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The SFS Centre for Rainforest Studies—13 & 15 June 2017

June 15, 2017

The School for Field Studies (SFS) is a US-based global organisation that provides university students interested in ecology and environmental studies the opportunity to study overseas.  Students studying at the SFS Centre for Rainforest Studies, based in Australia, have the opportunity to visit New Zealand to learn more about New Zealand’s temperate rain forests.

The students’ New Zealand trip included a stay at CUE Haven and Mataia, our neighbours across the road.   The plan was for the students to plant on Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning at CUE Haven and plant at Mataia on Wednesday.

The group arrived at CUE Haven after lunch on Tuesday and included students Adriana, Allison, Ally, Anna, Brandon, Cole, Danny, Den, Emma, Grace, Hanna, Jack, Janie, Jia Min, Jimmy, Kiana, Matthew, Max, Ojullja, Sage, Treston & Wan Xin.

The group was led by Centre Director Amanda Freeman, lecturer Justus Kithiia, and staff members Hannah, Karen and Mike.

We started off by having the students and staff introduce themselves. Then Mahrukh gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and Thomas described the work the students would be doing during their stay and also gave a safety briefing.

The plan for both Tuesday and Thursday was to plant long-lived canopy trees in the area that had initially been planted in 2014.  The pioneer trees in that area have grown up sufficiently to provide protection to the slow growing canopy trees.

It is a huge area and we had set out the plants in various places along the road.  We hiked up and broke into smaller groups to do the planting.

It was challenging planting as the team had to carry the plants a long way into the bush to find suitable places for the trees.  Because these native trees will become forest giants, they have to be positioned at least three to five metres from the nearest canopy tree.  The students planted kahikatea, lancewood, matai, miro, puriri, rewarewa, tanekaha, taraire and titoki.

It was easy to get lost in the dense bush as the team searched for good planting spots!

On both days, the weather was great and the group did an amazing amount of infill planting throughout the 2014 area.



In the two half day planting sessions, the group accomplished an amazing amount of work and made a major contribution to our 2017 planting efforts—and declared victory!

The team helped bring down all the spades and pots and crates and then spent some time cleaning up.  We weren’t planting in the wetlands but because we’ve had a lot of rain the area where we worked was very muddy.

In addition to planting at CUE Haven and Mataia, some of the students went for a night bush walk at CUE Haven and got a chance to see glowworms in the little grotto by the waterfall in the gully.

It was a short visit but we were very happy and impressed with all that the enthusiastic group accomplished.

Our many thanks to Amanda for her help on site and for arranging the visit. We really enjoy having you and the SFS students and staff at CUE Haven and value our relationship and do so appreciate your continued support.

Also many thanks to all the SFS staff for their help and ensuring things went smoothly.

And a very BIG THANK YOU to all the students.  We really enjoyed meeting all of you and working with you. We were very impressed by your enthusiasm, motivation and interest in CUE Haven and in 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 create a sustainable habitat and provide food and shelter for a variety of plant and bird life over the years, and also provide educational opportunities and enjoyment to generations of visitors.  What a fantastic legacy!!  THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

We wish you all good luck and much success and happiness in your future endeavours.  We do hope you will keep in touch and come back to visit us at CUE Haven and enjoy the native forest reserve you have helped create.

Thanks again!

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