Drayton Reserve Volunteers

Drayton Reserve

Report 51, 31 May 2020


Saturday 6th June 2pm … Arbor Day and World Environment Day special Planting Bee … Meet at junction of Main and Avery tracks.

Sunday 14th June 2pm … Meet at Virginia Lane Bridge.

Saturday 27th June 2pm … Meet at junction of Main and Avery tracks.            

We will be planting, mulching and watering seedlings at all Bees.              

Working Bees for July will be Sunday 12th  and Saturday 25th both at  2pm.


We had two normal working bees (under Covid-19 Level2) this month, on Sunday 17th (7 of us ) and Saturday 30th (9 of us including 3 students from MtP School). We also had 2 BNZ staff volunteers for Thursday 28th  organised by David Cox. Work included clearing weeds, and planting, mulching and watering seedlings. Other work during the month included topping up water bins, watering seedlings, clearing weeds and checking traps. Our “Watering Walkers” have also continued this month and are much appreciated, although it has been difficult at times keeping the water bins full! Many thanks to all of you.



After many years hearing that exotic species like radiata pine sequester CO2 better than (“slower growing”) native plants, Lincoln research has discovered the opposite. Native species have been found to store 2.5 times more CO2 in the soil than exotic species. The planting of trees to remove some of the CO2 from the atmosphere should therefore focus on native species. This would also create more habitat for native insects and animals and help some of our biodiversity issues.


Special mention needs to be made of the sterling effort our volunteer Jo Sutherland has put in, cutting hectares of fennel. Jo is not only a contract gardener (so very competent with an electric blade trimmer), but also very dedicated, putting many hours into our project. If you can’t see any fennel, that’s probably where Jo’s been!


This month we only had 34mm rainfall (52 mm last May), and 14mm evapotranspiration (39mm last May) leaving a water surplus of 20mm.  


We have trapped 1 mouse and 1 possum in the Reserve for the month, but 3 mice,  2 rats and 1 possum have been reported as trapped on neighbouring properties. We are still waiting for Council to eliminate the second German wasp nest.


Alarming news in the Press 29/05, that a feral cat caught on Kaitorete Spit by a DOC Ranger, had 17 full skinks in its stomach, thought to be a day’s food.  There is also likely to be similar (although much smaller) losses in skinks, occurring in and around Drayton Reserve from domestic cats (and rats). Geckos appear to have already been wiped out in the Reserve. It is tragic that we allow our native species to be decimated by introduced animals and we ask all our local cat owners to keep their cats inside as much as possible.


It’s not just cats causing problems, but sometimes dogs also. There are still people bringing dogs into the Reserve and not picking up their dog’s poo. There are many volunteers, including children, working in the Reserve, cutting weeds, planting trees etc. and for them to accidentally stand on or kneel on or grab a dog poo, is totally unacceptable. Dog owners are legally required to carry plastic bags with them, so please put the poo in them and take them home to your Red Bin. You should also keep your dog on a lead (this Reserve is not a Dog Park) to reduce wildlife disturbance, upsetting other people, and so that you will always know where your dog is, and what it’s doing. 


We now have 180 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: ecosolutions@xtra.co.nz. Also check out www.draytonreservevolunteers.org.nz.