Forest Pools Reserve on the edge of Puketi Forest is having a facelift.
More than 250 eco-sourced plants, grown by Kerikeri Shadehouse Volunteers, were planted by 35 willing planters from Okaihau Primary, Okaihau College Environmental Studies group, local residents, Puketi Forest Weedbusters and Department of Conservation (DOC) staff at the beginning of July.
Okaihau Primary School and Okaihau College students, Puketi Forest Trust volunteers, DOC staff and local residents at the Forest Pools planting day
Dan O'Halloran, DOC Services Ranger explains that local resident and honorary Forest Pools caretaker Ian Beaver suggested the planting.
"The part of the Forest Pools area chosen for the planting is low lying, becomes muddy and cars get stuck there easily. DOC no longer mows the area regularly and decided, with local support, that it was best to return the area to forest. Having a planting bee was also a great way to help locals become more involved in caring for the site," says Dan.
It was an exciting day according to Dan. "I feel pretty stoked. The rain started while we were planting but everyone just kept on going and the planting was all done in just under an hour. Everyone got wet but no one complained. We're all looking forward to doing it again next year, but we will try and pick a better day for it!"
A variety of native plants from the local area were planted, from the common species manuka and ti kouka (cabbage tree) to the less common, putaputaweta and heketara. These eco-sourced plants came from seeds that naturally grow in the Puketi Forest.
The future is looking good for this part of Puketi Forest. Puketi Forest Trust is interested in having more plantings involving the community. Local residents Ian Beaver and Budge Toki will be fencing off the plantings with materials supplied by DOC. These fencings will protect the new forest from any stray cattle or horses.
If you are interested in getting involved, contact Dan O'Halloran, +64 9 4070311 or Ian Beaver, +64 9 401 9313.