A fine but frosty start to Sunday 12th and the Society hosted its fourth annual Project Gold Planting at Woodhaugh Gardens in the Town Belt. The date was chosen to celebrate the original date of Arbor Day (August 8th) founded by Society co-founder Alexander Bathgate in 1892. This year the Society were joined by Dunedin Host Lions Club who are celebrating their 100th anniversary. The Lions celebrated in style with three beautiful specimen kahikatea trees and a commemorative plaque. It was very pleasing to have pupils and parents from Arthur Street School and members of the Student Leadership Team from our Town Belt Education Initiative. The Initiative has a new name and are now called the Town Belt Kaitiaki, led by Claudia Babirat. With a few introductions and a quick planting demonstration by Society President Paul Pope, it was promptly into the planting with nearly 300 native trees planted in just over an hour. We had a very pleasant morning in the sun and even had time for a barbecue. A job well done, and a fitting tribute to Alexander Bathgate. (Click on the pictures to see in viewer).
More than 70 student leaders, parents and link teachers undertook a guided walk through the beautiful Dunedin Town Belt on Sunday 18th February as part of the student led Town Belt Education Initiative. With a welcome from the Mayor, the group undertook an 8.5 kilometre walk from Woodhaugh Gardens to the Southern Cemetery. Along the way the group heard short presentations from a range of experts in history, heritage, biodiversity, ecology and communication.
The Town Belt Education Initiative is a collaborative partnership between the Amenities Society, Department of Conservation, Otakou & Puketeraki Runaka, the Dunedin City Council and schools. The aim of the project is to develop a student led education programme using the Town Belt as backdrop, laboratory and classroom. There are no limitations on the potential of the project in many curriculum areas including science, art, language, history and technology. The walk on Sunday was to give students and teachers inspiration and ideas about how the Town Belt can be part of their learning. It is also an opportunity for students to show leadership and to become the future stewards of this very special place in Dunedin.
A great deal of credit in the running of this project must go to Claudia Babirat, who has the task of coordinating the various aspects of this project together for the Society and its partners. As more schools come on board with the initiative we hope that the project will grow and we will see new and exciting developments evolve from the students. (Click on the pictures to view in a larger format)
For three days Craigieburn was alive with the excitement and chatter of the Pakiki Kids visiting the site and learning more about its history as a special place in Dunedin’s cultural and biodiversity heritage. Pakiki Kids is a weekly extension programme for intellectually and creatively gifted children in Dunedin from Years 3-8. The programme is governed and managed by Dunedin North Intermediate School. Under the supervision of teacher Brendan Christie, Society President Paul Pope and faithful canine mascot Toby the group looked at the archaeology, history and biodiversity of the Craigieburn site. It was a hands on opportunity to get out into the bush and feel the atmosphere of Craigieburn. With such a youthful and enthusiastic group the questions and queries came thick and fast. Luckily Brendan and Paul were well supported by a number of parents and of course had all of the answers! Great visit Pakiki Kids.
August 8th has special significance for the Dunedin Amenities Society as it was the official national day of Arbor Day established by our co-founder Alexander Bathgate in 1892. Bathgate believed that in creating Arbor Day New Zealand would create future generations of people who would care about their environment, he wrote “a well-grown tree is an object of beauty, and children would become all the better men and women if they had an eye for the beautiful in nature.” The Society have continued on in that vein with its Project Gold collaboration with the Department of Conservation over the last three years. This year staff and pupils from the Carisbrook School planted around 180 native trees including the beautiful golden Kowhai at Sidey Park in Caversham. It was a pleasure to work with the pupils and to see their hard work in completing the planting on a special day for the Society. Alexander Bathgate would certainly have approved.
The Society hosted the year 5&6 classes from Portobello School at Craigieburn today. The group walked through Ross Creek and up to Craigieburn as part of their school camp. While they were there they cleared part of the stone floor from the old barn/roadway on the main track. During their excavations nothing of any significance was found, but there was enough anticipation to keep everyone busy. Thankfully the weather cleared for Portobello School to enjoy their lunch at the byre site before making the trek through Ross Creek.
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)
The Town Belt is surrounded with schools and its long been an ambition of the Society to get those schools and their teachers involved with the reserve. Over the last few months the Society have been working with the Department of Conservation, Dunedin City Council, and the Otakou & Puketeraki Runanga to develop an education programme based on the values of the Town Belt. Part of this process has been to invite teachers from schools to get inspired by the Town Belt by well-known bug man Rudd Kleinpaste.
Rudd who was in Dunedin for Conservation Week 2016, gave the invited teachers some inspiring ideas for teaching children about nature. He challenged their thinking about teaching science and conservation as well offering his insight on the possibilities of the area. The education programme is an exciting development for the reserve and the Society hopes it will create a new generation of young people to become stewards and guardians of this very special area of our city.