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Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential—11-15 July 2016

July 16, 2016

This week we hosted the eighteenth DoEHA Gold Award residential.   The July residential can be challenging because it is in the middle of winter and it can be wet and messy.  But the weather mostly cooperated and we had a great group of students who got a lot done.

The group arrived on late Monday morning and included Agnieske, Catherine, James, Katie, Kyle, Sana, Stella, Virginia and William.  Jena, who had previously been to CUE Haven for her gold award residential was the team leader this week.

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Also, Andy Woodhouse, DoEHA Director of Training and Development and past team leaders Brigid and Kayla were on site for part of the week.  Richard Stevens, an ecology student at Unitec in Auckland also joined us for two of the days to help out.

We got acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh then gave a welcome and history of the CUE Haven project and Thomas gave a safety briefing and an overview of activities planned for the week.

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Winter is our planting season and so the primary objective for the week was for the team to focus on planting and to also do some maintenance work on the walking track.

After lunch we loaded up the trees to take up to the planting site.

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And then went to work! The team started planting in the wetlands adjacent to the DoEHA mosaic.  The area had been prepped but there was a lot of dead grass to contend with.  It was also a wetland which meant that it was muddy, but the team coped very well with the challenges.

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The next day the team moved up to another challenging planting area.  There is a section inside one of our fenced bush areas that was never planted and was overgrown with kikuyu grass.  We’d earlier sprayed it out for planting but the dead grass was a thick layer with lots of roots to cut through.

Once again the team coped very well and quickly finished planting the area.

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The thick grass was a pain to plant in, but it was a nice place to relax!

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We had finished up the bulk of the planting at the end of the day and Kyle demonstrated an efficient way to put all the gear away.

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To take a break from planting, the following day we took a walk along the boundary fence with our neighbor who is grazing cattle.  There is a hot wire to keep the cattle from paying us unwanted visits and it regularly needs to be checked and cleared for vegetation that may be growing on it.  Each team member armed themselves with different kinds of shears, loppers and secateurs and we cleared the entire fence line.

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At the top of the property we found a section of fence with broken wires and William taught the team how to do some effective repair work.

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In one of the planting areas there was an old fence that was largely broken down.  The team helped cut it out from the rest of the fence and we carried it away.

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The other big activity the group worked on was walking track remedial work.  The walking tracks get a lot of wear and tear plus we are always finding ways to make them safer and easier to use. We needed the team to assist with the track remediation, however, there were still trees left to plant.

Katie, Sana and Stella volunteered to continue planting the following day. They did infill planting in a lot of areas that had previously been planted but needed some additional plants.

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They covered a lot of area and despite the wind and rain, the team worked away smiling till all the trees were planted!!

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Meanwhile, the remainder of the group worked on the track maintenance. We split the group into two teams.

Brigid, Catherine, Kyle and Virginia tackled a section of track near the wetlands to fix some erosion problems by boxing in steps and track sections and also building a small retaining wall.  There were several sections needing attention.

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Meanwhile Agnieske, James, Jena and William worked on other sections of the track, boxing in steps and installing retaining walls.

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Working with the long boards was a challenge and required a lot of digging and measuring to get everything straight and level.

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The result is a dramatic improvement in the appearance and safety of the track.

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In this area the steps were wearing out because people were taking a short cut.  The team shored up the sides of the steps and even came up with the idea to plant trees to prevent future trampers from short cutting the corner.

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On Friday the whole team worked to fix some steps heading down from the DoEHA hut.  The section of track is steep and subject to erosion.  They cut out and boxed in several steps.

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It was a challenge digging in the heavy clay but the result is well worth it.

The team finished off the new track sections by covering them with a layer of metal to keep the track surface safe in all weather.  We first loaded metal into buckets.

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And then carried it out to the track where it was spread out and raked in.

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Thanks to the team’s efforts the walking tracks are nicer and safer than ever.

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In addition to a lot of hard work, the group also took time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.  The team went for night walks in the bush, watched movies, and played cards and other games. The variety of delicious Nescafe Menu coffees generously provided by Nestle NZ for our volunteers was much appreciated by all.  Thanks Nestle!

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The team accomplished an amazing amount of work and managed to complete all the planting–a fantastic effort by the whole team!!

We’d like to thank Brigid, Kayla and Richard for taking time out and helping us this week.  We really appreciate it!

Andy, thanks for organising the DoEHA residential and for your continuing support.

A BIG thank you to Jena for leading the team and helping us accomplish so much.

And our many many thanks to the hard working gold award participants.  We very much enjoyed getting to know you and working with you.  We were very impressed by the way you came together as a team and worked so well together so quickly.

You have made a major contribution to the CUE Haven project and to our planet.  The trees you planted will create a sustainable habitat for a variety of plant and animal life and also provide a green space for the community to enjoy for years. And the walking track remediation will ensure that visitors have a safe and easy path to explore the growing native forest.

We wish you all the best of luck as you continue to pursue your gold awards and much success and happiness in your future endeavours.  We look forward to seeing you again.

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Thanks again!

 

Exploring CUE Haven Waterways—6 July 2016

July 7, 2016

Auckland Council’s Wai Care is a water quality monitoring, education and action program for community groups, individuals, businesses and schools across the Auckland region.  Waicare staff support and enable local communities to be active in the protection, health and management of local waterways and catchments.

Since 2012, Waicare staff have been conducting water quality tests and identifying macroinvertebrates in the CUE Haven stream, Wai Mātauranga (Water of Wisdom) and the ponds.

Over the years Waicare staff have come out on numerous occasions when we have had school groups assisting us with planting and other activities.  They do an hour long waicare session with the students about the importance of protecting our waterways and teach the students various water quality tests and how to identify macroinvertebrates.

In November 2012 staff from Waicare did some bench mark testing of the CUE Haven stream and at that time found native banded kokopu in the stream.  Read about the visit here.

Today Shelley Hackett and Hazel Meadows from Waicare came out to again to check on sites visited in 2012 and conduct further analysis of the stream at other sites too. Also joining us for the day was Louisa Copestake, a final year biodiversity management student from Unitec who is doing research at CUE Haven on macroinvertebrates.

We gathered up the equipment and headed up to the top of the property where the stream starts.

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They identified the first point for testing and set up what looked like a mini laboratory!

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They then conducted a variety of tests to compare with previous benchmarks and to include in our data base of historical results.  Louisa assisted with the testing and also gathered samples and conducted tests for her own research project.

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A very important aspect of learning about how to do water quality testing is to understand how different conditions and characteristics of a waterway will affect the test results and also impact the types of creatures that might find the area hospitable.

Shelley’s and Hazel’s subject matter expertise was invaluable as they pointed out how different conditions along the streams and around the ponds affected water quality and habitat.

This helps us to make sure our plantings are helping water quality and also enables us to recognize habitats where fish and macroinvertebrates are likely to be.

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They then explored the area up and downstream and conducted more experiments.

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We were happy to see that water quality of Wai Mātauranga continues to improve as we have planted out more of the property.

They examined the collected samples for macroinvertebrates.

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In addition to some spiders and snails they were happy to find a flat mayfly:

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And a big damselfly larva that was almost ready to take wing:

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The big excitement for the day was finding a kokopu in roughly the same place we had found other kokopu back in 2012.  The kokupu we caught and released today was approximately 150 mm long. Yeah!

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Finding kokopu again is further confirmation that water quality at CUE Haven is satisfactory to maintain the fish long term.

After the initial find of banded kokopu, Louise Thacker, a graphic design student at Unitec designed a very informative sign about these fish. Thanks to funding from the Auckland Council’s Rodney Environmental Education Fund and Capitol Sign Services Ltd, we developed Louise’s design into an actual sign. The information sign enable visitors to CUE Haven to learn more about our native fish.

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The other bit of excitement on the day was Louisa getting an accidental waist deep dunking in the 10 degree cold water! But she managed to keep her sense of humour throughout.

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We’d like to thank Louisa for helping out and participating in a fun and interesting day. Louisa, many thanks for selecting CUE Haven to do your research project – we are anxious to read your report at the end of the year and we hope other students will follow on and build on your research on macroinvertebrates at CUE Haven.

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Our thanks to Unitec’s Ecology and Biodiversity Studies Department for their continued support and encouraging their students to conduct research on native biodiversity and do practicums at CUE Haven.

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A big thank you to Shelley and Hazel for spending the day with us and doing all the waicare tests and also imparting so much valuable information.

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And our thanks also to Auckland Council for making Shelley and Hazel available.  The expertise of Council field staff is invaluable in helping us with our restoration project.  And we really appreciate their continued support of our efforts to make CUE Haven a native nature reserve with thriving biodiversity for the community to enjoy and also use as a space for environmental education.

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Lucas’s Birthday Party—18 June 2016

June 19, 2016
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A couple of months ago a young boy named Lucas visited CUE Haven with his family.  Lucas very much enjoyed exploring CUE Haven and asked if he could come back to celebrate his tenth birthday with his friends and also help with planting trees.  We thought it was a great idea and today Lucas came with his friends and family to plant trees, celebrate and explore.

The group arrived after lunch and included Lucas and friends Andrew, Brianna, Jack, Lincoln, Louise, Mika, Oscar and Theo.  Accompanying the youngsters were adults Beate, Chris, Claes, Hans, Madelaine, Neil, and Roger.

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While the group had some hot chocolate drinks, Mahrukh gave them a short introduction to the CUE Haven project and the plan for the afternoon.

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Then it was a quick ride up to the planting site where Tom gave a safety briefing and showed the group the area and trees they would be planting.

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The first item on the agenda was for Lucas to plant a celebration Totara tree. It was a big tree and his mates chipped in to help him with the planting.

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Lucas’s sister, Louise, also planted a rewarewa tree to celebrate her successful environmental education project to raise awareness amongst Aucklanders about the waste from New Zealand being washed up in the Kermadecs.

We are very impressed with her initiative and efforts and were happy that she received recognition in the local newspaper too. You can read the article here.

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The entire group then spent some time planting manuka, karamu and mahoe trees in an area that had been sparsely planted in prior years.

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In a short time, the enthusiastic group had planted all the trees.  Yeah!

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We then went for a walk to explore the property.

The boys even had a “singing competition” to check out the good acoustics in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award hut.

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 They saw weta in the weta hotels.

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The group also spotted a number of interesting birds, mushrooms and plants and were especially happy to see a big rat caught in one of the DOC 200 traps.

It started to get dark as we got back from the walk and it was time to sing Happy Birthday to Lucas and enjoy some delicious birthday cake. Happy Birthday Lucas! We wish you many more great years ahead!

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We very much enjoyed hosting Lucas and his family and friends.  It’s great to see so much interest and enthusiasm for nature amongst youngsters.

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We’d like to thank all of the parents who helped out and planted the trees and a BIG THANK YOU to Lucas and friends for being such good guests and for all your hard work today.

We very much look forward to having you all come visit again and see the how your trees are growing up.

 

The SFS Centre for Rainforest Studies—14 & 16 June 2016

June 17, 2016

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.

For the third consecutive year, the students’ New Zealand trip included a stay at CUE Haven and Mataia, our neighbours across the road.

The group arrived at CUE Haven after lunch on Tuesday and included students Brenda, Brooke, Caitlyn, Chase, Christian, Daniel, Hannah, Holly, Ian, Josh, Julia, Julianne, Kaitlin, Kathy, Kaylee, Laura, Lindsey, Mark, Melissa, Nick, Robin, Ryan and Taryn.

The group was led by Centre Director Amanda Freeman, lecturers Catherine Pohlman and Justus Kithiia, and student affairs managers Lucia and Gregory, and intern Wes.

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We started by getting acquainted.  The students and staff introduced themselves and told us a little about their backgrounds.  Then Mahrukh gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and Thomas described the work the students would be doing during their stay as well as a safety briefing.

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Thomas then took the group for a short walk around the property and explained the restoration plan and demonstrated how it is being implemented in both the wetlands and other areas of the property.  He also explained our pest and weed control procedures and pointed out tracking tunnels, bait boxes and traps.

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We then headed out to the wetlands to do some infill planting of flaxes, cabbage trees and cyperus.  Part of our wetlands management process involves reclaiming the wetland areas that have been invaded by kikuyu and mercer grass and the plantings will be a great help in expanding the coverage of native species in the wetlands.

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The students weren’t afraid to get stuck in and clear out unwanted vegetation to make room for their plants.

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The boardwalk the students were using for access has been constructed entirely by our amazing volunteers, and the 2014 SFS team helped build the section in the picture below!

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And they weren’t afraid of the interesting creatures they found!

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The hardworking group worked on right till dusk and managed to get all the allocated trees planted in the wetlands. Yeah!

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Some of the students were staying at CUE Haven and the others at Mataia, and the group had lunch and dinner at the Glorit Hall down the road.

That night after dinner the group went for a 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 crisp clear night and they also got a good look at the Southern Hemisphere stars.

The next day the students spent the day working at Mataia, planting and exploring the mature bush there and learning about the kiwi releases and how kiwi are monitored and protected on the property.

On Thursday early morning the whole group reconvened at CUE Haven.

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In contrast to Tuesday’s wetlands planting, the plan was to plant pioneer trees in areas that had been planted in previous years but where the canopy was not filling in.

We hiked up to the start of the track where most of the planting would be done.

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Because we were going to planting in a variety of areas, we dropped the plants in a central location and carried them out to the sites.

It was challenging planting as we had to carry the plants a long way into the bush. The students planted manuka, kanuka, mahoi, mako mako, pittosporum and cabbage trees and the students also had to identify the best places to plant them.

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The group also had to cope with some nasty weeds like gorse and blackberry but they weren’t afraid to attack them and make room for their trees.

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In spite of various challenges and a few unexpected rain showers the group kept smiling.  They were so productive that we ended up bringing more trees for them to plant!

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In just a couple of hours the enthusiastic and hardworking students had accomplished an amazing amount of weed clearing and planting.

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When we had finished planting the students even helped clean all the equipment.

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And had well earned cake and frozen mango Smooze before we said good bye.

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

We want to thank Amanda for all her help on site and for arranging the visit and making sure everything went smoothly.  We really enjoy having SFS students and staff at CUE Haven and value our relationship with SFS and very much appreciate your continued support.

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And we also want to thank all the SFS staff for their help and for helping us work with the students to make sure they got the most value from their time with us.

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 motivation, enthusiasm and interest in the project and 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 wetlands and forest you helped create will create a sustainable habitat and provide food and shelter for a variety of plant and bird life over the years and provide educational opportunities and enjoyment to generations of visitors.  What a fantastic legacy!!  THANK YOU!!

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

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Thanks again!

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Overseas Chinese Association, New Zealand Chapter—11 June 2016

June 12, 2016

Today we were delighted to welcome our friends from the Overseas Chinese Association, New Zealand Chapter for a planting day.  The Association is regularly involved in many community service projects around Auckland and they have assisted with planting trees and other projects at CUE Haven for the past two years.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Republic of China, and a variety of commemorations are being held.  Sun Yat Sen believed strongly in harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature and was a strong advocate of tree planting and reforestation and today’s planting was seen as part of a continuing tradition of establishing forests to maintain the balance of nature.

The group arrived at about ten and included Aden, Adonis, Ailian. Alex, Betty, Bixia, Cheng Ya, Chia, Chin Chan, Chen Huei, Cindy, Cloud, David, Eric, Ester, Gary, George, Grace, Heidi C., Heidi W., Howard, Hui Chia, Ivy, Jimmy, Johnny, Julia, Juliana, Karen, Katie, Kay, Lao Yao, Lauren, Lawden, Lili, Lola, Maria, Mary, Mike, Karen, Ned, Peter, Raymond, Sam, Sebastian, Simon H., Simon K., Stephanie, Steven, Taiwen, Ted, Terry, Tony, Wei, Wendy, William and Yu Hwa.

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We got acquainted over morning tea.  Nestle NZ has generously sponsored a variety of Nescafe Menu coffees for our volunteers which were most appreciated. Thanks, Nestle NZ!!

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Mahrukh gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven restoration project and Thomas did a safety briefing.  Some of our guests are not as yet proficient in English as it is their second language, and Wei, a Mandarin language interpretation doctoral student, assisted with the briefings.

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Then Ned Chou, Deputy Director General of the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office and Adonis Yang, President of the Overseas Chinese Associate each gave the group a welcome.

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We then took a short walk up the planting site where Thomas gave a planting demonstration and update of the safety briefing before the group went to work.

Today’s planting was also significant because we were planting canopy trees in amongst the pioneer trees that several members of the Overseas Chinese Association had planted during their first visit to CUE Haven in 2014.  The group was impressed at how much their trees had grown and today they planted the long living canopy trees – totara, rimu, tanekaha, miro, kahikatea and pukatea.

As this was infill planting, the team had to spread out into the developing bush to find suitable spots to plant their trees.

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When all the canopy trees had been planted, the team collected all the empty pots and trays and equipment.

In just a couple of hours, the hard working group planted over 300 canopy trees!  A fantastic effort!!

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Several members then helped Simon and Chen Huei plant a celebration Blue Totara.

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While the group was planting, Adonis and George came down to prepare lunch. The group celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival with a relaxing and delicious lunch that included a special soup, salads and sticky rice dumplings.

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After lunch, several of the group members went up to the top of the property to explore and took a leisurely walk back down via the walking track where they got a chance to see some mature specimens of the trees they had planted as well as some friendly native birds.

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As always, we had a great day with the group and are very happy to have been able to meet up with old friends and make many new friends.

A special thanks to Adonis Yang for his help with organising the visit.

And a really big THANK YOU to all the members who came today. We really appreciate your friendship, enthusiasm, hard work and your continued support of our efforts at CUE Haven.

You’ve made a major contribution not only to CUE Haven and New Zealand, but also to our planet in keeping with the reforestation vision of the enlightened Sun Yat Sen. The trees you planted today are a lasting legacy and will live for hundreds of years and provide a wonderful habitat for numerous plant and animal life and also create a wonderful nature reserve for generations to enjoy.   Many Thanks again!!  We very much look forward to having you visit again soon.

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Avondale Intermediate School—8 June 2016

June 9, 2016

We have been involved with Auckland Council’s Trees for Survival (TFS) programme since 2008 and this year we were delighted to have Avondale Intermediate come out to CUE Haven for the first time.

A few weeks ago we went out to the school to pick up the plants the students had grown in their nursery.   We met Doug, the teacher, and a number of students and they helped us load the plants onto the truck.

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Today twenty students – Aryan, Bertrand, Christian, Deborah, Ellie, Eunice, Hazel, Hohaia, Isadora, James, Jennifer, Lynelle, Maanasi, Maywand, Mohibullah, Noah, Pelekata, Rhiarn. Sosoia and Ted came out to plant the trees.  They were joined by teachers Doug, Kieni and Tuakau.

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The students arrived a little after ten.  We got acquainted over morning tea and Mahrukh gave a welcome and a short introduction to the CUE Haven project.

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We then took a short walk down to the wetlands where the students would be planting.

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Gail Farrell, TFS coordinator, had arrived earlier and laid out the flax, cabbage trees and cypress for the students to plant.

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She then gave a safety briefing and planting demo and the students went to work.

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We were planting along the boardwalk and filling in gaps in the prior year plantings.

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It was mostly dry along the boardwalk but there were some muddy areas!

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But no matter what the conditions, everyone kept smiling and working hard.  We even had to bring up more plants because they accomplished more than we expected!

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When we finished planting, the hard working students picked up the empty plant bags for recycling and helped clean the spades too.

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We then went back to the nursery and cleaned up before lunch.

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It was then time for a relaxing lunch.  The students were also treated to delicious hot chocolate milk generously provided by Nestle NZ. Thanks Nestle!

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To give the students a real appreciation of the importance of planting trees in wetlands, we invited Rachel Griffiths and Shelley Hackett of Auckland Council’s Waicare programme to give the students a study session on water quality and macroinvertebrates.  They were assisted by Louisa Copestake, a biodiversity management student from Unitec who is doing research at CUE Haven on macroinvertebrates.

While the students were having lunch, Rachel and Shelley went out into the field to gather samples for testing and observation.

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The presentation started with an overview of water quality issues and why we should be concerned about it.  Rachel and Shelley then showed the students a variety of experiments to test and evaluate water quality and explained what the results meant.

The first experiment was water temperature.  The students learned that cool water is better for water plants and animals.  They took the temperature of the water samples and the outside air and compared the results.

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The outside temperature was 20.8 and the water was 16.2 degrees which is a good relationship.   The next test was for pH levels.   Rachel and Shelly showed the students how to do the test and then had them help to interpret the results.

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For the remaining part of the session, the students did two activities.  The first was testing the water clarity and the second was studying water samples to identify macroinvertebrates, which are creatures that live in waterways and are visible without a microscope. The type and variety of animals found are a further indication of the health of the streams.

The group broke into smaller teams and moved around so that everyone could do both the experiments and observations.

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Water clarity is tested by looking through a long sample tube to see how much light can pass through the water.  Cleaner water without a lot of sediment is better for wildlife.

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Rachel and Shelley laid out trays of samples and charts with pictures of the different kinds of creatures the students might find.

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They found a nice selection of creatures including a big damsel fly larva.

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Rachel, Shelley and Louisa worked with each team to help them with the observation and identification process.

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Once everyone had a chance to complete all of the experiments and observations it was time to head back to town.  But before they left the students even helped straighten up!

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It was a fun day of planting and learning and the Avondale Intermediate students were wonderful guests.

We’d like to thank Louisa for coming out to help for the waicare session.

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And a big thank you to Gail of TFS and Shelley and Rachel of Waicare.

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Gail, as always, the planting day went very well thanks to your organisation and support before and on the day, and we really appreciate all your help.

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Rachel and Shelley, your waicare presentation was very educational and also thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you so much for your continued support and we very much look forward to having you back for more waicare sessions with other school groups.

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We also want to thank Auckland Council for their continued support of our efforts to make CUE Haven a space for outdoor environmental learning and for sponsoring TFS and Waicare which are such great environmental education programmes for the students.

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And a huge thank you to Doug, Kieni and Tuakau.  It was great meeting you and we really enjoyed working with you. You should be very proud of your students!

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And finally a very BIG THANK YOU to all the students. Thank you for not only growing the lovely trees in your school nursery, but for also coming out to plant them. You have made a significant contribution to the CUE Haven restoration project and our environment. You should all be very proud of your efforts and contribution!

We really enjoyed meeting all of you and working with you.  We were very impressed with how polite and hardworking you all were and also how enthusiastic and keen you were to learn new things.  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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Avondale College TFS Planting Day—1 June 2016

June 2, 2016

Since 2009, Year 12 and 13 horticulture students from Avondale College in Auckland have been planting at CUE Haven as part of the Auckland Council’s Trees for Survival (TFS) programme.  Today a great group of 41 students joined us for a day of planting.  They were accompanied by teachers John, Hannah, and Ronnie.

Avondale College has an extensive nursery where the students grow the native plants from seedlings provided by TFS.  A few weeks ago we picked up the plants from the College and the students helped us load up the truck.

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There was a big question about whether the planting day today would go ahead because the weather forecast was for lots of wind and rain.  But we had blue skies and calm weather in the morning so we decided to go ahead.  Gail Farrell from the TFS programme arrived early to organise the site and to lay out the plants.

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The students arrived a little after ten.  Because they came in a big double decker bus they got dropped off at the front gate and walked up to the cottage.

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Also joining us for the day were Colin, Hazel and Mark of the Auckland Western Springs Rotary Club, who sponsor the TFS programme at Avondale College, and Mark Vincent of the Otomatea HarbourCare Society.  We all got acquainted over morning tea.

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Mahrukh gave a welcome and a short introduction to the CUE Haven project.  Gail then gave a safety briefing and described the plan for the day.

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We then had our first big challenge of the day.  This year we are planting at the very top of the property—about a kilometre from the cottage.  Because we had such a large group it was impractical to drive people up in small groups so we had to walk!

It gave the students a chance to see some of the plantings that previous Avondale College students had done and also to see the different stages of development of the regenerating bush.

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Once everyone got to the planting site and caught their breath, Gail gave another safety briefing and a planting demo.

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The group then went to work.  The planting site was long and narrow with a slight slope.  But the group coped very well.

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Some students were so busy planting they didn’t want to be interrupted to have their picture taken!

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The weather stayed fine and it was a fun a productive planting day.

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In a little over two hours the group managed to plant out the entire area marked for them.  We then took a leisurely walk back to the cottage.  It was much easier going downhill!

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And then it was time for a relaxing lunch before the students headed back to town–it was a great day and we all had fun and accomplished a lot.

We would like to thank Nestle NZ for providing the delicious Nestle hot chocolate drinks for the students which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Also a big thank you to Mark for his interest in our project and for coming out to help today.  We really appreciate it!

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And many thanks too to Colin, Hazel and Mike for their much appreciated help today and the Western Springs Rotary for supporting the TFS program at Avondale College.

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And a huge thank you to Gail.  Gail has managed every TFS planting day we’ve had at CUE Haven and we really appreciate your friendship, advice and support.

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Big thanks to teachers, John, Hannah and Ronnie.  We enjoy working with you and appreciate how well you handle all the technical and logistic challenges of planting days.

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And finally a very BIG THANK YOU to the hard working students. You have made a significant contribution to the CUE Haven project and our environment by planting these trees. 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!

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