Last week I was lucky enough to get out of the office and get some practice into running an outdoor event in the build-up towards Cons week.
This time it was a beach clean-up at Onoke Spit on the south coast of Wairarapa. Onoke is a pretty special place for conservationists. It’s the nesting site of caspian terns and banded dotterels plus katipo spiders and notoreas moths.
Onoke Spit is also one of the most exposed sites in Wairarapa at its position at the bottom of Wairarapa Moana and directly facing the winds of Palliser Bay. It’s gorgeous on a good day but can blow you off your feet if you’re not careful.
Last year we ran a beach clean-up at Onoke for Seaweek. We collected over 2 tonnes of rubbish that had mainly come down the rivers or washed up from boats. For an isolated spot the local community really cares about this area and when a call came out for us to organise another beach clean-up the boss was only too happy to oblige (and pass it onto me).
A short press release and a few strategic emails later (plus some calm, gorgeous weather) and around 40 volunteers turned up on Friday 21 August to lend us a hand. People, quads and DOC 4-wheel drive vehicles were sent out and I coordinated back at “base”. Rubbish soon started arriving and we managed to fill a couple of trailers with exciting things like tyres and fence pails.
We then decided to shift base further down the beach towards Corner Creek (where there’s a new DOC campsite) and spread out around there. This area is called Ocean Beach and gets a few more visitors so there was more rubbish to be found. All together we collected two trailers and the back of three utes worth off the beach. A great success. I was pleased that there was far less than last year!
I’m always impressed by volunteers and their drive to get out and help keep places like our beaches clean. These are special spots that many don’t appreciate. I love my job on days like these. Let’s hope the weather is stunning across the country for Conservation Week 2009!