Each year, we run our planting working bees each Sunday afternoon of May and August, planting in winter allows the plants to establish roots before the drier summer months arrive. This year, we used social media, a new website and emails to attract volunteers, and as a result, we have been rewarded with lots of volunteers showing up to our working bees.
I asked Ross to write a progress report about the planting season for those that came along and helped get trees in the earth and maintain our tracks. The momentum created by the influx of keen volunteers has helped us achieve our goals and Ross said 'it is one of our most productive years!' Ness Patea
August 26 saw the last of our planting sessions for the year, and what a year it has been! We had pledged on the Trees That Count website that we would plant 1,000 trees. Not only did we get 1,200 plants in the ground, but we also increased our range of locally rare and unusual plants. We managed to plant 10 puawhananga (Clematis paniculata) in the main gully next to the Marae carpark. One single specimen of this native vine had been planted in Seed Source Gully, and it flowered for the first time this year.
We also put in another 20 Rewarewa, and on our last planting day we noticed that one planted about 10 years ago has started flowering. Of all the trees that will become one of the emergent species (meaning it will grow taller than the trees that make up the main forest canopy) it is one of the fastest growing. Its flowers provide nectar for birds such as tui and kaka, and it is a preferred nesting tree for kereru. Other emergent species we planted include matai, miro and totara, which all grow much slower than Rewarewa and take a lot longer to start producing fruit for birds.
Once again we have been overwhelmed by the number of volunteers attending our working bees. Not only did we manage to get all the planting done during the winter, but we often finished planting early due to the number of helpers, and also got stuck into trimming vegetation back from track sides. Due to this our track network is constantly improving.
Now that planting has finished, it doesn't mean we are sitting back. We still have a lot of track work to do, with the most important project being the installation of map boards and track name signposts throughout our 5km network of tracks. This will be an ongoing process and may take us well into 2019. But at the end of it, we expect that visitors will find it a lot easier to navigate their way around.
Another project we have on the cards within the next couple of months is to install several seats at viewpoints on the upper slopes.
None of this would have been possible without the help of all those who have volunteered their time. Nga Mihi Nui!