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International Student Volunteers—June 18-21, 2012

June 22, 2012

An enthusiastic group of International Student Volunteers spent Monday through Thursday with us and helped out with the CUE Haven planting efforts and some other challenging tasks.

The ISV team was led by Chantal Whitby with the assistance of Dawn Gasparro of Conservation Volunteers NZ. The team consisted of Roy, Jolene, Ellen, Randi, and Steven from the United States and Michelle and Rosalie from Canada.

The group arrived on Monday morning and after introductions, an orientation and lunch, they went straight to work.

The first task the group tackled was to nail wire mesh to the boardwalks we had built over the summer.  The boardwalks are fine during dry weather but during the wet winter months they can get slippery.  The mesh will provide a good grip for hikers.

The mesh comes in big rolls so the first thing we had to do was unroll it and cut it to size. 

 Then everyone got a supply of staples and we nailed the mesh into place.

 There were three boardwalks to do and we had to carry the materials from one to the next.

 The team quickly worked out a strategy and with lots of cooperation made good progress:

Thanks to the team’s efforts the boardwalks will now be safe to walk on even in wet weather.

Another task the team took on was to cut gorse.  Gorse is a nasty bush that was brought to New Zealand by English settlers.  It made sense at the time because gorse is a natural fence.  It is a dense, woody, prickly bush and no animal in its right mind will try to get through a stand of gorse. But for us it is a noxious weed that will spread rapidly and cover the areas we want to plant with New Zealand native trees. The team went to work on a big stand of gorse and got rid of a good bit of it.

You wear special gloves and long handled loppers when you attack gorse.

Sometimes the gorse fought back, but the team was up to the challenge:

 The team spent the rest of their time planting and extended out this year’s planting area. 

 The weather cooperated for the most part, and the few showers that passed through from time to time usually left a rainbow.



The team also took some time out to plant memorial kahikatea trees in the wetlands for departed loved ones.

And celebrated Michelle’s birthday with a chocolate cake!

We really enjoyed working with the team.  They were committed and dedicated and a lot of fun as well.  We hope you will come back to see us and CUE Haven in the coming years to say hello and to see how your trees are doing.  Thanks for all your hard work!


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