Funds to help tackle ‘old man’s beard’

South Canterbury Herald - - OUT & ABOUT - ELENA MCPHEE

A so­ci­ety which formed late last year to look after Peel For­est Re­serve is thrilled to have re­ceived more than $3000 from the Mid and South Can­ter­bury Com­mu­nity Trust.

The trust gave the Project Peel So­ci­ety a grant of $3230 to­wards weed con­trol, which will be used to tackle old man’s beard and em­both­rium - Chilean flame flower - in Den­nis­toun Bush.

Work­ing in con­junc­tion with the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion, the so­ci­ety would hire pro­fes­sional weed controllers to trace the roots of the creep­ers and bring them un­der con­trol.

Rather than us­ing spray, they would cut the creep­ers and then paste them with her­bi­cide.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Bruce Al­lan said the so­ci­ety was also look­ing at pest con­trol, but ini­tially it would fo­cus on weeds and the ‘‘visual im­pact’’ they cre­ated in that part of the for­est re­serve.

‘‘Old man’s beard is an is­sue there, more so than in the rest of the re­serve.’’

Even­tu­ally the so­ci­ety was still keen to get mo­tion-de­tect­ing cam­eras to keep a record of preda­tors in the area - the fo­cus would be on con­trol­ling stoats, rats, and pos­sums, and longert­erm deer and pigs would be a pri­or­ity.

‘‘We em­pha­sise that we are work­ing along­side DOC,’’ Al­lan said.

On Oc­to­ber 8 a pub­lic launch of the group would be held, and peo­ple would have the chance to walk through the area of bush the so­ci­ety was look­ing at.

The com­mit­tee was made up of 10 peo­ple, but other vol­un­teers were in­volved as well.

‘‘We are still just get­ting our num­bers up. About 100 peo­ple have pledged their support.’’

Al­lan said the so­ci­ety also re­ceived dona­tions from other places, no­tably from the Sin­te­nie fam­ily.

Catherine Sin­te­nie’s fam­ily re­quested dona­tions go to­wards pro­tect­ing wildlife at her fu­neral, and the money went to the so­ci­ety.

‘‘[Catherine] was the ad­vo­cate for get­ting the com­mu­nity in­volved in do­ing some­thing about restor­ing the won­der­ful re­serve,’’ Al­lan said.

PHOTO: MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Project Peel So­ci­ety mem­bers, from left, Bruce Al­lan, Hi­lary Iles, Calvin McKech­nie in­spect the flora and fauna.

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