Broad Bay School pupils won the Toroa award at the Conservation Week awards on Tuesday 3rd November. Otago Peninsula Trust chairman Ross Smith presented the pupils with the award, which came with $500 in funding for their conservation project at Smiths Creek. The pupils also won the collaboration of a Department of Conservation ranger, who would help with their project. For three years, the school has been involved with the freshwater creek protection and enhancement project at Smiths Creek co-ordinated by Save The Otago Peninsula (STOP). Each winter they have spent a day or more planting native trees to provide shade and absorb agricultural runoff and slow erosion. In the past two years they have provided their own plants and the pupils are eager to continue their work at Smiths Creek, which has also included monitoring the water quality and aquatic habitat.
Members of P.I.P.T.A (Primary Industries Polytechnic Tutors Association) visited the Hereweka property recently as part of their annual national conference. Over 40 conference delegates from around the country spent time on the Peninsula and the Harbour Cone property was organised as part of their field trip. The delegates all have roles in teach primarily horticulture and agriculture in polytechnics throughout New Zealand. The field trip was an opportunity for the delegates to learn more about the property as both a working farm and as an important cultural and ecological restoration area in the region. The delegates were impressed and this was helped by a sweltering hot day that made Hereweka and the Peninsula really shine.
Horticulture students under the guidance of tutor Lisa Burton spent a morning with Hereweka Trustees and Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group project manager Cathy Rufaut at Smiths Creek recently. The students looked at the Smiths Creek restoration project with trustee Lala Frazer and saw the planting work undertaken by the Save the Otago Peninsula group. There was also time for the students to look at the possum control project and its methodologies undertaken by the OPBG. The students then took a guided walk to the summit of Hereweka before the threatening rain arrived. The purpose of the students visit was to give them a broad understanding of the property values as well as its challenges and scale. It is hoped that this initial visit will develop into a long-term partnership where the students can learn and test their skills in ecological restoration.