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Ficino School—19 May 2017

May 20, 2017

Today a great group of year five students from Ficino School came out to CUE Haven and helped us pot up seedlings in the nursery and plant trees in the wetlands.

This was the fifth year in a row that teacher, Ashley Leathley, has brought her students out to CUE Haven. The group arrived at ten and included students Alisa, Aliyah, Amelia, Arnav, Chris, Elliot, Emily, Erana, Grace, Holly, Isabel, Jasgeet, Kiera, Lamiya, Layla, Lucia, Paige, Shreya and Sophie.  Also joining for the day were parents, Heyes, Jo, Paulene and grandparent, Rusti.

We got acquainted over morning tea and then Mahrukh gave a brief talk on the history and purpose of the CUE Haven project.

Thomas then gave an overview of the activities planned for the day and a safety briefing.

There were light showers in the morning so we started with potting up seedlings in the nursery where the group could stay dry.

Last year our volunteers had harvested some tiny kahikatea seedlings from under a big kahikatea tree in the mature bush on the property. These tiny seedlings had been potted up in small pots last year and they now needed to be transplanted into larger pots.

Mahrukh gave the students some information about the kahikatea tree – the tallest native New Zealand tree.

And Thomas demonstrated the repotting technique — and the group went to work potting up.

The students worked in teams and the adults assisted and supervised each team.

The group very quickly potted up 95 kahikatea seedlings.  Well done!! The small trees will stay in the nursery for another year and should be ready for planting later next winter.

Fortunately the rain showers had ended as we headed out to the field to do some planting.  In August 2016 we had a slip on the property which destroyed an area of our 2015 planting and the nearby wetland plants. We have slowly been restoring the area this year.  The students helped out by planting wetland plants in the flat area where the slip ended.  The plants will stabilize the area and help to manage the underground water flowing through the area.

It was challenging planting because of the heavy clay soil but the students coped very well.  The students worked in teams and it was great to see the way they cooperated and helped each other out with the adults providing additional help as needed.

There were a few nasty weeds in the planting area but the students took care of them so they wouldn’t interfere with the new plants going in.

They made friends with some of the local residents as well!

As a result of the group’s efforts, the area has been completely transformed.

In a little over an hour of planting the very hard working group planted 125 trees!! Wow!

We then went for a short walk in the bush.  Thomas explained and pointed out some additional aspects of the restoration project to give the students some background on how native plants and animals interact with each other and how introduced plant and animal pests adversely affect natives.

He explained our pest control program and the students got a chance to see how tracking tunnels and traps are used.

We then headed back to the cottage for a quick lunch before the group headed back to town.

It was a fantastic day of volunteering, learning and fun and we are thrilled with all that was accomplished.

We want to thank Nestle NZ for providing the yummy Nestle hot chocolate drinks which the students thoroughly enjoyed.  And thank you to Daltons NZ for generously providing the potting mix we used to repot the seedlings.

A big thank you to Ashley– we really appreciate your continued support of CUE Haven and we thoroughly enjoy working with you and having you and your students out each year.

And many thanks to Heyes, Jo, Paulene and Rusti for coming out and helping us today.  It was great meeting you and you added a lot of value to the effort.

And finally a very big THANK YOU to the hard working students.  We were very impressed by how polite, motivated and enthusiastic you were.  We appreciated all of your questions and hope you had a good time and learned a lot.

Thank you for all your hard work and help with planting the trees and potting up the seedlings. The trees you planted today will stabilize the area by the slip and increase the biodiversity in the wetlands.  The kahikatea seedlings you potted up today will be planted at CUE Haven once they become bigger and they will create the forest of long lived canopy trees that will be enjoyed for many generations.

What a wonderful contribution you have all made to CUE Haven, our planet and our community! THANK YOU!!

We wish you the best of luck with your studies and we do hope you will come back and see us (and your trees) again soon!

Many thanks again!!

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