Unitec Ecology Students Visit CUE Haven and Mataia—15 August 2014
Every year since 2010, Mel Galbraith, senior lecturer in ecology at Unitec has brought out a group of final year ecology students to CUE Haven so that they can experience a restoration project in process. And since 2013, the field trip has included a visit to our neighbours at the Mataia Restoration Project so that the students can experience a slightly more mature project and also learn about the Northland brown kiwi released there in 2013 and 2014.
Accompanying Mel today were his colleagues Dan Blanchon and Angela Dale, who have come out to CUE Haven in prior years and their students Andrew, Dyllan, Julia, Julie, Meihana, Nicola, Olivia, Shanti and Vijay.
We also had the pleasure today of having a team from North Tec in Whangarei join us. Ecology tutor Ben Barr brought along his students Ashlee, Bevan, Nina and Tyler who are in their final year of a degree in Applied Science (Biodiversity Management).
Our neighbours Gill and Kevin Adshead from Mataia, and the Unitec and North Tec teams arrived about 10 am and we got acquainted over morning tea.
Mel then gave a brief welcome and described the objectives for the day.
And we then gave a brief overview of the history the CUE Haven restoration project and discussed some of our priorities, challenges and plans for the future.
Before heading out to tour the property we asked the group to disinfect their shoes and boots as we continue to be concerned about kauri dieback disease,
We then drove the group up to the top of the property and walked down via the gully walking track and wetlands boardwalk.
We started in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Grove and the group had a look at the artwork the DoEHA participants have been working on.
And Mel “chaired” the group!
As they walked through the bush, the students had a chance to see the different phases of the restoration project and some of our weed and pest control activities. The students had lots of good questions and we had some excellent discussions.
Dan pointed out some interesting moss.
And the students learned to differentiate between a manuka and kanuka tree.
And Ben found a stick insect living in a manuka tree.
The group finished up their tour via the wetlands boardwalk.
After the walk we all had a quick lunch and then Gill and Kevin gave a briefing about the Mataia property, the restoration project and their kiwi releases.
The group then took the short ride over to Mataia and took a walk through part of the property where the students had a chance to see the more mature revegetation work and learn about the extensive pest control efforts being done to protect the kiwi.
Gill and Kevin also explained that several of the kiwis are fitted with tracking devices. They demonstrated the telemetry devices for tracking the whereabouts of individual kiwis and gave the students a chance to try out the equipment.
We then met up at the beautiful Mataia homestead for afternoon tea and a debriefing on the day’s activities.
Despite the erratic weather we had a fantastic day with the Unitec and North Tec group. We learn a lot from these visits and are always impressed with the enthusiasm and varied interests and knowledge of the students and staff.
We want to thank Mel for his continued support and for organising the visit. And many thanks to Angela, Ben and Dan and their students for taking the time to come out and for their interest in our projects.
We wish you all the very best in your endeavours and we hope you will all come back to visit us again soon!