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Unitec Ecology Students – Educational Field Trip – 30 August 2022

September 3, 2022

Mel Galbraith, senior lecturer at Unitec in Auckland, has been bringing students in his Ecological Restoration class to CUE Haven for the past several years to give the students a chance to do some first-hand observations of a restoration project in progress.  Because we have been planting since 2008, they can readily see different stages in the regeneration process and learn about the issues and challenges associated with each phase of the work.

This year, Mel, and Head of Department of Environmental and Animal Sciences, Dr. Dan Blanchon brought students Chryee, Dayna, Leon, Luzie, Mihaela, Reese and Olivia for a discussion and tour.  Also joining us for part of the visit was Associate Professor Diane Fraser.

Mahrukh started off the session by giving the students the history and objectives of the CUE Haven restoration project and plans for the future.

Then Thomas explained what we would be seeing and doing on the walk and gave a safety briefing.

It was a beautiful sunny late winter day and just right for a leisurely walk in the bush.

Thomas led the group and pointed out a number of features of the property and explained some of the challenges of the restoration project.  We discussed weed and pest control and the positive effect that pest management has had on native bird and animal life.

We walked near the boundary with the neighbouring farm so that the students could see the impact of different land uses on the landscape and how farming practices have affected the land and our activities at CUE Haven.

We carried on to the top of the property with frequent stops along the way to observe various aspects of the regenerating bush and took some time to identify unusual plants.  We took a small detour to Otakamaitu, to see the Maori rock pools which are evidence of past human habitation on this site.

There was so much interesting discussion on the walk that Thomas forgot to take many pictures.  But we made it all the way to the top of the property where the students could see surrounding properties, the Araperera River and Kaipara Harbour and get a sense of how CUE Haven was part of the wider landscape.

We then returned by the main race and continued the discussions and observations.  Once back at the cottage we had a quick debrief and discussed opportunities for further research study at CUE Haven.

As always, we had a very enjoyable visit with the Unitec students.  We learn a lot from these visits and are always impressed with the enthusiasm and varied interests and knowledge of the Unitec students and staff. Our many thanks to Mel, Dan and Diane for their continued support and to Mel for organising the visit.  And also a big thank you to the students for their enthusiasm and interest in the project.

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