It has been a busy month at the centre!
• The roll out of the traps at Whakatane Intermediate is finished. The map of the traps is located on the Halo website. Halo are now linking in with the school to start logging the data. The number of rats caught so far is quite amazing. A Kotuku has been spotted on the lagoon in the last week. Connecting the beautiful native birds to the trapping programme is incredibly important.
• Otakiri School year 4/5 came to the centre for their second visit this year. The focus was on native trees. These students started the planting of the trees for this year in the Jones block next to the centre.
• Otakiri Year 6/7/8 have also set up 16 rat traps around their school. This was part of the Manawahe programme and they are going to keep connected with us especially with numbers of rats caught.
• The big event of the month was the Multisport race. The day was great with the course being set on the farm across the road, Pippa Strong’s block and Chattan farm. Student and teacher feedback has been good. Thank you for all the support with this event!
• Whakatane High school visited with a Year 12 Education for Sustainability and Health class. We started at Karaponga reserve looking at native bush, then moved to the centre where Peter did a lesson on pests/traps etc. The day finished with tree planting.
• Trident Special Education had their first visit for the year. The day was cold and wet but we still managed some games and insect house building plus tree planting.
This will be my final report as the Environmental Educator for Manawahe. I have loved my time in this role at Manawahe, it has been so nice teaching and learning in such an amazing environment. I would like to thank all the trustees and team at MET for supporting me in this role. I am proud of what we have achieved over the last 2 ½ years, it is exciting to be handing over to Hilary Hurst to continue developing the programmes at the centre. My connection with Manawahe will not be lost as I intend to bring my students, in my new role at Whakatane Intermediate School, back to the centre to enjoy all the cool things that Manawahe offers. The new Environmental Educator Hilary Hurst will introduce herself in the newsletter next month!
Development Co-coordinator’s Report
A good number of gains this month:
With the help of a group of volunteers we completed a rodent monitor in the Cell Tower and were very pleased to get zero rats and 8% mice. This is well below the target 5% needed for bird breeding to be successful.
Some of the same volunteers helped install our new AT220 resetting traps into the North Eastern block of the cell tower. This area has always had bait stations but only had traps on the western margin. In the process we “found” a huge Puriri tree that is probably close to 1000 years old.
We have also expanded our bait station networks on a property close to Matata to protect a lovely stand of native trees.
I went around a property on Herepuru rd. where the bait stations were being rapidly emptied of pindone every time they were baited. The solution was to give them a good dose of feratox ( cyanide pellets ) with spectacular results. Possums are greedy animals and will actually defend or guard bait stations. A possum and can eat up to 600g of pindone before succumbing to the toxin. If you have lots of possums it is very hard to control rats with Pindone as the possums will keep guzzling the toxin preventing other pests accessing the toxin.
We have made some progress on wallabies with the Regional Council offering materials and contractor time to do some control work using toxins and this work can begin this winter while the rats and possums are in low numbers