Kids take turns to dig in

DIG IN: Matthew Cooke 11 (left) and Caio Brown 11, members of the Bucklands Beach Intermediate Year 7 Trees For Survival team, planting flax in the Mangamangeroa Reserve. Times photo Wayne Martin.

Restoring of the native vegetation in the Mangemangeroa Reserve has been an ongoing activity since the start of this century. Schools have been involved since 2006.

This year the first planting occurred on Thursday afternoon with Buckland Beach Intermediate planting more than 200 flax in difficult ground below the barn. These outings form part of the curriculum activities and give students the opportunity to be involved in “hands on restoration” and an appreciation of how difficult it can be to dig a hole in knee-high vegetation. The flax planted by BBI was specifically chosen so that when fully grown, will not block the view from the seat, donated by Rotary, just above it.

“On Friday Cockle Bay students were the second group planting in the reserve,” says Sally Barclay, a member of the Friends of Mangemangeroa Society.

They planted mahoe and each plant needed a plant protector made from core flute to reduce pukeko attack and frost damage.

“As well, these students placed a core mat around the plant to reduce weed competition and reduce moisture loss during the hot summer conditions,” she says.

“We have been most fortunate as the Council provided these for us.”

RESTORATION: Angele Alami 11 (left) and Natalie Smith 11, members of the Bucklands Beach Intermediate Year 7 Trees For Survival team, planting flax in the Mangamangeroa Reserve. Times photo Wayne Martin.

Somerville Intermediate, Howick College and the Pegasus unit from Pakuranga College have planted kowhai and other specimen trees among pioneer species planted in previous years.

“These pioneer species provide shelter for the more tender young canopy trees which should provide a wonderful show of colour when in flower in years to come,” Ms Barclay says.

All the plants used for restoration in the reserve are eco-sourced (collected from mature plants within the Mangemangeroa Reserve) and grown in various specially built units in the local community. Funding from Howick Local Board helps with the purchase of materials in which to grow these seedlings. Each year between 5000 and 8000 seedlings are grown and planted into the reserve.

“On Saturday June 10 our first public planting day will be held. If you would like to be involved, please meet at the white barn, Somerville Road at 9am,” says Ms Barclay.

“The following weekend Saturday June 17 is our second planting day,  again meeting at the barn for a 9am start.

“Please wear suitable footwear and warm clothing. There will be a limited number of spades available.”