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May 2021 update

Educator’s Report

Term 1 at the centre has been amazing with school groups most days.

Key points

  • 19 Intermediate classes have visited the centre. The programme has been amazing with great feedback from the teachers and the students. The follow up is myself and Gaia Ohare from Halo going into the school during the first week of next term to set the traps.
  • Otakiri school: We had Otakiri year 2/3 visit for a day. This was their first trip up to the centre. The focus for them was on nativie birds and pests. It was a busy but fun day. The Year 6/7/8 came up for their second visit this term. They were great and freed 60 trees from weeds in the Jones block.
  • Little Orchard Preschool: It was fun having the little ones up again. We had a wet day but the kids were well prepared for the bad weather. We played bird pest games, did the bird treasure hunt, and looked at pests, traps and made footprints.
  • Apanui: It was really nice hosting Apanui for free.   With up to 50 students in each class it made for a busy but fun day. The groups were transported on buses which were paid for by the Ministry of Education so it mean’t for a free day out for the school. It is good to have shown Apanui what we do at Manawahe. .

Sadly, the focus this term has not been on the food forest so the garden looks a little neglected, there is still plenty of kale, the odd pumpkin and plenty of parsley to be harvested and the apples are delicious.

The first 3 weeks of term 2 are still busy, with the in-school rat trap programme at Whakatane Intermediate, Kawerau South camp in week 2 and Otakiri School year 3-4 returning for their second visit. Trident Special Education centre and Tarawera are returning again this year for 2 trips during the term.

On May 27th we will be holding our Schools Multisport race. It will start and finish at the centre. Students will be running and mountain biking on the road and on local farms. If you have a spare few hours and would like to be a volunteer for this event please let me know. Ph 021 906 132

Thanks

Helen

Environmental Educator

Development Coordinator’s Report

The Manawahe Ecotrust and the Kokako trust pooled resources in April to complete the baiting of the Cell Tower block and the Kokako block. This involved around 35 volunteers placing bags of Pindone toxin in around 500 bait stations to control rats and possums. This is a very effective technique and the rat tracking monitors show a tracking index of less than 1%. This doesn’t mean no rats but they are at low numbers and well below the key figure of 5% needed for successful bird breeding. A huge thank you to our wonderful team of volunteers.

MET has welcomed 4 new volunteer trappers this month and we now have all of our trap lines well covered. There are over 400 traps in the area targeting mustelids, hedgehogs, rats, possums and feral cats which are all major threats to our native wildlife particularly ground nesting species such as the endemic NZ falcon. We are very fortunate to have Karerea (Falcon) in the Manawahe area as they are much rarer than Kiwi.

Both trusts are keen to get some wallaby control underway this winter and are waiting on the outcomes of several funding applications to support this work. We are also interested in supporting deer control where landowners are willing to have numbers reduced. Both of these browsers are having a significant impact of forest composition and limiting biodiversity recovery.

MET would welcome approaches from any landowners with blocks of native forest that would like support to manage the pest species on their properties

Radio NZ has an interesting article by journalist Hugo Cameron about pests on farmland and this is food for thought. Here is an extract;

“Even after pest control work, pests cross large areas of farmland to rapidly reinvade forests, new research shows.

University of Waikato researchers used cameras to monitor how pests were spreading into areas thought to have been cleared.

Over two years they monitored 32 cameras set up across the region for the study.

A report, released last week, details their findings that more pests were spotted than had been expected.

Study co-author Brandon Breedt said some farm infrastructure such as fence lines and drainage ditches was treated by pests as “highways”, leading them back to areas of native bush where pest control had taken place.

“They can travel across long reaches of farmland just to reinvade those patches of native forest again.”

Breedt said the research showed that pest control operations should cover not just large blocks of forest, but also the surrounding pastures and smaller forested areas at the same time.

He said that was especially important for Waikato, as farms covered more than half the available land.

“Even if the individual numbers [of pests] per hectare of farmland is lower than in the forest, because the farmland takes up so much space there is quite a bit of pests still in the area.

“So, there’s no point targeting just the pine forest or the native forest block beside the farm.”

You can find the whole article from Radio New Zealand here:

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/442239/pests-use-farm-fences-as-highways-to-reinvade-native-forests

Peter Fergusson

Development Coordinator