Sunday, June 12, 2016

New page created

Double click to enlarge
There has been a new page created called Tips on restoring Hamilton gullies. Check it out on the left side of this page. It is designed to be helpful to schools that are involved in gully restoration projects and to encourage Hamilton people who own their own gully section to develop them in an environmentally friendly way.

Giant Willow Aphids causing mayhem

Poisoned willows after four years
The honey dew excreted by the Giant Willow Aphid is causing a black soot like substance to form on all the under story plants. This is causing concern as it would be expected to effect the ability of the under story plants to thrive due to substantially reducing their ability to photosynthesize.
We have decided to bring forward our plan to poison off all the willows. The under story seems well enough established to compete with any annual weeds that may grow when the ground is exposed to sun light.
Once dead the willows take about four to five years before they start to fall down so during this time they will still give a certain amount of protection to the under story.

Soot like substance on the under story plants compared to a normal
fern leaf

Pest control

Hamilton City Council contractors, Biosecurity, are doing the second bait control for rats. They started on 13th April and will have their bait stations out until the 16th July.
Tracking card showing rat prints
We serviced our bait stations last on the 20th February. By the 19th March all but three stations (out of twelve) had the baits cleared out by rats. That would be the most activity we would have had since we started our rat control programme in January 2012. Knowing Biosecurity were installing their bait stations we cleared the bait out the remaining three on the 19th March.
We have thirteen tracking tunnels to monitor rat activity through our gully and down to the south end of Sovereign Isles. Inked cards were put out on the 13th April just prior to the Biosecurity drop and three had rat prints all up the Sexton Road end. We will monitor again after the 16th July.
We believe the reinfestation of both rats and possums is very high.  The only way to arrest this is probably to extend the control area so that it creates a buffer zone to our restoration area.

Rototuna Primary School enviroschools activities

On Wednesday 24th of March, Room 24 at Rototuna Primary School went to help the Mangaiti Restoration Trust plant part of the gully floor. This was an important day for our school as the children made the connection between what is happening in the Mangaiti section of the gully and our school section.  They could see how the plants that we were raising and planting in the gully, had specific areas they needed to be planted in.  This also helped to build our awareness of ‘whanaungatanga – relationships.  The children saw how working as a team could make great change for the people, flora and fauna of the area. They thoroughly enjoyed working and learning from an exciting team of volunteers.  Rototuna Primary gifted a range of native saplings to the Trust as a koha for their gully. These saplings had been grown from seed by the school children and had been donated to them from Trees for Survival and Enviroschools.  This was a gesture that was significant as the children learn to give back to those who have helped them.  In 2015, the Trust donated saplings for us to plant in our ‘Annual Gully Plant Out,’ we were very grateful for this gesture and we hope that this partnership continues to grow in the future. As a result of this day, Rototuna Primary School have been invited to build Bat Houses.  These will be donated to other gully restoration teams, as we continue to build positive working relationships with our community. We look forward to seeing our Bat Houses in the gullies around the area.

Here are the important voices – the words of the children about the experience.

It inspired me to look at insects more instead of freaking out about them.
We brought nature to life.”
We all work together as team on planting the flax, harakeke.”
All of us are digging a hole, then putting in the flax, then planting the flax to grow by saying, “Kia Kaha – be strong.”

Trees for gullies scheme Canned

Unfortunately Hamilton City Council has canned their very successful eco sourced trees for gullies programme that ran for many years and will only consider supplying plants to people who are restoring a gully that is on council administered land. This goes hand in hand with the council canning of the sustainability strategy that had been developed by the previous council.
Those living in the Kirikiriroa gully catchment can register on with Mangaiti Gully Restoration Trust and we may be able to supply some trees in future seasons.

Check out mister frog

Mister Frog was found in our shade house when we were doing a major sort out. Note how black he is to blend in with the weed mat and black pots. He looks very fat. He (who said he was a male?) must be eating all the slugs and invertebrates.