Kavanagh College year 8 pupils were in the Town Belt at Maori Road on Monday planting trees as part of the annual Project Gold for the reserve. Nearly 30 pupils and staff planted around 200 native trees supplied from local nursery Ribbonwood Nurseries. The trees are supplied by the Dunedin Amenities Society as part of its partnership with the Department of Conservation and the Dunedin City Council and aims to increase the number of Kowhai in the Town Belt for birds. The Society has committed $7500 for five years of funding Project Gold in the city, and this is the second year of planting. Society President Paul Pope was delighted by the hard work of the pupils and the help of Department of Conservation and Delta staff. The Amenities Society has a long association with tree planting and community service and its hoped that the pupils will become the new stewards of the Town Belt. We need young people to take part and learn that conservation is about putting the spade in the ground and letting kids get their hands dirty. Great job Kavanagh. (Click on the pictures to view full size)
Over 20 year ten girls from Otago Girls High School undertook the first Project Gold planting in the Town Belt on Tuesday 11th August. The Amenities Society, Department of Conservation and the Town Belt reserve manager the Dunedin City Council have entered into a partnership to plant more Kowhai in the reserve. The Society will fund 5 years of planting valued at $7,500 in areas around the Town Belt. The Kowhai is an iconic tree that provides valuable feeding opportunities for many native bird species, including the Tui and Bellbird. This years planting in Drivers Road should create a welcome additional area of trees that will enhance the visual and biodiversity quality of the area. It was a frosty start for the pupils, but once they got into their work they quickly warmed up. The planting was also an opportunity for the Society to celebrate as close as possible to to the traditional day of Arbor Day in New Zealand on August the 8th. Well done girls and many thanks to Kevin and the team from Delta, Shirley & Gordon from DCC Parks, John Barkla from DoC and Ribbonwood Nurseries for supplying the trees. This is a great start for Project Gold in our city, well done everyone. (Click on pictures to enlarge)
The Dunedin Amenities Society are to work in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Dunedin City Council on the “Project Gold” initiative in the Dunedin Town Belt. The Society have agreed to contribute $1500 per annum for the next 5 years for suitable kowhai planting projects in the Town Belt. The planting projects will assist in adding new areas of the endemic kowhai important for wider bird feeding and connectivity in the reserve. Project Gold is a Department of Conservation initiative to promote the growth of locally important kowhai around Otago. The Society sees the project as having good connections with its interest in the management and restoration of the Town Belt habitat. It also provides opportunities for schools and community groups to participate in a joint conservation project that is in their own backyard. An official announcement and project start will be in October this year. The first planting will be held in August 2015 to coincide with the original August 8th date of Arbor Day created by Society co-founder Alexander Bathgate in 1892.
The tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful birds, and its impressive repertoire of guttural clicks and notes announces its presence in many Dunedin neighbourhoods. Just having a tui visit your garden in Dunedin is a unique privilege, and being able to watch their boisterous behaviour and enjoy the iridescence of their dark plumage is a real joy. Many people who have established gardens in the city have created unique feeding opportunities by planting native trees like the kowhai (Sophora microphylla) in their gardens and their neighbourhood. The linkage of urban housing to reserves like the Town Belt and the wider city environs by native vegetation provides important opportunities for bird life in Dunedin. That life is part of the richness of biodiversity that we have in the city, but it must be nurtured. Dunedin property owners should be encouraged to grow trees around their homes and gardens that help to sustain the bird life throughout the city.
The recent launching of the “Project Gold” initiative by the Department of Conservation encourages people throughout Otago to grow kowhai from seed in their district. This is a great initiative that could have a significant impact on both the protection of kowhai but also improve opportunities for our native birds. The Amenities Society greatly encourage the people of Dunedin to grow trees that will feed and support our native bird population so that future generations will experience the joy that birds like the tui bring to our backyards.