August 2018 - Coppermine Creek
On the way to Coppermine Creek, we peered out of the car windows wondering whether we were going to get rained on today. The Coppermine Creek carpark shelter was occupied by a table loaded with interesting items. Abi from the Department of Conservation took the opportunity to introduce NZ Predator Free 2050 to us. She introduced her assistant, the stuffed stoat, to us and we got to have a very good look at him. Ian and Abi had brought some traps and tools along and demonstrated how to operate them. We had a go too - easier than we thought! Abi talked about DOC´s traps library and how she tries to get schools and community involved in trapping. Ian told us more about the Ruahine Whio Protection project.
He explained how and where the volunteers maintain trap lines and about their vision of expanding the project to the entire Ruahine and Tararua Forest Parks. Therefore, the Ruahine Whio Protection Trust is one of the many community groups working on the Manawatu River Source To Sea project. Ian wants to try to get keen trampers, walkers and runners involved to check and rebait traplines while they use the tracks. As everyone started to cool down from standing around the traps and handing around rabbit bait, our group of 11 took off to explore Coppermine Creek. The narrow track followed the steep bank of Coppermine Creek through nice bush, interrupted by a couple of clearings. After half an hour we reached the track junction, where Ian told us some details about whio and their habitat. Coppermine could be a potential habitat for our endangered blue duck, but they would only have a chance to survive if we can eradicate some of the predators by establishing a trap line. We returned to the carpark and home without getting to use our rain gear - But with a good idea about trapping and its importance for NZ´s native taonga species.
(Text by Jorinna)
July 2018 - Discovering ferns
Before starting the walk, Viv did an explanation of the history of the Sledge Track and development of Arapuke Park. The Sledge Track has been opened in 2003 after being restored by Ian Argyle and volunteers. Arapuke Forest Park has more than 20 km of trails for mountain bikes.
Walking from the car park, we only had to walk a short distance to spot the first examples: houndstongue (genus Microsorus), blechnum (or hard ferns) and mamaku (genus Cyathea). A little bit further down we could find filmy ferns (genus Hymenophyllum), hen and chicken ferns, spleenworts (genus Asplenium) and ponga (genus Dicksonia).
It was a relatively slow walk as we were surrounded by ferns and were learning and looking for new examples and different kind of ferns.We had lunch at Pritchard’s landing and we admired the new swing bridge that is now in place for people to return to the car-park via Arapuke Park.
At the end of the walk, Viv had set us a target to learn 6 ferns each and we were all successful. We all had an enjoyable time and learnt a lot from Viv and Keith.
Pete has uploaded more photos on the iNaturalist website:
(Text by Francois, Fiona and Viv)