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Monthly Update March and April 2020

Education Report

The last four weeks have been very interesting.  The first part of the month saw the centre in full action with camps and keen students, to the last week where camps have had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 concerns.  All camps have been cancelled for the rest of this term; however, the teachers are very keen to re-book for the end of the year all going well.

The Sustainable backyards day didn’t go ahead; however, it was good to have Gail, Peter and myself do a few hours of maintenance and cleaning, without getting too close to each other.

This is a time for me to look at my programmes, develop further activities, increase the marketing of the centre, develop an adult multisport event (that people can do as individuals in self isolation and post their times)  increase stock for weta/insect houses.  There is still plenty to do.

Groups that attended this term:

  • Whakatane Intermediate Syndicate 4: Two classes for 2.5 days. The programme incorporated a community work component and introduced the idea of volunteering to help in the local community.  The students really enjoyed the concept of giving back and some amazing work at the centre was done in one hour.  I also included a lake clean up; it was amazing how much rubbish these two classes collected as part of this programme.  These two classes were the first groups I have taken into the Kokako block to listen for Kokako.  This was an amazing bush and bird experience, one of the groups heard and saw Kokako.  The week was incredibly busy but very rewarding.  They are keen to book again for next year.
  • Trident Special Education Centre is keen to visit again this year. They like to come to the centre and do a project.  This year we started on the shed development; the students helped move all the firewood into the wood bay behind the shed.  This was interesting for them as we came across a perfectly preserved rat. (now on display in the classroom)
  • Trident Level 2 Geography: It was great to have senior students working on an assessment looking at all aspects of 1080.  We started at Karaponga looking at a trap line, and the Karaponga Falls.  Peter did a fantastic presentation on 1080.  The students placed monitor cards at the centre as well as cleared the traps. A kitten was cleared out of the trap by the totara.  They also did a sunrise trip to the top of the Cell tower, which as always was amazing.  This group is keen to book for next year as well.

Project Co-ordinators Report

Trapping: I have done two trap line audits for trappers who are away, and this has been useful in highlighting the state of the traps and the difficulty of the lines in relation to terrain and blackberry. One line has now had all its older traps replaced and is now up to spec. The other line needs five new traps and Graeme Bagnall has volunteered to put new mechanisms into these. And thanks to Graeme this has been done and we now need to get the new traps out into the field.

We have a new volunteer working in the cell tower and I have reorganised the traps in this block to make three lines giving us better coverage and more manageable lines. I have also put a resetting trap into McIvor Road line to replace the last DOC 250 trap in the line. It is a heart breaker at the top of a steep climb, the trappers are happy!

I continue to monitor our five SA cat kill traps and our 10 AT220 resetting traps in the cell tower. The AT220s continue to kill rats, mice and possums.

There are six cameras operating in the cell tower revealing the presence of deer, wallabies, the odd cat as well as rats and possums.

Baiting: Due to the nation- wide lockdown we must postpone our baiting day until May. This is on advice from the Regional Council and puts us in line with the Kiwi Trust, DOC and Regional Council.

Heyden farms kindly donated 300 eggs to support our trapping as we were struggling to keep the rabbit supply going. We are grateful for their ongoing support.

General: DOC has kindly given MET five double set DOC 200s and is planning to get us some AT220s when they become available. Great to have their support. DOC has also loaned us five bat detectors which I am moving about our area to try and identify the location and species of bats in the Manawahe area.

The combined MKT MET Open day went well and the Kokako cooperated. It was great to have people from both groups present and some iwi representation. Thanks to our trustees who demonstrated again their superior BBQ skills.