International Student Volunteers—July 2-10, 2015
International Student Volunteers is a US based organisation which gives young people the opportunity to combine volunteering with adventure travel. ISV operates tours in six countries, including New Zealand. The focus is on conservation and learning about environmental sustainability and over 310 universities around the world recognize ISV projects for academic credit. This is the second time this year a group of ISV students visited CUE Haven.
The team included Andrea, Claire, Halle, Jordan, Justin, and Sophie. Evan Cameron of ISV NZ was the local team leader.
The team had arrived in NZ the previous week and had been working at Mataia, our neighbour’s down the road. They arrived at CUE Haven on Friday morning and we gave them an overview of the CUE Haven project and a description of the planned activities for the week.
We also took them on a tour of the property and encouraged them to explore in their free time.
The team spent Friday afternoon relaxing at the nearby hot pools and on Saturday visited a regional park and local beaches. Sunday they spent at a family and friends planting day at Mataia.
The team started work at CUE Haven on Monday morning. Because we are in the middle of our winter planting season, the main task for the week was planting and the team made a huge contribution to our planting efforts.
We gave the students an explanation of the types of trees we are planting and why some plants do better in different areas so that they could see how their work contributed to the restoration effort.
Over the course of the week the team planted in a variety of terrains. From open paddocks and boggy wetland areas:
To revegetating bush to do infill planting of canopy trees:
But the team smilingly handled all of these challenges well and made great progress.
In addition to planting, the group helped out with maintaining the tracks and fences by cutting away overhanging vegetation. It gave the students a chance to see more of the property and to explore some of the more mature bush.
The last task the team helped us with was some boardwalk remediation. Heavy rains over the past few weeks had made sections of the boardwalk, that had been boxed in but not boarded over, difficult to walk on and we’ve decided that the best solution is to plank over those areas and to incorporate them into the boardwalk.
It was challenging work because each section was different and customised solutions had to be developed for each area.
The first challenge involved a lot of digging in the compacted clay to install the support beams for the planks.
Once the framing was in place and level, the next task was to nail down the top planks. Because each box frame follows the contours of the land and the turns in the boardwalk, not all of the sections are square and the challenge is to cut the boards to neatly cover the area.
The last step is to nail down wire mesh over the boards to prevent them from being slippery in wet weather.
Although the clay was slippery to walk on and difficult to dig in the artists in the group found it was perfect for doing art work!
The team accomplished a lot of work in often difficult conditions—it was a cold and wet week! But it wasn’t all hard work. The team enjoyed some good cooking:
Took some well earned rests:
And enjoyed Justin’s ukulele playing:
Before the team left on Friday morning we celebrated an early birthday for Halle with a New Zealand Pavlova as a birthday cake.
A sweet ending to a wonderful week.
We’d like to thank Evan for his great work as a team leader this week and bringing the group together as a team.
And a big thank you to all the team members for their hard work and efforts! We enjoyed meeting and working with you all and really appreciate the major contribution you have made to the CUE Haven restoration project. We asked you to get out of your comfort zones and face some new and different challenges and you came through it smiling. Thank you very much. We wish you all the best in your future studies and endeavours and hope you will come back to CUE Haven to see how your trees have grown and to take a stroll on the boardwalk.