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SFS Centre for Rainforest Studies—16 & 18 June 2015

June 19, 2015

The School for Field Studies (SFS) is a US-based global organisation providing ecology students with overseas study opportunities.  The SFS Centre for Rainforest Studies, based in Australia, provides a programme of study that includes a visit to New Zealand during which the students learn about New Zealand’s temperate rain forests.

For the second year in a row, the students’ New Zealand trip included a visit to CUE Haven and Mataia, our neighbours across the road.

The group convened at CUE Haven on Tuesday morning and included students Annie, Blair, Brandon, Casey, Courtney, Doi Teng, Doug, Ema, Jacqueline, Jessica, Katie, Liz, Maddie, Maria, Mary, Molly, Nicole F, Nicole S, Sarah and Zac.  In addition to the students, joining us were Amanda Freeman, SFS Centre Director, Sigrid Heise-Pavlov, Professor of Rainforest Ecology, Catherin Pohlman, Lecturer in Rainforest Management, SFS Student Affairs Managers Drew and Simone and Programme Interns Carina and Kylie.

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We started out by meeting up over morning tea and then we gave the group an introduction to the CUE Haven project and described the work they would be doing during their stay.

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Thomas then took the group for a short walk around the property and explained the restoration plan and demonstrated how it is being implemented in both the wetlands and other areas of the property.  He also explained our pest and weed control procedures and pointed out tracking tunnels, bait boxes and traps.

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The group then headed to Mataia to explore more mature native inland and coastal bush, and learn about the Northland kiwi released on the property. The following day the team spent the day planting pioneer trees in the wetlands as part of the Mataia Restoration Project.

On Thursday the group returned to CUE Haven and spent the morning assisting us with our infill planting of canopy trees.  We planted karaka, kauri, pigeonwood, puriri, totara, rewarewa and rimu, in amongst the pioneer manuka, kanuka, karamu and mahoe trees we had planted in 2010-2011.  Those pioneer trees have now grown up sufficiently to provide protection for the longer lived, slower growing canopy trees.

It was challenging planting because the trees have to be planted 5-10 metres apart in little clearings in the growing pioneer bush.

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The area to be covered was huge and although the plants had been brought up to the site it was necessary to distribute them evenly throughout the area.

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The spot where each tree was planted was marked with a bamboo stake so that we can later find the trees for weeding purposes and to check on their progress.

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While enjoying a mid-morning snack in the field:

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the students encountered a unique New Zealand stick insect ….

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The tree planting was hard work, but the team kept smiling and worked on until all the trees were planted!

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Even though they had to get into some tight spots in the bush.

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The weather was perfect and team coped very well with the various challenges.  They had a good time and in just a few hours managed to plant 275 long living canopy trees.  Well done!

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We want to thank Amanda for arranging the visit and making sure everything went smoothly.  We very much enjoy having SFS students and staff at CUE Haven and value our relationship with SFS.

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And we also want to thank all the SFS staff for helping out with organisation and for helping us work with the students to make sure they got the most value from their time at CUE Haven.

And a very big thank you to the students.  We really enjoyed meeting all of you and working with you. We appreciated your enthusiasm and interest in the CUE Haven Restoration Project and were impressed with the questions you asked about NZ native flora and fauna.

You have all made a major contribution not only to the CUE Haven restoration project but also to our planet.  The canopy trees you planted will outlive us all and will provide food and shelter for a variety of plant and bird life over the years and the growing native forest will provide enjoyment to generations of visitors. THANK YOU!!

We wish you all the best for your continued studies and future success and we hope you will keep in touch and come back to see the progress at CUE Haven and enjoy the growing native reserve.

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