International Student Volunteers—January 16-21, 2012
This week another group of International Student Volunteers visited CUE Haven and helped us move the gully walking track a little closer to completion. They also helped with weed releasing, potting up seedlings in the nursery and spreading mulch. They accomplished a lot in spite of hot and dry weather.
The ISV team was led by Liana Middeldorp of ISV with the assistance of John Busson of Conservation Volunteers NZ. It was an all Australian team and consisted of Victoria, Aimee, Yi-Hsuan, Charlotte, Erin, Annika, and Callum. Nikki Cameron, NZ Country Director of ISV also joined us on Friday.
The group arrived on Monday morning and after an orientation and lunch they went to work weed releasing in some of the areas where we had planted this past winter. It was a good opportunity for them to learn about New Zealand native vegetation (and how to differentiate small trees from weeds).
That afternoon we all had a new experience. Later in the day while exploring the walking track where they would be working the next day, they found an Australasian Harrier laying in the grass. The poor bird had broken its wing and was extremely distressed. John, who has considerable field experience with wildlife picked up the bird and wrapped it in his jacket and brought it down to the nursery.
Liana called around and found a bird rescue location and we took the bird in for treatment. It was very weak and frightened at first but the team gave it some food and water for the journey and by the time we got to the vet in the city it had perked up:
In addition to weeding, the team also helped in the nursery. They potted up seedlings that had grown from seeds we had harvested from our mature bush last year. The seedlings were in seed tubes and were ready to be put into larger containers so that they have room to grow until they are ready to be planted in the field either this year or next year.
After the potting session, John gave a short talk about animal pest control and demonstrated the operation of a DoC 200 trap which we use to control rats, stoats and weasels who feed on eggs and chicks of the native birds.
Later that afternoon, we took a trip out to Scrub Growers, the nursery who supply our native trees for planting. The team met the staff and learned about the functioning of a large commercial nursery. Victoria took the opportunity to try out the automated planting machine.
The team spent most of their time working on the walking track and made major progress. They extended the track almost to the end and built fifteen new steps and framed in twelve steps that had previously been cut out. We are very happy with the way the track is taking shape.
Because they were an all-Australian group, the team was used to encountering dangerous creatures in the bush at home. But in New Zealand, the most dangerous thing Erin found was an earthworm:
During the week, our friend Yoshimi came out to help with weed releasing. Yoshimi had come out to do planting last winter with CVNZ and has since become a good friend of CUE Haven.
In addition to their hard work on the walking track the team also spread mulch in some of the landscaped area around the nursery and cottage. The mulch was generously provided by Treescape.
On Friday the team spent the morning working on the walking track but before they left they took time to sing Happy Birthday to Annika and celebrate with a NZ pavlova.
We want to thank the team for their hard work and contributions during the week. We hope you will visit us again to check out the completed tracks.
Also, a big thank you Liana and Nikki for leading the ISV team and a special thanks to John for his hard work and assistance.
A special thank you to Yoshimi and Treescape for their continued support of our efforts at CUE Haven.