including 3 students), Friday 10th (6 of us including 4 students), Wednesday 15th ( 7 of us including 5 students) and Wednesday 22nd (3 of us). Our work included weeding, mulching, staking and watering seedlings and planting the remaining 260 seedlings, bringing the total for the season to 975. Thanks to all involved for such a great achievement for our local community. Thanks also to Di Cowan for growing some of the seedlings and to Barb for all the biscuits!
We have planted 30 NZ Myrtle (Rohutu, Lophomyrtus obcordata) this year (we only knew of one existing specimen in the Reserve). These are part of the Myrtle family and therefore vulnerable to “Myrtle Rust” if it ever comes our way ( as are our Kanuka of which we have hundreds). The Rohutu is a coastal species and grows slowly to about 3m in height. It has small green heart-shaped (that’s what obcordata means) leaves and fluffy white flowers in summer. The existing tree is about half-way along the track from Drayton Drive on the downhill side and was a mass of flowers last summer.
The tally of animal pests eliminated in August was 1 possum, 2 rats and 2 mice. That is 3 fewer possums and one more rat than this month last year, a continuing reduction overall, which is encouraging.
Soil moisture has started dropping this month with only about 30mm of rain but 45mm of evapotranspiration (due to increased light levels and average temperature). Our latest seedlings still need to get their roots down below the grass roots to avoid being out-competed for moisture over the summer. We may need to start watering later this month.
Several students, especially from Mt Pleasant School, have swelled our volunteer numbers this year, contributing significantly to our work, providing a good balance for the “oldies” involved and making our project feel more like a total community effort. We welcome people of all ages (I’m not allowed to say the age of our oldest worker…but it’s a high number!). One group of students from Mt Pleasant School has been doing a project on “Saving Our Native Birds” and also helping plant more trees in the Reserve as a way of saving native birds. You will be able to see this at the School Exhibition soon at Mt Pleasant Community Centre, but you can also look at their website https://sites.google.com/magic.school.nz.
An attraction in the Reserve for children is the Bear Cave (beside the Main valley floor track between the junctions of the track from Avery Place and the track from Drayton Drive). This was started by unknown children after the earthquakes and has steadily accumulated bears and other soft toys since. It's becoming a popular destination for family outings, and a practical walk for 5 year olds.
We have 139 supporters on our email list and look forward to having more volunteers join us for a chat and helping hand on our future working bees. You are sure to find it very satisfying, planting and caring for native trees and wildlife and restoring the Reserve to its former glory, especially for the local community.
If you want to volunteer any time or resources to this long-term community project, contact Dave Bryce 021363498 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.