Young plants to help Bushy Point grow

Otatara Landcare Group volunteers prepare plants for its annual planting day at Bushy Point on Saturday.

THE plants are ready, the site is prepared and Otatara Landcare Group (OLG) members are excited to celebrate Conservation Week 2020 with its annual planting day at Bushy Point in Otatara on Saturday.

OLG members encouraged volunteers to come along and help plant the young plants, which had been grown from local cuttings at the Southland Community Nursery in Otatara.

Up to 1000 native trees would become part of the landscape at the 14ha property, which was part of an ongoing restoration, located between remnants of native totara forest.

A park bench would also be assembled in memory of Otatara resident and conservationist Russell Evans, who together with his wife May, operated Bush Haven bird sanctuary for more than 20 years.

Throughout the decades, the couple cared for kereru (pigeon), tui, bellbird and karearea (native falcon).

They also bred more than 20 kaka chicks, which were released into the wild.

Tree guards, placed by Otatara Landcare Group volunteers, give young plants the best chance of survival. A woollen mat protects them from being smothered by weeds and a plastic sleeve protects them from being eaten by rabbits.

OLG member Cathy Macfie said a selection of species appropriate for the setting would be planted, including cabbage trees, pittosporums, totara and manuka.

The Bushy Point public walkway was open to walkers year-round, with panoramic views including the New River Estuary and Invercargill landmarks.

The annual planting day was an ongoing project with about 31,000 plants planted during the past two decades.

Up to 100 volunteers of all ages had taken part in the past.

“We really appreciate volunteers coming along for the day.

“Most of all, we need people.

“Be part of Bushy Point’s forest in the making.”

Mrs Macfie said Covid-19 restrictions would be enforced as, “it was important people felt reassured, safe and looked after”.

Therefore, this year the annual planting would have some differences, including the small planting sites, scattered throughout the site.

“Each planting area will have a team leader and will be ideal for separate groups of family and friends.”

Hand sanitiser, soap and water, and track and tracking measures would also be on-site.

“There was no need to preregister, but we will have tracking.

“A QR code poster at the entranceway and gathering point. All persons need to sign in.”

And instead of a barbecue, volunteers were invited to bring a picnic.

“If you feel at all unwell, please stay at home”, she said.

Planting day volunteers were invited to meet at 9.50am for a 10am start at the entrance off 5 Bryson Rd in Otatara.

They were asked to bring suitable footwear and clothing, gloves, a spade, a bottle of water and picnic for those who wished to stay after the planting.

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