Drayton Reserve Volunteers

Drayton Reserve

Report 12, 28 February 2017


Sunday 12th March 2pm at Avery Place…we will weed, mulch and water seedlings planted last year… and …

Saturday 25th March 2pm at Waterfall Lookout …we will weed, mulch and water seedlings planted last year, clear cut-off drains along the main track and start clearing woody weeds in the rock outcrops for later planting.

 ---Wear suitable clothes, footwear, gloves and sunhat and bring your own tools if you prefer

---If weather is bad the event will be postponed till following week

---Refreshments will be provided!  Bring your water bottle and a cup for tea.


Our thoughts will be with the many people who have suffered as a result of the loss of life, homes, livelihoods, belongings, animals and plants from the recent terrible fires on the Port Hills. There was also much destruction of native forest and seedlings representing considerable  time and dedication of Council staff and volunteers like us. Di Carter of the Council has reported that of the 55,500 trees planted since the year 2,000, about 6,500 have been lost to fire. Plans are already underway however to restore and replant the damaged areas.

There will be much to learn from this disaster and we will be looking at improvements to our firebreaks, increased vigilance regarding potential fire sources, reduction of the more flammable exotic plants and increasing the water holding capacity of the stream with ponds and shading.                    


We had many apologies for the working bee on the 25th due to conflicting events, but the 5 who turned up (Jude, John, Di, Shona et moi) still made a significant impact, mulching old prunings and watering (thus potentially “saving”) about 100 seedlings. There were yummy muffins from Barb again…more than we could eat…so come along next time! Oh, and Steve was working hard on his section and clearing and watering some of our seedlings adjoining it, and David Cox did more blackberry clearing the day before, so that makes 7!  We were also missing our “watering warrior”, Prue, who rolled her ankle last week on the track, resulting in a fracture and a moon-boot for the next month or so. Best wishes for a complete recovery.


The native locusts are on the wing again in the Reserve. You may see them fly up in front of you especially on the hot grassy slopes (refer to Report 5).


You will all be pleased to see that the tracks got cut this month at long last. We will need to clear out the cut-off drains before the autumn rains and please feel free to cut or rip out any fennel plants which have been missed alongside the tracks.          


Many of you will understandably be unable to help with the physical work on this project. However there are many other ways in which you could make a valuable contribution including website and data management, mapping, donations, baking!  research and sign-making. Please email or call me if you are interested in such opportunities.

One important need at the moment is a reliable supply of seedlings or funds for seedlings. We have ordered 500 tall species trees from the City Council, applied for 300 small species from the Regional Council and hope we might be able to get some more seedlings donated by Trees For Canterbury as happened last year. Unfortunately none of these sources are guaranteed and with the recent fires there will be much more demand for seedlings. We have talked to Trees  For Canterbury (a Social Enterprise and Registered Charity) which can supply us with the right species and from locally sourced seed. They are willing to receive donations from the public (we cannot as we are not incorporated) and supply us with the equivalent in plants and at a discounted rate. If you would like to help in this way please email or call me or Steve at Trees For Canterbury 982 1028.


Some of you have difficulty helping on Saturdays because of other commitments, so we will trial some Sunday working bees starting this month to see what level of support we get. We hope you will welcome this opportunity and enjoy the experience.


David Cox and I have continued checking and modifying traps twice a week and four neighbours have now joined the effort. The tally for February is 4 possums, 1 rat, 2 hedgehogs and 7 mice.


Thanks to all those people who have “adopted trees” and  been regularly watering them. We will need to keep this up for just another month. We hope that other people walking in the Reserve will “adopt a tree” (or several trees!) and water it/them from their drink bottles as they pass. Tie your own cotton tag on it/them to let others know it/those are being taken care of. The trees and all of us will appreciate it!


We have over 70 supporters on our email list now and look forward to having more volunteers join us for a chat and helping hand on our future working bees. Like us, you will 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: ecosolutions@xtra.co.nz.