Te Ara Kākāriki educates locals about Native Plants

Sunday 15th April 2018

A young ecology student, Tim Logan had the opportunity to showcase his native restoration planting at the first of four sites at an annual Plantout Tour last Sunday. The tour is organized each year by Te Ara Kākāriki (TAK) Greenway Canterbury Trust to educate and motivate local people and community groups to revegetate areas in Selwyn back to Native Habitat.

Tim’s West Melton restoration site of about 2,000 native plants provided an inspiring backdrop to the morning tour. As a high school student back in 2012, he convinced his parents to set aside a portion of the family’s lifestyle block for native revegetation. Since then they have planted about 400 native plants each year with the help of volunteers. Tim is now studying ecology at the University of Canterbury and is bursting with more enthusiasm and knowledge year by year. He has started collecting seed and nursing his own seedlings.

Tim remarked this morning before the tour started “I’m excited to show Colin Meurk how much the Greendot has developed, it’s been years since he has seen it”. Colin Meurk, Landcare Research Ecologist was a key note speaker for the morning session and spoke to the group about the history of the Canterbury Plains and how over the past 150 years the decline of native remnants due to human activity has resulted in there being only 0.5% of native cover. He explained the science behind TAK’s Greendot vision “research has shown that birds disperse seeds 2.5km from their source, therefore planting Greendots every 5km will ensure a sustainable native landscape” During a walk through his greendot, Tim showed us how the tussocks he planted 5 years ago were now spreading naturally. Visitors were able to view some native trees already high above their heads Native birds are frequent visitors and Tim is hopeful that bellbirds will soon move in permanently. A cheeky fantail flew over as he explained how he hardly waters the site but during the past harsh summer he had needed to.

Before the tour, Mike Bowie, Lincoln University Entomologist disappeared into the Greendot to see what he could find. He then kept the crowd captivated while he spoke of the resident insects and invertebrate living at the site. Among many, he pointed out a funnel web spider nest in a Coprosma and as he spoke a native yellow admiral butterfly flitted by. “Insects and invertebrate provide the greatest diversity in an environment like this and we can encourage this in our own gardens by providing dark spaces, dead wood, leaf litter or even Weta motels” Mike said. He then went on to explain how many insects are dependent on our native plants. For instance, there are ten species who live only on our native Cabbage trees and there is also the Kowhai Moth who only feeds on Kowhai.

The four sites visited across the morning and afternoon tours are part of 57 native greendots planted in conjunction with Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway Trust since 2006. Greendots are patches of native plantings and are part of the Trust’s vision to create a greenway linking Canterbury’s mountains to the sea.

Susan Hall and Kevin Dunn’s property in Kirwee had barely a native plant in sight when they purchased the land, Just three years ago they began planting their native Greendot. It now contains an impressive 5000 plants surrounded by wide winding paths. Guests were quite impressed with how established their Greendot was after such a short time with several commenting this had changed their views of native plants being too slow growing.

With snow-covered mountains in the background Colin explained to the guests how there are several stages of native restoration. The first stage is usually fast growing but is essential as it acts as protection or a nursery for the secondary plantings which may be frost tender or need shelter. The afternoon tour restoration sites in Hororata and Colgate were equally inspiring and were ready for understory planting.

For the TAK team, the tour was a wonderful opportunity to come back to see properties they’ve visited several times for planning and planting and celebrate the success of the projects. Much of the year Trustees are focused on gathering funds from avenues such as the Ministry for the Environment, Selwyn District Council, and Central Plains Water- Environment Management Fund, just to name a few. It really is encouraging to think that six years ago Tim’s place was just an empty paddock and now it is a thriving native environment growing well above our heads, supporting a myriad of insects, invertebrate and visiting birds.

For the 25 guests attending in the morning tour it was a chance to learn from the experts how a restoration site like these ones comes about and how to get involved. Whether that be as a volunteer at a Spring planting day, or as a landowner beginning their own Greendot on their family property, the feeling is that each Greendot is the product of many hands and part of a greater plan – a stepping stone.

If you would like to get involved, there will be volunteer planting events held at several locations during the Spring season or ask us how we can assist with your native planting project at office@kakariki.org.nz

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Applications open: start restoring native habitat on your land

Apply for our support to plant the right native species on your land.
We can assist you with a restoration plan by an ecologist specifically for your site.  We also have a small amount of contestable funds to purchase plants and plant guards.

In the Spring we organize native planting days with volunteers. For an application: email:  office@kakariki.org.nz

We also hold a special program fund for landowners living in the Hororata area, Offering 520 plants for up to 6 landowners in 2018 and 2019.

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Kids Discovery Plantout Days 2017

I hea koe i te ao o te kowhai?     Where were you when the kowhai bloomed?

The first school to return to planting in their local environment this year was West Melton primary, at Kowhai Reserve. They were blessed with the kowhai flowering everywhere.

The theme for their plantout was investigations into natural textures, natural colours and beauty. This was particularly present in a weaving exercise with natural things from the environment.

One hundred and thirty two West Melton School students in Years 2 & 3 arrived at Kowhai Reserve / The Willows.

Thank you to Environment Canterbury for providing plants and combi guards.

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Community Planting Days September 2017

Thank you to all the volunteers this season !

Photo above: featuring Plantout on Early Valley Road  Sept 30th. 

We are well on our way to planting over 10,000 native plants this season ! Over 300 volunteers from the Community, and hundreds of school students have participated.

We planted at numerous sites in the Hororata Catchment this year, thanks to our Community Environment Fund focused on this area.

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Plantout Tour Highlights from April 9th

Starting a native planting project on your farm is a lot easier with the right advice and support from the community. Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway Canterbury Trust hosted our annual Plantout tour on Sunday April 9th in two locations across the Selwyn District with a growing number of interested people.

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Kids Discovery Monitoring Days

From March to June this year, Lou Drage (TAK) and Matt Stanford (Enviroschools) have been taking small groups of students from our Kids Discovery Plantout schools out for monitoring sessions. Under this wooden disk, Glentunnel school found the following species; slugs, millipedes, a crane fly, ants, earthworms, slaters, a swift ground spider, weevils, a flatworm and an unknown Spider!
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Stackwoods Bend Crowdfunder Success

Thank you everyone who supported our first ever crowd funding campaign for this Stackwoods Bend restoration project. We raised $9,000 with all of your support. We will now commence planting at this site in rainy Spring – date set for September 6th.

The goal of this project is to restore a small portion of the Halswell / Huritini River along the stretch on Old Tai Tapu Road, locally known as ‘Stackwoods Bend’, which is very visible to people passing by.

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Remedial work to come for Port Hills

Port hills image during the fire period. Image from Suff

There have been many discussions amongst local councils and ecologists about how to remediate the burnt hills, what to do now, and what to do later. A big concern is the risk of erosion from the first rains we get causing sedimentation in our streams. We are also aware that bare soil without management can bring on a large flux of broom and gorse for example; unwanted, non-native, fire hungry species. Te Ara Kākāriki is continuing to be part of the conversation and there will be a public talk coming up soon, so watch out for it.
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160 volunteers cheerfully planted 3,020 native plants

The Canterbury Plantout on September 3rd 2017 was a beautiful sunny day. 160 volunteers cheerfully planted 3,020 native plants

planting Devine Smiths 02Volunteers arrived at Ararira Wetland/Yarrs Flat on the shore of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.  This is a Department of Conservation (DOC) Wildlife Reserve and a small part of it, previously used for grazing, is now the focus of a restoration planting project. The Plantout event was supported by Living Water, a partnership between Fonterra and the Department of Conservation, which is working to improve biodiversity and water quality in five significant dairying regions across New Zealand.

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