Report 11, 31 January 2017
NEXT WORKING BEE
Meet at the waterfall lookout at 2pm Saturday 25th February. We hope to complete cutting up and mulching the many dead pruned branches along the main track, continue (proper) track pruning and water and weed last years’ seedlings.
---Wear suitable clothes, footware, gloves and sunhat and bring your own tools if you prefer
---If weather is bad the event will be postponed till 4th March 2017
---Refreshments will be provided! Bring your water bottle and a cup for tea.
Now that a new year has started, it is timely to remind ourselves of what our mission is. The native vegetation and wildlife of the Port Hills evolved over hundreds of millions of years. However our ancestors, over a fleeting few hundred years, almost destroyed all of this. Scientists now tell us that the survival of humans on earth will depend in part on retaining a high diversity of other species. In Drayton Reserve, we will be able to bring back a large area of native vegetation and wildlife, thus increasing significantly our local biological diversity and the species known to have successfully evolved in this locality. At the same time we will be creating a valuable permanent resource for conservation, for passive recreation, for education and a link in a biological corridor from sea to summit.
A merry team of 7 turned up on the 28th and tidied up the rough pruning damage and cut up and mulched the old dead branches over the top third of the main track. There was some excitement and satisfaction when a large dead rat was found in one of our traps. We were also treated to some yummy muffins from Barb Bryce.
Another month has passed without any grass cutting along the tracks by Council contractors and the 3 months of growth make it unpleasant, difficult and even dangerous on some sections where you could trip in stalky grasses. The tracks are now scheduled to be cut late February.
Many of our seedlings were wiped out by contractors cutting the firebreaks in December. Council advise that contractors couldn’t see some stakes (long grass) and some had fallen over. Unfortunately seedling damage by contractors often occurs around the City. We will be firming up stakes on remaining seedlings in the firebreaks and adding ribbons for greater visibility. The firebreaks are scheduled to be cut again on the 20th February. It will also help in future if the stakes are consistently close to and on the south side of the seedlings and if we weed around the seedlings a few times.
David Cox and I have continued checking and modifying traps twice a week and since our last report in December we have eradicated a further 2 rats, 2 hedgehogs and 2 mice. Difficulties have included the tunnels over the traps obstructing the spring bars. The change to peanut butter has resulted in more traps being set off but the tunnel problems result in too many pests escaping. We will be contacting the neighbours who want to be involved in trapping this month. A gruesome example of a rat and mouse with a “Mitre 10” trap…….
Thanks to all those people who have “adopted trees” and been regularly watering them. We will need to keep this up on the new seedlings until March, watering at 1-2 week intervals to keep soil moist down in their rooting zone. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.