Education report My highlight of this month is the Manawahe Multisport Race for Schools, which was held on the 5th of April. This race saw 82 students with their teachers and parents enjoy the beautiful landscape of Manawahe. The weather was great, the volunteers fantastic and the race took place without any incidents. A very successful day. Many thanks to Whakatane Great Outdoors for sponsoring this event with great
The race itself does not have any conservation result, but its aim is to create awareness of the conservation
effort we have in these hills. In this it was successful, as a few parents talked about becoming volunteers, a few teachers did not know about our conservation education and are now considering bring their class and on top of
everything we had a nice article in the Beacon. I'd like to thank all the volunteers for their efforts on the day. Without them, this event could not take place.
Just prior to the Multisport race, we had two secondary schools visit for a camp. The visits were very different, and both saw the students engaging with conservation in Manawahe. The Year 12 girls from Tauranga Girls High did a comparison monitor between Brent Mountfort's farm and Bob Williams'. The result was that both farms are fairly similar in predator levels and this provided a great discussion topic about the subtle difference and the possible reasons for these.
Two Year 11 Health classes from Trident camped on the grounds and did some water activities on the lake. They also had an introduction into predator control at the Eco Centre. It was great to see that our water system could handle 55 students at one time on an overnight stay!
I continue to be involved with Matata Primary and will visit their year 5/6 class on the 8th May. They will be setting up a predator control area on their school grounds.
I have also organised a working bee, to revamp the nature trail around the centre and get some black berries
under control. This is dated for Friday 11 May so may miss publication.
There are no confirmed upcoming events, but there are a few in the pipeline. I expect Trident year 10 Great
Barrier class for a camp later this term and also their Service Academy for a working bee. Tarawera High school has requested info about a biology camp and Rotorua Lakes has expressed interest as well.
Environmental Co-ordinator's Report
Rats We completed a rat monitor through Pickford's and the Cell tower area and got a 10% rat index which is higher than expected but it has been a good season for rat reproduction. We usually get a result of zero or close to it. Thanks to the volunteers Graham Bagnall, Phi Alley, Fran, Tyler and friend who helped with the monitor.
We completed the baiting of the Pickford's block and the Cell tower on the 22nd and we had a great turnout of 29 volunteers and filled 350 bait stations. This should knock the rats down close to zero and we will bait again in September. Thanks to all the volunteers and especially to the BBQ team. There is now a bit of work to fix lost or broken stations and to clear and remark tracks. Lots of browsing damage by deer noted.
The good news is that by next monitor and baiting we won't face the risk of a dunking in the stream as the District Council has donated us a footbridge. Tim has picked it up and we just need a working B to install it.
Predator control I have delivered loan traps to two more community trappers following requests for help to try and catch killing predators, probably ferrets or feral cats.
I continue to be in communication with NZ Autotraps about our trapping trial and they have achieved their certification for their traps. They are currently assembling the traps for our trial and we should be getting underway next month. Forest and bird has agreed to fund the Good Nature gas traps for the trial and Fonterra has granted us $2000 for the NZ Autotraps so things are falling into place. We are extremely grateful for these two generous donations.
Stoat Trapping We have 2 lines without trappers at the moment. I am doing the Karaponga line as a volunteer but we need to get a couple of new volunteers for line B 22 traps on Mackintosh's farm before spring.