Posted by Rebecca Hastie on Sep 02, 2017
The Rotary International president's theme for the 2017-2018 Rotary year is "Making a Difference" and, with an environmental focus, Rotarians worldwide are to plant a tree this year. In Otago, members from each Rotary club in the region took turns on Saturday from 9 o'clock in the morning until 3 in the afternoon to plant 470 native seedlings at Sinclair Wetlands!
Te Nohoaka o Tukuiauau (Sinclair Wetlands) is an area of swampland and open water between Lakes Waihola and Waipori in the Taieri Plains, 40km south of Dunedin. The wetland is an important waterbird habitat so there are ongoing restoration and enhancement projects. There are plenty of sections that will need to be replanted with trees and it was a stunning place for members of the Rotary Club of Balclutha to spend a Saturday morning.
More photos and information below...
From the Education Centre on Berwick Road, we set out on the track to Ram Island where we were welcomed by Glen, the Wetlands Coordinator, busy carting more seedlings grown from the onsite nursery. Glen is the only employee at Sinclair Wetlands, much of the work is supported by volunteers.
Glen explained that the wetlands are named after Horace Sinclair who bought the land to conserve it and then in the 1980s donated it so a group called Ducks Unlimited could protect and manage it. Since then a lot of work has gone in to eradicating willow trees and other problematic species. On Ram Island, weeds and vines have been cleared systematically so there is fertile space for restored forest to grow still shelter for the seedlings. These remaining vines will be maintained until the trees grow tall enough for their shade to cause the weeds to subside.
After digging a small hole then compacting the soil around the seedling, a weed mat with slits sits snug around the stem. A plastic wind shield slips over the tree and is held in place with four sticks of bamboo. This will remain until the tree can withstand the elements and any pests such as rabbits.
                                                      Tania shows how it's done!
There are walking tracks easily accessible to the public and you can visit and volunteer at the wetlands for all sorts of activities, see more information and a map and DOC information on Waihola Waipori Wetlands. Longer term volunteers can be accommodated in the lodge at the Education Centre which has a gorgeous outlook over the water and islands. There are also tent sites and powered campsites for visitors.
The Sinclair Wetlands website has more information and follow Sinclair Wetlands on Facebook for more on the restoration progress. Many thanks to Claire Ramsay for organising this project for Rotary and to Glen and the Sinclair Wetlands team of volunteers for guiding us!