Monthly Update April 2017
Environmental Educator Report
The main event for this month was the Manawahe Multisport
race for secondary schools. Thirty seven teams from five different secondary
schools participated in this race during the pouring rain. This was an entry
level race and for many of the participants this was their first attempt at
multi-sport racing. With the weather so wet, it took a bit of courage from the
students to actually start and get going. But once the race was underway it was
smiles all around and you could really see how much fun the students had
getting wet and muddy. We did modify the course because of the weather and had
a start and finish at the Eco centre. This ensured that students were warm and
dry when they started and they could also get changed into dry gear immediately
after the race. Outdoor activities for teenagers are all about real risk and
perceived risk. More than half the groups got lost in the rain and they all had
to find their own way back to the centre, which gave them an enormous boost of
confidence. What they did not know was that they were never more than 700 metres
away from the Eco centre and that we knew where they were even when they
thought they were lost. We are planning to make this event annually.
Another really positive experience was the recent visit from
Trident's Special Education unit. These students are preparing for an overnight
stay and came to check out the Eco Centre as possible venue. There is a wide
range of abilities in this cohort of students and many of them were able to
appreciate the predator control work we do at the trust. They will be coming
back for more visits to the area.
Development Co-ordinator report
I did the rodent monitoring in Pickfords and the Cell Tower
blocks. The results were interesting in that there was only one rat print over
both blocks so a 2% index (anything below 5% is good, zero is better!) but we
had 58% mice tracking. A mini plague! It
may be that as we have suppressed the rats with trapping and toxin there has
been an opportunity for the mice to exploit the empty niche space. I will be
very keen to see if our baiting round this weekend will knock over the mice.
Mice eat invertebrates and seeds as well as providing a food supply for mustelids
so we do want to knock them out before winter.
Nice to see Robins and Tomtits while doing the rounds and I would like
to get MET doing small bird surveys in the Cell Tower to get some useful data
on the impact of keeping the rats and other pests at low levels.
We are now on once a month rounds and Gaye has done a lot of analysis
of the trapping data which will help focus our future plans to expand our
network. We still need to keep expanding our volunteer pool to support our
future development. So if you would like to volunteer or know of someone who
would please let us know.
Due to the adverse weather forecast for the weekend of the 30 April we
decided to postpone the Bunny Hunt until Sunday 14 May. Let's hope for better
weather conditions! Have poster/flyers in Hunting and Fishing, The Great Outdoors and Wrightsons and have got the sponsors
organising the prizes. And it will be advertised on 1XX Bulletin Board so
here's hoping for a great day!