Diary 4

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Date: 
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Field Trip Name: 
Ecological Restoration
Field Trip Place: 
Christchurch
Weather: 
Fine
Where You Are: 
Tiromoana Bush

Kia ora koutou

It was another cracker day here at Tiromoana Bush today. We’ve certainly been lucky with the weather! We were able to get to the coastline today. Fantastic views as you will see in today’s images and videos.

Web conference

We had our final web conference again at the Kate Valley Landfill office. Greytown was our speaking school. Like yesterday, the students asked excellent questions. There has been some great learning throughout the web conferences this week. Go to the web conferences page to access any of the recordings.

David Norton was our expert again, and this morning Fraser Maddigan also joined us. Fraser is a pest monitoring and control expert. He has supplied tracking tunnels for the field trip evaluation prize. Make sure you get the field trip evaluation in on time for a chance to win one.

Be a pest detective

After the web conference we went down the valley near Kate Pond. It was here that we helped Fraser set up some tracking tunnels. Tracking tunnels are a good tool to use for finding out what pesky critters there might be in an area. They’re easy to use and fun too!

Inside the tunnel there is a strip of cardboard with an ink pad on it. In the middle of the cardboard is some bait. When an animal runs through the tunnel to get to the bait, it steps in the ink and leaves footprints behind on a piece of cardboard. That’s when the detective work comes into play, as you then must match the footprints to the animal that made them.

Pest control

Once you figure out what pests there are in an area, you then need to decide how to get rid of them. Fraser showed us several examples of traps and bait stations that are available. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of them! You will have to watch the video to see what’s available for the various pests you may need to control.

Pigs and deer

Speaking of pests, David showed us some damage to restoration sites that have been made by deer and pigs. Deer browse on vegetation can badly affect restoration planting. They also rub their antlers on trees which removes bark. This can sometimes kill the tree, and we saw examples of planted tōtara that were victims of this action. Deer have now been removed from Tiromoana Bush and a deer fence goes right around the area to keep them out.

Pigs are also a pest. They stop forest growth by digging up the forest floor in search of grubs and roots. David showed us a couple of different areas where pigs have caused damage. They certainly can mess up an area!

Coastal lookout

We finished the day on the coast at the Ella Peak lookout. The views are stunning on a day like today. Towards the south you can see Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. To the north you can see Motunau Island and the Kaikoura Ranges. It was the perfect spot to have some lunch and chat with David to summarise the field trip.

As it has been Conservation Week, you may be thinking about a restoration project or other conservation action to get involved in. The key is that anything you can do will help. It all adds up as part of the bigger picture so get out there and get amongst it!

On larger projects such as Tiromoana Bush, the vision can often be long term. David hopes to extend the project beyond Tiromoana Bush and create a network of wildlife corridors. These corridors allow native animals to move from place to place safely and are areas where there is food and habitat to support them.

David is also passionate about creating areas for the public to use and enjoy. You may find yourself that getting out and exploring natural areas encourages you to want to preserve them now and into the future. I have certainly been inspired to get involved in my own restoration project after visiting Tiromoana Bush this week.

Hope to see you on another field trip soon! Mā te wā,

Andrew

Andrew and the ambassadors on this morning's web conference with experts David Norton and Fraser Maddigan. Image: LEARNZ.

Tracking tunnels are a good tool to use when finding out what pests might be in an area. Image: LEARNZ.

Looking inside the tracking tunnel. How do you lure the animal inside? Image: LEARNZ.

When the animal goes through the tracking tunnel they walk over black ink and leave footprints. What animal do you think left these prints? Image: LEARNZ.

This little critter has smaller prints than the previous image. What might have left these? You may need to look at the video from today to find out. Image: LEARNZ.

What pest animal do you think has messed up this ground? Image: LEARNZ.

The same pest animal that caused damage shown in the previous image has also damaged this area. Sadly it has almost killed this young tōtara as a result. Image: LEARNZ.

Do you know what animal has scraped bark off this tōtara? Why is this bad for the tree?Image: LEARNZ.

A deer fence surrounds all of Tiromoana Bush to keep them from damaging the restoration planting. What do you think the little gate is for? Image: LEARNZ.

David and Fraser take in the magnificent views at the Ella Peak viewing platform. Image: LEARNZ.

Looking north from the viewing platform towards Motunau. Can you see the restoration planting that has been done recently? Image: LEARNZ.

David, Andrew and Fraser with the ambassadors at the Ella Peak lookout. What has been key learning for you from this week's field trip? I wonder if you now have some restoration projects in mind. Image: LEARNZ.