Working Holiday—3-10 August 2015
Cécilia Mélé and Jérôme Joanny are environmental engineers from Paris, France. They have taken a one year sabbatical from their jobs and are travelling and doing volunteer work at various conservation projects throughout New Zealand.
They contacted us earlier in the year through the Department of Conservation and we agreed that they would spend a week with us learning about the CUE Haven restoration project and helping out with some projects.
They arrived on Monday afternoon and we took some time to get acquainted and give them a tour of the project. We provided them with a list of the projects they could assist with.
We were especially keen to use Cécilia & Jérôme’s environmental engineering skills to lay out the route for a walking track from the top of the property down to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Grove. The track will traverse a steep area which is crisscrossed by streams and which will be planted in 2016.
Jérôme and Cécilia found an interesting route which minimises the need for steps and bridges and they marked out the area with stakes and tags.
A section of the future track:
And here is where it will join up with the existing tracks:
They also tackled a shorter but more challenging track planning project. The wetlands boardwalk can currently be accessed from three points around the property but it is necessary to walk a distance to reach any of those points. Because many people use the boardwalk to plant memorial trees, we have been wanting to build an entrance near the nursery. The area is very wet and steep and Cécilia and Jérôme found and interesting and picturesque way down and again marked it with stakes and flags.
We plan to have our volunteers start construction on both the boardwalk extension and the track at the top of the property this summer.
Cécilia and Jérôme also spent some time planting a couple hundred native trees as part of our revegetation planting this season.
They also pruned the fruit trees in the orchard and weeded and cleared the path.
We also had some rainy day jobs—cleaning up the garage and the nursery and they did a great job!
Straightening up the nursery was a huge challenge. We have been using it as a nursery, carpentry shop and equipment store and have really never taken the time to organise everything. Jérôme and Cécilia did take the time and totally transformed the nursery and storeroom.
They built racks and sorted out all the tools and equipment and put everything in a logical place. It is an amazing improvement and we will be thanking them every time we don’t have to go searching for something!
WOW! CUE Haven is looking quite a bit different in just a week!
Cécilia and Jérôme, we really appreciated having you as our guests at CUE Haven. We enjoyed meeting you and talking to you and we really liked the way you got involved with the project and accomplished so much in such a short time.
Our many thanks for all your hard work and contribution to the project. The work you’ve done, from planting trees, to laying out tracks will last for a long, long time. We hope you will come back to walk on the tracks you have laid out and see how the trees you planted have grown.
We will probably mess up the nursery fairly quickly however! But it will be a lot easier to straighten up now that you’ve organised it so well!
We hope you have a wonderful sabbatical in New Zealand and wish you a happy and safe time and all the best in the future when you return to France. We very much look forward to meeting up with you sometime soon.