SERN Autumn Field Day: Bushy Point

The SERN Autumn Field Day took place at Bushy Point in brilliant, summer levels of sunshine! There were volunteers from groups in Bluff to central Southland, Catlins across to the Aparima and a few local Otatara residents too. It was a wonderful day of discovery for all those who attended. Huge thanks to all those involved both in organising the event and especially to those who have taken part, and continue to be the kaitiaki of this area, taking it from sheep grazed paddocks onto its 500 year journey of restoration to rich kahikatea forest ecosystem that was so rashly felled in a couple of days back in the 70’s. Now Bushy Point will also be interlaced with open tussock patches where people can share time watching the clouds float by with a backdrop of tūī and kākāriki. SERN wanted to showcase what could be achieved in time alongside providing advice where lessons have been learned and Bushy Point was a perfect example.

Barry did an awesome job with facts and figures for every topic alongside descriptions of how much sweat had been shed; in deciding to take on the site in the 90’s, to worrying if anyone would turn up to plant the ready and waiting 6000 plants for the Living Legend event, to repeated planting (with different species!) on areas that no plants seem to be able to grow in and how a spike-grass covered wetland is still heaven for heaps of NZ insects so stop sweating about it! Lloyd described the amazing number of birds to be found here, Brian explained the mix of different shrubs planted and the various methods trialled and Chris gave some of the background plans and how the site provides education through to the wider community with the Community Nursery and school or other group visits. There was plenty of chatter throughout the day - of ideas exchanged to take back to their sites, and many comments of people being impressed by the achievements. There have been so many people involved over the 25years, some were young children at the start and come back now with their own youngsters. Take some time yourself to wander through, help on a planting or weeding day, and if you are looking to get fit perhaps take on a pest trap line.

Environmental Enhancement Fund (EEF)

The closing date for this year’s round (July 2023 - June 2024) is 30 April 2023.

The fund focuses on protecting and improving the biodiversity which arlready exists on your property, rather than creating new areas like new wetlands or riparian buffers.

Southland has lots of special native species and ecosystems that are at risk from animal pests, weeds, drainage and development. Environment Southland is committed to supporting communities and individuals who want to combat these threats and help restore our precious environment.

Examples of actions supported by the fund include:

  • pest animal and weed control
  • fencing
  • work to restore the natural flow of water
  • native planting and plant maintenance.

The fund has been boosted by Jobs for Nature, and now provides up to $300,000 per year for the next four years. The increase in funding is part of our Biodiversity Action on the Ground programme, which received $4.25m from the Ministry for the Environment through Jobs for Nature in 2020.

For more details and to apply, go to:

The Environment Southland Biodiversity team looks forward to hearing from you!

Thomsons Bush Discovery Day

Environment Southland, along with friends from Invercargill City Council, hosted more than 100 intrepid explorers at the Thomsons Bush Discovery Day last Thursday. It was great to see so many families learning about native birds, pests, and ecosystems in this special kahikatea forest remnant in the middle of our town.

The sausage sizzle was a big success, and there was a self guided wicked-weeds walk, taxidermered pest-animals to look at alonside their tracking-tunnel footprints, a ‘learn your birds’ station, and ecology themed giant-jenga.

Staff from Environment Southland, along with families, were observed frantically applying sunscreen, drinking water, and loudly commending the shade-giving properties of Kahikatea throughout the day.

Fiordland Focus Weekend

In November SERN held a fabulous Fiordland Focus weekend in Te anau - visiting Pomona and Rona Islands and other projects - read all about it here

Pest Trapping Workshop at Southland Community Nursery

The Education Centre and property was the venue for the latest two day NMIT Trapping Workshop on 19-20 October. Under Tutor Steve Price, ten participants went through the detail of planning a pest trapping operation, pest species characteristics and behaviours, legal requirements, trap types and operation and then sessions in the field setting out traplines with hip chain and compass and setting up a variety of mustelid, rat and possum traps in the bush. Steve was assisted by Kate Hamilton and Tim Exton from DOC who also brought with them a variety of new traps and tools for people to get hand-on experience with. With the indoor and outdoor settings the Community Nursery is a good location to run practical courses like this. Watch out for more courses like this being run in the future. The biodiversity based courses are run through DOC and available by booking -