A team of 50 people including students and teachers from Taipa Area School planted around 1000 native trees and shrubs at Kate's Bush, near Taipa as part of Arbor Day celebrations on 5 June 2014.
Newly appointed Northland Conservation Board member Mike Finlayson said, "The Board applauds the ongoing efforts and achievements of communities working together to protect and enhance our natural environment. Community-driven projects like this can be highly productive and accomplish excellent long-term conservation outcomes."
Students learning sucessful planting techniques from Northland Conservation Board member Mike Finlayson
"Protecting and enhancing Northland's freshwater ecosystems is high on the agenda for the Northland Conservation Board. Riparian zones such as Kate's Bush are vital to our water quality and they provide essential habitat for native wildlife. The Board encourages people to get involved in riparian restoration initiatives and provides support and advice where possible."
"This restoration project is a brilliant example of the new direction the Department of Conservation (DOC) has taken - fostering positive community engagement in protecting and growing conservation values."
Taipa Area School teacher Dwayne Walsh said some of the students would likely return to the property in the future to carry out pest control as part of a school project.
The event was a partnership between the landowner, iwi, Taipa Area School, community groups, Northtec horticulture class, DOC and the Northland Regional Council.
Background information and comments from organisers and participants
Charles Adamson, whose family have owned the property on which the restoration is taking place for four generations, thanked all those involved who worked that day to make it such a success. He explained' "It was very common in the past, especially in the 1950s and 60s, to cut down all the trees, even from extremely marginal land, to graze stock. This created a type of 'wasteland' lacking indigenous biodiversity. What was happening here today is reversing that process." Mr Adamson invited the children to come back in the future to see how the trees have grown and to recognise the impact of their effort today.
Trudy Crerar, from local environment group Cleanwaters to the Sea, said their group was happy to help drive wetland restoration projects like this in Tokarau. She explained the value in planting riparian strips, "It enables the plants to filter out nutrients flowing off nearby farmland and preventing the nutrients entering the water ways. By cleaning the waters entering the Otengi estuary, we are helping restore the marine environment as well as providing a habitat for native birds in the emerging forest."
Dwayne Walsh, a science and mathematics teacher from Taipa Area School, who lead year 12 and 13 students in the planting, was keen to come back with students to do possum and mustelid control. "The work would further enhance the area as a wildlife sanctuary and would be part of the students' formal qualifications where they would plan, implement, and evaluate an environmental project."