SERN Spring Restoration Bus Trip Saturday 7 November 2015
SERN/Biodiversity Southland Spring Field Day - 7 November 2015
The first stop was a small fragment of the original Heddon Bush, which stands in a paddock, an island of biodiversity. The enthusiasm of the Heddon Bush School pupils, parents and principal for their restoration project at ‘The Donut’, as they have nicknamed this small remnant, was great to see. Their ongoing dedication to the project is ensuring a life for this remnant which would have struggled to survive long term without their input. Annual planting and maintenance of these by the school is returning an understory, which includes threatened plant species.
The Solid Energy planting project was interesting to see - getting 39,000 plants in the ground is a massive effort and makes for a significant restoration area around the pond, created by an open cast coal mine there. John McCorkindale described the work undertaken on Solid Energy’s behalf to restore this area, a condition of resource consent for the mine. Arne Cleland of Pukerau Nursery described the work he undertook in propagating the plants to go in here from seed from nearby natural areas, otherwise known as ecosourcing. This is important for two reasons - to retain local genetic diversity and to establish plants hardy enough for the local conditions.
With our lunchstop at the Otautau Arboretum, Sandra McKenzie, chair of the Trust who oversees this once Forest Service display area, told us about the history of the area. She described the wetland area that the Trust has planted out in recent years, with help from the Southland Community Nursery.
At Ermedale, dairy farmer David Diprose shared his philosophies and thoughts on managing the land well. The different wetland developments showed the variety of ways you can improve water quality and associated ecosystems. His appreciation for the natural environment with the fencing off of the forest remnants in gullies and along the Pourakino River, including the old oxbow, showed the good land stewardship that sees our environment in a better place. The other thing that shone through was his willingness to work with other parties to get the best outcome. David has also been a driver of the setting up of a Pourakino Catchment Care Group. Speakers at Diproses included David Moate (ES Land Sustainability Officer), Zane Moss (Fish & Game), Janet Gregory (Landcare Trust), Chris Mangion (CPM Environmental) and Jesse Bythell (QEII National Trust).
Thanks to Environment Southland for sponsoring the bus for the day.