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International Student Volunteers—July 9-13

July 17, 2012

This week an all North American team of International Student Volunteers helped out with a variety of projects at CUE Haven.

The team was led by Chantal Whitby from ISV and Ben Sewell from CVNZ.  The team consisted of Ashley, Lauren, Sean and Shoni from the United States and Caroline, Kristina, Michael and Ying from Canada.

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

Despite the great weather we’ve had recently we’ve had a few frosty mornings and the steps to the nursery get very slippery when coated with ice so one of the first tasks was to install wire mesh on the nursery steps and the boardwalk.  The mesh will provide a good grip and make the steps much safer.

The mesh comes in big rolls so it had to be unrolled it and cut it to size. 

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

After finishing the nursery steps they then put the finishing touches on the main boardwalk which a previous group had started.

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

Another task was clearing gorse.  Gorse is a nasty bush that was brought to New Zealand by early English settlers to use as 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.


The team also spent a morning blazing a trail for a new walking track that will be finished this summer.  A grove of memorial trees have been planted around one of the wetland ponds but it is currently difficult for people to get down to the pond to see the trees and to enjoy what will someday be a beautiful, peaceful area. 

The team cleared a path through the existing plantings and benched out a track around the pond.

The rest of the time the team spent time planting revegetation trees to help us meet our planting goal for this season.

In addition to the challenges of working on a restoration project the team had to deal with a power outage for a few hours one evening. Fortunately the BBQ came to the rescue.

But it wasn’t all work.  The group took advantage of some of the sights around CUE Haven and went to Muriwai Beach to watch the sunset one evening, relaxed at the local hot pools on another evening and also enjoyed a night walk on the CUE Haven gully track and saw the glow worms.  Also, Sean put his artistic talents to work and created a clay turtle!

We want to thank team leaders Ben and Chantal and the North American team for their efforts this week.  They planted trees and helped us with gorse control and made an important start on a walking track that will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.  We wish you all best of luck with your studies and future endeavours and hope you will come back to CUE Haven to walk the completed track and see how your trees have grown.


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