We had two events at the Manawahe Eco Centre this month. The first one was a Working Bee on the11th May. The original plan was to work on the weeds in the garden and re-establish our educational trail that was changed after the logging activity. The enthusiasm of and energy of the volunteers that turned up on theday was truly amazing and in addition to the work on the grounds, the schoolbuilding got a good clean as well.
Many thanks to all the volunteers and special mention to Chris and Shona. It is very nice to
see some new faces. The Manawahe Eco Trust was also part of the Treemendous Tree Planting Day 2018. This is an annual event organised by Envirohub Tauranga. The aim is to plant 6000 trees in
6 hours! 100 of these trees were planted in Manawahe. Our thanks to Envirohub Tauranga for the donation of these trees and the volunteers who assisted in the planting.
Both room 1 and 2 from Matata Primary are now actively involved in pest control in their local area. The year 7/8 class continues to trap around the lagoon and the year 5/6 class has a few traps set out on the school grounds. It is nice to have so many budding conservationists in the area.
The next event is the Trident year 10 Great Barrier class which has booked in for 6,7 and 8th June.
Environmental Co-ordinator's Report
The bulk of the activity in May has centred around Veryn Gray's property and the trapping trial. This trial involves using 2 different self resetting traps. One the Goodnature A24 gas powered trap and the other NZ Autotrap's battery powered trap.
The trap sites were fixed by GPS and track markers placed at 150 intervals to give 30 marked sites. These were put into the mapping system
by Gaye Payze and the maps printed. Kevin Bain from NZ autotraps has been over twice to put the 20 electric traps in place and to set up the cameras. Thanks to Peter Murnane, Graeme Bagnall and Peter Gibson who volunteered to help with the heavy lifting. The Good Nature Gas traps arrived later and about half of them have been put into the field.
The final set up will have 40 self-setting traps with at least 12 cameras set up to monitor their activity. All of the traps also have a counter to record any kills. We have 10 traps set up as pairs with the two different traps set up side by side monitored by the one camera. There is also a monitor tunnel next to each trap site. Then there are 10 electric traps set up individually and 10 gas traps set up individually, all with monitor tunnels adjacent to the trap. We will use as many cameras as possible to cover these single traps.
The traps already in place are live and the exciting news is that there are dead rats already appearing under the traps!
The video we have looked at so far has been illuminating as on some we can see rats exploring the tracking tunnels and investigating the bait dipping down onto the forest floor. Rats are supposed to be xenophobic and avoid anything new but this hasn't been the case in this trial.
The initial monitor showed 25% tracking but this will be an underestimate as to my surprise the electric traps started killing immediately. There are three sites where there has been tracking but no kills and the camera has shown rats exploring but not entering the traps. Time will tell if this hesitancy to go into the trap will be overcome. A huge thanks to Fonterra and Forest and Bird for providing much of the funding for this trial.