Past Events

2018 SERN Spring Field Trip

3 November 2018

Another interesting day in the field enjoyed by the 28 participants. We started with a short stop at Dave Milligan Park, where we were joined by Graham Milligan who gave us a brief history of the area. Native plantings had been undertaken there by Rural Women (commemorating 100 years of Women’s Suffrage, 25 years prior), the Men of the Trees group and Southland Farm Forestry. These plantings are left to do their own thing now and are looking well established.

At the Rural Womens Wetland we were greeted by Jesse Bythell, who optomistically suggested our raincoats wouldn’t be needed as the sun was shining and it looked a lovely day. Jesse has been involved with the wetland in her capacity as QEII National Trust Southland Representative, as the Rural Women have placed an Open Space Covenant over the area. We broke in to two groups, with one lot exploring the northern wetland, while the second troop set off south to plant 50 cabbage trees in a more open area near the bottom pond. These trees form a part of another Rural Women commemorative plot, this time celebrating 125 years of Women’s Suffrage, with the intention of planting a cabbage tree for each one of those years. This will be an impressive sight in years to come, and is most apt when you think that the pine forest here was originally planted with pines propagated in the early WDFF lady’s gardens and planted by them on the hillslopes above this wetland. As the last trees went in the rain fell to ensure they got off to a good start.

In the comfort and warm of the Mossburn Community Centre we had our lunch and dried off. This was followed by a report from the different groups in attendance on the work that had been going on in their areas. Ali Meade, Biosecurity & Biodiversity Operations Manager, Environment Southland gave an update on what was happening in the biodiversity field and introduced the new Environment Southland Biodiversity Programme Leader, Mark Oster.

Richard Bowman, trustee for the Mid Dome Wilding Pines Trust, then gave a presentation on the historic background and present work being undertaken. Richard has a vast knowledge of this work, as well as the national wilding pine programme, being involved as Biosecurity Manager for Environment Southland for many years until his retirement last autumn.

We then headed up to Five Rivers Cafe, where Richard described further the work that has been undertaken, costing millions of dollars. Interestingly he also pointed out that work had been done in the Eyre Mountains on wilding pines as well, however it was carried out when the problem was in the early stages and so has been much easier to get under control. He also commented on the danger of douglas fir being another wilding problem, as the seeds of that species is very light and has potential to be wind spread some distance.

As we travelled Jesse gave a commentary on the ecological districts and some of their botanical features, while Brian Rance also added snippets here and there.

A very informative day and thanks go to the Rural Women and Dipton Landcare Group for hosting us at the Castledowns Wetland and to Richard Bowman for his presentation on behalf of the Mid Dome Wilding Pines Trust. Thanks to those who helped with their commentaries along the way. Also a big thanks to Environment Southland for sponsoring the bus cost for the day.

Working bee at Dipton Wetland in preparation for SERN trip

14 October 2018

Hi Wetlanders,

Another field day is planned for the 14th October and we are going to focus on clearing an area for planting to commemorate Suffrage year with planting to happen when the SERN Southland Environment Restoration Network bus trip comes on the 3rd November. RWNZ has previously planted for this Suffrage cause 25 years ago so its lovely to look at that planting and see the lasting benefit of that.

Hope you can join us . Please check the Facebook if it looks as though there is flooding and Sandra will put up a notice.

See you then


OLG's Annual Bushy Point Big Planting Day

8 September 2018

Come along for the family friendly BIG PLANTING DAY at Bushy Point, Otatara on Saturday 8 Sepember 2018 from 10am-noon with a BBQ to follow. Access to the planting area is from Bryson Road.

If you can’t make it along on the 8th, there is the monthly Bushy Point work days to help out with. Next one is on Sunday 26 August from 1-3 pm.

Contact Barry Smith 2131500 or email Enable JavaScript to view protected content. for more details.

Castledowns Dipton Wetland Working Bee August

19 August 2018

We have got a day sorted for you to head off into the unknown. Please all come and join us for more weeding, exploration and food.

Date 19th August 1 pm . Bring tools, gumboots, overalls and afternoon tea.

Bring your friends .

Watch for us and like us on Facebook

Ann Irving <Enable JavaScript to view protected content.>

Garden Bird Survey 2018

30 June - 8 July 2018

Pull out the note book, dust off the binoculars and make a flask of tea, it’s Garden Bird Survey time again.

The annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey is about to get underway and we need your help. No matter how big or small your garden is, if you have lots of birds or no birds we want to hear from you. The more surveys that are compelted the more accurate the results will be so it is important for everyone to participate.

The annual survey is a great opportunity to get a snapshot picture of bird life in the region, which also helps feed into the bigger picture of biodiversity within Southland. The results from the last ten years are now available (here) and show a decline in some of our favorite native species including bellbirds.

It only takes one hour at any time during the week from 30 June until 8 July. There’s an easy form to capture the information and a bird identification poster online at