We started with a celebration on Friday at Aratoi, took a guided walk in Tararua Forest Park on Sunday, we helped clean up a beach and inspire some students today! Magnificent start to this week of conservation celebration 🙂
This year I decided to run a launch event for our staff and volunteers to say thanks for the effort and get them in a good mood to help them participate fully during the week. We had guests vote for their favourite photo in our competition (Brendon Doran from Carterton took away first prize) and had them inspired with some words by Dave Hansford, recent resident photographer, reporter and conservationist. Some beautiful cheese from Cwmglyn Cheese in Eketahuna (recent stars on Country Calendar) and wine from Ata Rangi were enjoyed by all. A great way to launch the week and I’ll definitely organise another!
Yesterday was a cracker day in Wairarapa with the temperature soaring over 20 degrees which is both good and bad if you’re out tramping up a hill.
Sandra and Briggs joined Chris Peterson and 22 other walkers to head up the upgraded Gentle Annie track to the Rocky Lookout. Chris told everyone about the incredible flora and fauna in the area and inspired people to get out and walk their local tracks. It was a popular event and reading through the completed surveys 90% gave it 5 stars which is awesome. It’s great to get such positive feedback about what people enjoy (and how they found out about events too). Palliser Bay, on the south coast of the North Island, is a beautiful spot. Sites include Palliser Lighthouse, Pinnacles (that star in Lord of the Rings) and our NZ fur seal.
Today, Monday 14 September, we ran a beach clean-up from Lake Ferry in the west to Whangamoana in the east. Two school groups from Pirinoa and Kahutara participated, YMCA Conservation Corp, South Wairarapa Rotary and lots of locals turned up to help out. The overwhelming number of tyres collected was disappointing but at least we took them off the beach! We filled a couple of trailers and got stuck countless times with quads. And 150 sausages were demolished (thanks Breadcraft and Anderson Meat in Masterton). Lots of fun in preparation for the fur seal breeding season.
The last event to talk about now today was the visit Sandra has just paid to Pongaroa School. We love getting out and meeting (and inspiring) people in rural areas around Wairarapa however we don’t get to do it often. It takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to get to Pongaroa from Masterton which is a decent trip!
I just got off the phone from Sandra who stopped at Pukaha Mount Bruce who said she had a wonderful time. The kids were great, polite and a lot of fun. She gave a talk about snails and their local reserves and they planted some trees in their school yard. One child asked her if she liked her job and she was glowing with praise about working for DOC and the variety it provides. Hopefully she’s inspired a future DOC ranger with her trip.
Stay tuned in and I’ll give you another update on our action-packed week on Friday. Kia kaha – go get involved.