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Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential—24-28 April 2017

April 29, 2017

CUE Haven is looking better than ever after the 21st Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award gold award residential this week.  The weather was great and the hard working group accomplished a lot.

The group arrived on Monday morning and included Anushka, Cameron, Charlotte, Erin, Jackson, Julia, Jungha (Jelly), Martin, Michelle and Tyra.  Keira, who had been a participant in last April’s residential, was the team leader.

We got acquainted over morning tea and gave the participants an overview of the CUE Haven project, the planned work for the week and a safety briefing.

We then went for a short tour of the property to give the participants a better feel for the project and the work they would be doing.  The plan for the week was to spend most of the time fixing up the property after an unusually wet summer that caused a lot of wear and tear on the walking tracks and also made everything grow very well.  So in addition to track work, we spent time clearing weeds and vegetation from the paths and roads.

Landscaping

There had been a lot of weed growth in the orchard and we wanted to clear the weeds and the dead wood from pruning and lay down some new mulch.  The team went to work, weeding and clearing up.

We wanted to clear out all the dead branches and take them to where we can burn them this winter.  There was so much dead wood that we used the truck to carry it away.

Once the weeds were cleared away, we brought up the mulch which had been piled in the car park nearby. The mulch had been generously donated by Treescape and our many thanks to them for their continued support of CUE Haven.

The weeding and cleanup and mulch have made a huge difference!

Road and Track Cleanup

The other landscaping task the group tackled was clearing vegetation—good and bad—that had grown over the roads and tracks over the summer.  The work involved walking the track and trimming back any overhanging branches or weeds.

Boardwalk Railing

The main access to the wetlands boardwalk is by a set of steps leading into Duncan’s and Jack’s Groves.

We wanted to install a railing to make it easier for guests planting or visiting memorial trees to get up and down the steps.  Julia and Jackson worked with Andy Woodhouse Training Director of the DoEHA program to design and build the railing.

They first studied the approach and decided that an additional step would make access easier.

 They dug out the step and then organized the timber to do the job.

Andy trained and supervised them as they cut out the required timber.

They then boxed in the step.

And installed the railing—a great addition that will make access to the boardwalk easier and more comfortable for visitors.

Walking Track Work

Most of the team’s efforts this week were spent fixing up various sections of the walking track.  Over time, sections of the track begin to show wear and tear.  Additionally, there were some heavy rainstorms this summer which washed away some track surfaces.  We asked the team to fix various problem sections and it was challenging work.  Not only were we working in remote parts of the property where we had to carry tools and equipment a long way, each track section presented different issues with no set solution so the team had to analyze and discuss the best way to improve the track.

Most of the work involved digging out the sides of steps and installing little retaining walls to control erosion.  Bigger jobs included repositioning sections of track and replacing or installing new steps to make the track easier to negotiate.

Timber was brought up and cut to size as necessary.

Retaining walls and steps were fixed in place with pegs and nails.

Everything was checked to make sure things were straight and even.

It was great to see the way the group cooperated and helped each other with each of the different track challenges.  When all of the timber was installed, they then took the time to smooth off the track surface to get it ready for a layer of gravel.

Track Metalling

The final step of track building is putting down a layer of gravel to make it safe for walking in all kinds of weather.  As mentioned above, the track sections we were working on were in remote parts of the property so bringing up the gravel was a challenge.

Two people were stationed at the gravel pile.  They shoveled the gravel into 10 litre paint cans.

Others were located at the far end of the track to rake in the gravel as it was dumped on the track.

And the rest of the team had the job of carrying down the heavy buckets of gravel and taking the empties back up to be refilled.

The fixed track sections look great and the team should be very proud of their efforts.  Through teamwork and hard work they have made a lasting contribution that will be enjoyed by many people for years to come.

We were particularly impressed with this group of participants.  They came together as a team very quickly and cooperated to bring the best out in each other.  They accomplished an amazing amount of work and also had some fun, relaxing times.

In addition to some night walks and stargazing, they also did some very delicious baking—

Farewelled an unfortunate cicada who befriended them in the field—

And finally settled the question of how many people can fit into a CUBE—

It was a fun and productive week and we’d like to thank Andy Woodhouse for taking time out of his busy schedule to assist with the residential.  Andy, we appreciate your help and your continued support of our efforts at CUE Haven.

And many thanks to Keira for serving as team leader—you really helped make this residential so successful with your excellent team leadership.

And of course, a huge THANK YOU to all the hard-working participants.  We very much enjoyed meeting you and working with you.

We were very impressed with your enthusiasm, motivation and hard work and we hope you enjoyed the week as much as we did.  You have all made a major contribution and your efforts will be appreciated by the many visitors and volunteers at CUE Haven over the years.  We’re very happy you had a chance to make some new friends and create some lasting memories.

We wish you the very best of luck with your studies and much success in all your future endeavours and we hope you will come back to CUE Haven again with your family and friends and to serve as team leaders.

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