Winter 2016 has been a busy time for us and our regular volunteer group on Tuesday sees 20 plus turn up each week to undertake various tasks. Currently our membership is growing and new members are bringing useful skills and enthusiasm and under the eagle eye of Greg Liddy we are financially sound. After a minor health scare in December I am applying the principle of shared work load which is working very well and a cracking pace has being set by some of our new leaders which is both scary and exciting. This year we are 25 years old and when we celebrated that with a luncheon recently older members reminisced on the very early days when only 2 or 3 volunteers joined Blackie for weekly work. How times have changed and each week I need to be well organized with many potential tasks to keep every one busy. It is a pleasure to lead such a team. Even on the shortest day of the year we had 24 helpers turn up on a cold dreary day.
The themes of COMPLETION, PLANNING and PLANTING have been to the fore in our weekly work. In April our full nursery at Thornton Rd was an absolute picture at the beginning of our planting season and we have been busy beavers planting around town for the last five months, often twice weekly, and now our nursery has large vacant gaps so over the next few months we will be buying in root trainers to fill the gaps and plan our planting programme for 2017. We have another month of planting left and are currently sitting on 5000+ plants in the ground. Our aim this winter was to complete as many projects that have been on going for a few years as we possibly could. With Jane Moodie leading the charge at the Meadow Walk and the Maple Arboretum and Jan Todd in charge of work at Lola Silcock Park and Blackies Bank and with Leslie Wood and Joan McCathie driving nursery work we have had a very successful winter. I wish to place on record the huge amount of time our hard core volunteers spend on CTT work. I am privileged to be able to lead such passionate people. Thank you for your friendship and time which makes being a member of CTT such a positive and worthwhile experience.
NURSERY WORK during this winter has been led by Leslie and Joan. There has been spraying, seeding, cutting propagation, weeding and potting on and we now have a shade house full of very small plants that is an impressive example of what volunteers can do to change the local environment. Many of our members are champion propagators or seed collectors and as a result we have over 30 trays of cuttings and seedlings thriving in the shade house and regularly these will be repotted in late spring and early summer for 2017 planting. We have been lucky with the weather and on only two occasions this winter were we all confined to repotting in the nursery. Last week in 90 minutes we potted on 367 small plants. An amazingly busy but successful morning with the winter rain bucketing down around us.
PLANNING is something we are getting better at. Much discussion has taken place over coffee after the winter planting sessions on the projects we are currently working on and future plant needs for 2017 projects. This has meant quite specific nursery purchases. For example, Trees and Plants for Birds and Bees was a 2016 aim and hence a $1000 order was placed with Appletons Nelson to fulfill this aim. Now these plants are in the nursery and growing on. Specific maples for stage two of the arboretum was another example of careful planning.
FUNDING for PLANNED PROJECTS is listed below.
Under the guidance of Joan McCathie we have been very successful in the last six months in gaining funding from various trusts and organizations. Examples of this in the last few months have been $1000 from Pub Charity for the Birds and Bees project, $1000 from Lions for truck expenses, $2000 from Rotary for general nursery use, $1000 from the Hewitt Trust, $500 from the George Marshall Trust for Lola Silcock Park, the Cambridge Community Board have granted us $600 to purchase materials (tanalised posts, stainless steel name plaques, printing and concrete) to name and label all the oak species in the Oak Arboretum. Various other quite large donations have also occurred. For winning the Environment section at Trust Power Waipa Community awards we picked up a further cheque for $500. All in all we are financially sound and plant donations keep dribbling in on a regular basis.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2016 so far.
- Completion of the Oak Arboretum which began some 20 years ago under Brian Mayo’s direction. Waipa District Council no longer leases this out for grazing, so using Correction Department teams and our Tuesday regulars driven by John Moodie all tree surrounds have been removed, the area around each oak sprayed and then mulched and it looks a picture. This process took many weeks. Currently named plaques are being prepared for location here. What a legacy Blackie has left with this project. WDC now maintains this area.
- Lola Silcock Park has had a huge facelift. Weed maintenance had been neglected here for some years but the dynamic duo of Jan and Eric Todd have been placed in charge and they are driving change here. The control of convolvulus and such like weeds is a mission but Eric is winning with a vigorous spray programme and staged planting is taking place as well as mulching newly cleared and planted areas. New clumps of maples are now in ground and mulched so in time this area will be very attractive.
- Blackies Bank under the Todds close attention is starting to look great.
- Maple Arboretum Stage 2 at the Brian Mayo Blackies Reserve off Thornton Rd has been sprayed, mulched and then planted and naming posts set in ground. It is a work in progress and well directed by Jane and John Moodie and will be a splendid addition to the “Town of Trees”.
- Riverview on the upper river side of the Soldiers Track was sprayed by WDC at our request and is now fully planted with over 3000 regenerating natives placed there by CD teams and our Tuesday group over many weeks in early winter. Weed and bamboo control will be issues here in future.
- Lake Te Ko Utu. We have continued to plant here this winter with the assistance of groups from St Peters School and Cambridge High School as well as CD teams and our own volunteers. The extension of the Camellia Walk towards Carters Flat is now fully planted on both sides and mulched, so potentially is a finished project area. Weed maintenance will be an ongoing process for us.
- Bluebell Dell is an ongoing project led by Roger Dean and his team down on Ann’s Patch and many more bulbs were planted there in early winter. We look forward to a spring display.
- Meadow Walk has had a huge input of CTT labour. The planning and ongoing work here by Jane and John Moodie blows me away. Spraying, mulching and planting in all stages has ensured this area looks a picture and apart from winter mud is a pleasure to walk through. Some $2400 worth of weed removal and spraying has been done on MW Stage 4 by Florida Landscaping and we have done a follow session of spraying there also.This steep bank is now ready to plant and that will be our August challenge.
PROTECTION OF MATURE AND HERITAGE TREES
If you have been following the news, you will know that we have been fighting to preserve established trees from both developers and the Victoria Rd roundabout. We made a submission to the annual plan and stirred up quite a bit of publicity. As a result WDC organized a public forum in the pink church and over a four hour period there was intense discussion and interest. Just let’s say the protection of trees is an ongoing for us, so make your views known through as many channels as possible.