Gen-i/Telecom New Zealand—8 February 2013
A hard working group from Gen-i and Telecom NZ visited CUE Haven for a fun and productive day of track building.
Gen-i, part of Telecom New Zealand, is New Zealand’s leading IT and ICT solutions provider. As part of its programme of ‘catalytic philanthropy,’ the Telecom Foundation provides each Telecom employee with a Volunteer Day on which they can do work to support an organisation of their choice. A group wanting to work on an ecological community project approached the local New Zealand Department of Conservation office to obtain a list of environmental projects in our area and CUE Haven was one of the projects on the list.
Steve Jessop, Technology Operations Manager at Gen-i, championed the CUE Haven project and twenty-three people chose to come to CUE Haven to help out for a day — Bryan, Carl, Christopher, Craig, Dale, Dean, Dion, Emma, Harm, James H., James S., Jou, Marcella, Melisa, Neil, Paul, Quintin, Ravi, Ray, Sharif, Simon, Steve and Vict.
The group arrived at about nine and after morning tea, we gave them a briefing on CUE Haven, the planned work for the day and safety procedures.
For some time, we have been planning to put a walking track around one of the ponds where a number of memorial trees have been planted. We had previously sprayed out the route of the path and the plan for the day was for the team to start clearing the vegetation away and smooth out the surface to form the track.
After the briefing, we took the team on a walk through the property along existing walking tracks. The purpose of the walk was both to give the group a better idea of what’s happening at CUE Haven, and to give them a chance to see a completed track and the kinds of tasks involved in track building.
Once we got to the start point of the new track, Tom gave a brief demo on the work to be done and the team quickly spread out and went to work.
The first task was clearing away vegetation:
Once the vegetation had been cleared away, we could study how the track surface would look. The team then levelled out sections to keep the track surface as flat as possible.
Because most of the track circles a pond whose size varies by season, we had to plan for seasonal water flows and ensure that the track would drain properly. The team put in culvert pipes where necessary.
Other team members had a look at the grade of the track and started to cut steps to make it easier for people to negotiate the slopes.
And the hard working team even took their breaks in the field — We want to thank Nestle NZ who provided much appreciated Nestea iced peach tea for the team.
It quickly became clear that this was no ordinary team and by lunch, they had already accomplished as much as we had expected them to do all day!
The team broke for lunch shortly after noon and spent some time relaxing.
And being telecommunications professionals, they couldn’t resist checking our claim that we don’t get cell phone coverage:
At lunch we also spent a few minutes planning the afternoon work. We broke the team into four groups. One would work on boxing up the steps, a second would get a start on the bridge, the third would move up to start the new track and the fourth would work on covering the finished portions of the track with gravel.
Finishing off the steps involves shaping them and then putting in a plank of wood to protect the riser and hold the step in position. The plank is held in place by two stakes. Pounding the stakes into the hard clay can be a challenge.
The pond that the track circles is fed by a seasonal stream and even in summer the area is boggy. The team decided that a boardwalk over the area was the best way to make the track usable year round. After determining where the boardwalk should be positioned, it was first necessary to dig holes for the posts we would use as footers.
We then had to plan how to install the footers, which need to placed in concrete to keep the boardwalk secure. We found some old fence posts and gathered up the necessary materials.
The team then mixed the cement in the field and installed the footers.
Once the concrete dries fully, we will continue to finish off the boardwalk.
The third group headed up to the top of the property to start a new track. We have been building a network of tracks on the property and wanted to link an existing track to the main road. The area hadn’t been prepared or sprayed, but the team took up the challenge and very quickly finished it off.
The last group worked on laying down gravel on the track. This will make the track safer for people to use, especially in winter. The challenge was that the gravel pile was down by the nursery, almost half a kilometre from the track site. We stationed a team down by the pile to fill up the 10 litre buckets generously provided by Resene Paints.
The buckets were then loaded onto the truck:
And taken up to the start of the track where they were unloaded by other team members who then spread the gravel along the track.
It’s hard to believe that in just about 6 hours, this:
Turned into this:
A big thank you to Steve for his efforts in getting together a great team for the day.
And our many thanks to the team – Thank you all very much. It was a pleasure working with all of you.
In addition to what we accomplished and the fun we had, it was inspiring to watch the team in action. In all, they built 147 metres of walking track with 28 steps, installed two culverts and dug post holes and set posts for a bridge on the track. It was great to work with a team willing to work together to make a lasting contribution to the environment by getting outside of their comfort zones to create something that will be enjoyed by the wider community for many years to come.
Thanks again! We look forward to seeing you all back at CUE Haven soon.