Monthly update March 2017

03/04/2017 07:54

Environmental Educator report

  Our biggest visiting school group this month was St Joseph's School from Opotiki, who brought their years 1, 2 and 3, a total of 50 students
and 22 adults. The children started with a story game where they learned about the perfect harmony between the trees, birds and insects in a native bush. Some of these little kids were very upset when we introduced the rats and stoats. They were very keen to learn about all possible ways to kill predators andconcluded the day by creating a monitor tunnel out of a milk bottle to monitor the rat population around their school in Opotiki.

The visit from the Queen Elizabeth Trust and the Beef and Lamb workshop saw the centre being used by a different age group. It is nice that this summer the Manawahe Eco centre is not only used for school groups, but also for other groups. To be able to provide better services to these groups we haveinstalled a large projector screen. On behalf of the Manawahe Eco Trust, I have visited Probus Ohope and attended the HALO meeting.

Manawahe Multisport Race

This event took place on April the 4th and involved orienteering, a cross country run and a bike ride. Due to the weather conditions we cancelled
the lake activity. The entries - around 70 participants from seven different secondary schools in the Eastern Bay and Rotorua all participated with great
enthusiasm in spite of the adverse weather conditions. It was wonderful to see so many new visitors - students, teachers, supporters and volunteers at the
centre. From feedback received most schools are keen to compete in an annual event!

Thank you to the locals who showed such courtesy to the students during the bike ride.

Upcoming visits   
5th April: Opotiki college Y12 Bio class     
6th April: Special needs students from Trident visit for a Picnic       
12 April: Whakatane Intermediate school       
27th April: Worm wise workshop

Development Co-ordinators report

The main tasks this month have been around maintaining bait stocks at MacIntosh's, getting more volunteers and doing trap maintenance and
replacement. The Whakatane High School environment group has taken on sharing the Karaponga trap line so it is great to get some younger people involved.

 We also have a couple of new adult volunteers and I have had discussions with Gaye Payze about where MET should look to
expand our trapping effort. We also discussed future directions for MET with a view to getting her input into a long
term strategic plan for MET's biodiversity work.

 We have come up with three possibilities for trapping efforts and will develop this further next week. The possibilities are;  Vyrne Grays block, the exotic forest block to the west of the cell tower  and to intensify the trapping south of the main Kokako block.

I picked up 15 new DOC 250 traps from EBOP Regional Council and have begun replacing the faulty traps with the nice new units. I have also serviced and
adjusted some of the traps that weren't going off at the required weight.

I have attended a couple of meetings on behalf of the trust.

1.  The QE2
Kokako meeting looked at the outcomes from the nest monitoring programme and raised a number of issues around the Manawahe Kokako population. This
population seems to have levelled off and is perhaps declining with nests abandoned and infertile eggs. This could be due to lack of genetic diversity,
poor nutrition, soil nutrient deficiency or an aging population. There was also discussion around the wallaby problem and possible management solutions.

2.   The Halo meeting on the 23rd drew all of the local care groups together to share the achievements of each group and
to discuss the common issues we face and the possible ways the HALO umbrella group might assist.

Next month will be a busy one as we will need to do our rodent monitoring, carry out  our baiting of Pickford's and the Cell Tower and we will also need to have our Bunny Hunt. The Regional Council has agreed to fund the prizes

So two days to remember :-

Sunday 23 April - Baiting Day

Sunday 30 April - Bunny Hunt