2017 Annual Reports
The Trust has received great support from local schools and community groups in the past twelve months, with visits from numerous schools to increase students' awareness of the environment and conservation, (several schools making return trips) local farming groups have used the facilities for meetings, and we've had visits from several MP's as well as local councillors. The informative wall panels in the Centre have shown the visitors the purpose and work done by the trust.
We were extremely grateful to the East Bay Energy Trust who granted us enough money to have power connected and lighting reinstalled into the school house. A feature that can only improve the safety and comfort of visiting groups. The project is nearing completion and we look forward to a grand 'opening'.
Matata school have introduced a new programme by setting a trap line around the Matata lagoon and it is rewarding to see the school taking responsibility for conservation action in what is the northern boundary of our target area. Peter and Liddy continue to work closely together involving school groups with our
ongoing pest management and monitoring. Students have also been involved with conservation work and tree
planting at properties owned by Mountfords, Weeks, Williams, Greys and Meehans.
There now is a wide range of educational activities for the intermediate school age group as well as the primary school groups. In addition to the science based NCEA programmes that were developed last year. Liddy has now developed an integrated Numeracy course, which combines Maths skills with conservation work.
Logging of the pine trees behind the centre has created an opportunity for a new and improved nature walk. Prior to the logging, there was a 500m long bush track that features all kinds of traps, bait stations and monitor devices. This track is highly popular by visiting groups and our main teaching asset and an extension is now being planned.
The inaugural Multi Sport Race race was held in early April and it despite the rain, it was a great success. It brought around 80 people to our Eco Centre from 5 different Secondary schools. For the two schools from Rotorua this was their first contact with our centre. We are making this an annual event and Liddy is working with Sports Bay of Plenty to get them to endorse this event.
Thanks to our volunteers we continue to run an effective control programme in the Pickford/Cell tower area with 350 bait stations which have been successful in keeping rat and possum numbers very low. We are running two big baiting days a year and on each day we get about 22 volunteers who help fill all of the stations. Clashes with other events and also to bad weather forcing us to have last minute postponement.
Despite this we have been able to keep the rat indices at or about zero which should be low enough to allow successful bird breeding. Anecdotal reports seem to indicate increased numbers of small birds with regular sightings of Robins and Tomtits however we need to look at establishing a small bird monitoring programme to gather some robust data.
During the past year we have been able to consolidate and extend our stoat control so we are now running over 200 stoat traps extending our range into the northern end of Herepuru Rd. We are also about to put a new trap line along Braemar Road. This expansion has been achieved through great support from the Regional Council and increased landowner involvement. And we are delighted to have attracted new volunteers from Manawahe Road and also the wider community. MET relies heavily on a small group of dedicated volunteers who do an amazing job of regularly servicing their trap lines and I really want to acknowledge their dedication and the excellent support of landowners.
We continue to run 12 cat kill traps around the perimeter of the Kokako core area.
Our catch data over the last 11 months is as follows; Feral cats - 30, Ferrets - 60, Rats - 224, Stoats - 51, Weasels - 16, Hedgehogs - 225, Rabbits - 24, Mice - 4.
MET continues to carry out the contract from the Regional Council to co-ordinate the pest control on all of the properties that have Biodiversity Management agreements with the council. This has enabled us to extend our community links to a wider group of land owners. Peter has met with all of these landowners and has delivered all of their bait requirements for the 2017 spring baiting round.
We also continue to run the annual Bunny hunt with mixed success as we collected fewer rabbits (100 compared to 240 in 2016) due to less hunter participation. However we did attract some new community members and as a result got new volunteers for our trapping programme.