2014 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
2014 has been an outstanding record breaking year for the Cambridge Tree Trust in which there were many highlights. Our core group of close on 20 volunteers meets each Tuesday and have certainly made a difference to the Cambridge landscape this year by planting out more than 10,000 plants, mostly natives. This year we cracked 10,000 plants for the first time in our history. This group of active environmental enthusiasts have made our 23rd year of life an exceptional one. In addition we had a surplus of more than 5000 nursery stock and these have been actively promoted and given away to many groups like the Avantidrome, St Peters School, Te Awa Cycle Trust for riparian planting along the Waikato River and along the Te Awa Cycleway. Many donations resulted from this process.
There were many highlights in 2014 and this lists some of them.
Among them were year six of the Lola Silcock Park project, the planting record, the nursery record of plants raised, year three of the Meadow Walk project, the massive challenge of replanting gum-cleared banks at Lake Te Ko Utu, continued very close cooperation with Waipa District Council, ongoing work with two secondary school groups from Cambridge High School and St Peters School as well as Guides and Scouts, the continued development of our exceptional website and the growing support and appreciation from Cambridge community towards our work. The provision of plants for the Avantidrome surroundings provided a few weeks of excitement and effort. It involved four truckloads of our nursery plants, some 1000, and netted us a generous donation as the surrounds were prepared for the royal visit.
The Lola Silcock Park project is in its sixth year and nearing completion. It is a splendid addition to the parks and reserves of Cambridge. The park commemorates our founder and first life member, Lola Silcock, and the conversion of a former wasteland backwater eyesore of the past into a peaceful recreational park today. It has been a real success story for us. It is becoming increasingly popular with walkers, joggers, families and dog walkers. Planting, mulching and maintenance continues here and will annually for some time. This year much work has been done on the eastern end of the park where the addition of a memorial kowhai grove as part of the revamped eastern end into a new area of lawn, woodland walk and a grove of deciduous English trees like maples and dogwoods has added interest and colour.
The record growing year of 2014 has been the result of the passion and enthusiasm of an increasingly large core group of members who meet each Tuesday at the Thornton Rd nursery to plant, weed, pot-on 1000’s of plants. We have also been indebted to local nurseries like Anntons who have been very supportive of Cambridge Tree Trust work with many low cost native trees, shrubs, grasses and flax which have been potted-on in the nursery for later planting out. At any one time in the Tree Trust Nursery there are in excess of 15,000 plants being grown from eco-sourced seed, cuttings or root trainer purchases. A new development this year had been to give away surplus for local groups to plant and especially to grow-on plants for Waipa District Council use at Lake Te Ko Utu.
The Meadow Walk project linking the River Gardens subdivision with Fletcher Place and the Poets Track is now in its third year. This new track has been graded, fenced and is being progressively planted each year and will follow the banks of the Waikato River and wind through grazed reserve land. It has become a popular walkway and the three years of planting here have astounded users. Two very generous grants from the Waikato River Clean Up Trust have given the project a huge boost.
In phase1, some 5000 plants were located here. In phase 2, under the drive, energy and leadership of John and Jane Moodie, 7000 more plants went into the ground. This year Phase 3 saw another 3000 plants into the ground.
The planting and mulching of this ongoing project could not have occurred without the support of school groups from Cambridge High and St Peters School, an annual work day from Fonterra staff and the weekly work of Corrections Department teams. The scale of this project is the biggest ever undertaken by the Trust and ongoing maintenance, weed control by spraying, then mulching is proving a challenge.
The popular Lake Te Ko Utu is also proving a planting challenge. Sections of the steep banks where tall, unstable, very large gums are being progressively cleared require replanting. We are working closely with the Parks and Reserve staff of the Waipa District Council to source, purchase, then grow on in our nursery the 1000’s of plants needed annually for this area.
This year on Arbor Day and for the next two weeks we invited schools and the public to join us and in excess of 3000 plants are now growing in the first area cleared. Currently the tall gums around the car park are being cleared so we have the challenge of preparing plants in our nursery for this area to go in the ground next autumn. We have a key role to play here.
In the nursery, a group led by Bruce McComb has made ongoing improvements. We have a new lockable cupboard to store hazardous chemicals and a revamped kitchen and the nursery surrounds have never looked as tidy. David Phillipps with the guidance of Chris Twemlow, an IT expert from All Things Web of Hamilton, has been working assiduously on our website and built up an ongoing history of our work. The website is being refined with regular updates. It is now very professional and that is gaining us much kudos.
Our planning for 2015 is well under way already and root trainer plants for next year are flooding into the nursery and being potted on.
With a $1000 grant from the Community Board we are planning to establish a maple arboretum in the Brian (Blackie) Mayo Reserve. Other new plans for planting are being formulated for Phase 4 of the Meadow Walk, clearing and replanting in Ferguson Park, replanting the steep banks of Lake Te Ko Utu that have been cleared of gums, additional planting in the swale of Alpers Ridge Rd, spraying, mulching and planting the Te Awa Cycle Way edges near the Gaslight Theatre, planting a Vogel St drain on the soccer grounds and so the list goes on. We will never run out of work!!
Financially we are in a sound position and credit here must go to Greg Liddy and our grants expert Joan McCathie, Donations regularly roll in as our public profile is strong and the work we have done around town greatly appreciated. Grants and support has been received this year from:
Hewet Trust, Jumble Around, St Peters School, Fresh Choice, Heritage Trail, Trust Waikato, Pub Charity, the Community Board, Cambridge Union Parish Shop, George Marshall and Fonterra to name a few.
We need to place on record the growing cooperation and support which we have received from the Waipa District Council and its staff. The work of Leslie Wood is greatly commended and I thank her for keeping me on track. My thanks also go to the core group whose energy, enthusiasm each week makes the weekly challenge of organising work routines for you all a joy.
October 4th, 2014.