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Orewa College—21 November 2018

November 21, 2018

As part of their end of year activities, Year 10 students at Orewa College north of Auckland were able to select from a variety of outdoor projects and 11 students chose to come to CUE Haven to help us with some of our spring maintenance work.

At 9:30 science teacher Michele Caldicott arrived with students Catalina, Ethan, Freya, Genevieve, Jackson, Jared, Laura, Matthew, Michela, Sara and Tahlia.

We got acquainted over morning tea and Mahrukh told the group about the history and development of the CUE Haven Community Native Forest Reserve.

The plan for the day was to do a variety of tasks that would give the students a good overview of native New Zealand plants and animals and challenges associated with bush restoration.

The first task was to trim away some vegetation that was growing over the driveway and main road.  Thomas explained the work to be done and gave a safety briefing.

We broke the group into two teams.  One team went with Thomas to clear the main road.

We encountered a variety of weather conditions from heavy rain to bright sun!

We moved up the road towards the top of the property.

In the meantime, Michelle took another team to trim away some of the flaxes that were growing over the driveway.

The team did a great job and visitors won’t have to navigate around flax leaves for a while!

Both teams joined up about halfway up the main road and we stored the gear there to continue on a walk around the property.

On the walk, Thomas explained the history of the restoration work and showed the students the different planting areas.  He explained some of the challenges of weed and pest control and also pointed out the Kaipara Harbour, the neighbouring farms and the Araparera River so that the students could see the impact of different land uses on the landscape and appreciate how water quality in the Harbour is affected by land use. The group also had a chance to see some of the work that other students had done.

And got to meet a weta in one of the weta hotels.

The walk finished up in the wetlands where they had a chance to see different wetland plants and features.

After the walk, we assembled in the nursery to pot up some seedlings.  Mahrukh explained the nursery operation and why we were potting up seedlings.

Thomas gave a demonstration of how to transplant the seedlings.

And the students went to work and got their hands dirty.

Many thanks to Daltons for generously donating the potting mix that the students used today.

Thomas tested the student’s knowledge of New Zealand plants, animals and geography and there were prizes for those answering most questions correctly.

And Mahrukh led an exercise to see how many native trees the students could identify.

We then finished off with a relaxing lunch before the students headed back to school at 2 pm.

We’d like to thank Michelle for organising the day and bringing out the students and helping today. We hope to have you back with more students next year.

And, a BIG THANK YOU to the hard working students. We enjoyed meeting you and working with you and we hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.  The trees you transplanted today will mature in the nursery over the summer and will be planted in the field next winter.  They will become some of the forest giants of the CUE Haven forest, living for hundreds of years.

We wish you all the best with your studies and future plans and look forward to having you visit CUE Haven again soon.  Thanks!

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