Report 46, 31 December 2019
NEXT WORKING BEES
Sunday 12th Jan 9am .... Meet at the Virginia Lane bridge…and
Saturday 25th Jan 9am … Meet at junction of Main and Avery tracks …
We will be weeding, mulching and watering seedlings at both Bees.
We will also continue to have extra sessions at 9am on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout Jan to catch up with weeding, mulching and watering seedlings.
Working Bees for February will be Sunday 9th and Saturday 29th both at 9am.
We had two normal working bees this month, on Sunday 15th (2 of us) and Saturday 21st (5of us). We also had extra bees on 4th, 7th , 11thand 14th (7 of us total), clearing, mulching and watering seedlings. Other work included clearing weeds and checking traps. Thanks to those involved, to those who have also worked on other days and to Barb for biscuits. Volunteer numbers have been very low for the last 3 months which has meant more time required for the willing and many seedlings neglected and dying. Lets hope that next year there will be more enthusiasm for feeling great while at the same time restoring native biodiversity.
THE RESERVE AND FIRE SAFETY
As the soils and grasses dry out, the risk of fire both to and from the Reserve will increase. While there are now many large and small native trees, there are still significant areas of dry grasses which will be the most flammable. Care needs to be taken on neighbouring properties, in the use of petrol powered tools or any activities likely to generate sparks. Hoses should be at hand, ready to use if needed. Within the reserve nobody should smoke or carry lighters. A fire in the Reserve could result in extensive destruction of plants and wildlife and would be devastating for those who have planted and cared for the area. Everyone will remember the shocking photos of property affected by the recent Port Hills Fires. We don’t want that to happen in our Reserve.
Neither do we want any fire to affect our neighbours. Residents are protected to a certain extent by firebreaks in the Reserve, cut periodically by Council contractors, where grass areas adjoin occupied properties. Our planting also aims to have leafy less flammable species near adjoining properties and big weeds are cut up and squashed to the ground to rot (rather than be left “high and dry”and flammable). Residents can get further information on protecting themselves from potential fire at www.fireandemergency.nz.
This month we had 26mm rainfall (80 mm last Dec) and 120mm evapotranspiration (102mm last Dec). This means that seedlings need another 94mm of water (on top of the 72mm shortage at the start of the month) . We end the year about 50mm down on the average annual rainfall.
We need to be regularly watering seedlings with 25mm (500ml) each week, but some have still not had any at all (instead of the 166mm needed since soil moisture started dropping). There are 6 water stations in the areas where seedlings have been planted in the last two years and these will be regularly topped up for your use as follows:
Adopt a Tree scheme:
Could you please adopt about 6 plants each, tie your own cotton ribbons on their stakes so you can easily find them and try to give them about 500ml of water each week (can do 6 seedlings with 3L). There will be several 3L milk bottles at water bins, the stream pond above the Waterfall Lookout and where the track meets the stream below the waterfall. Also, the generous neighbour below the Craigieburn entrance has installed a tap beside the track for your use. Leave your empty bottles at any of these places.
One of our water bins and bottles
We have only trapped 2 mice in the Reserve for the month, but 2 mice, 1 hedgehog and 1 possum have been trapped on neighbouring properties and weasels have been seen in the area. We have disposed of several Asian Paper Wasps and nests.
Please keep cutting flowers and seeds off weeds to avoid them spreading.
We have 175 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. Also check out www.draytonreservevolunteers.org.nz