Work­ing bee re­stores wet­land

The Invercargill Eye - - OUT & ABOUT - JENNY CAMP­BELL

The rain did not dampen the spir­its of vol­un­teers at an af­ter­noon work­ing bee.

On Sun­day, the work­ing bee at the Cas­tle­down Wet­land, near Dip­ton, saw peo­ple not only work­ing hard with the wet land un­der­foot but con­tend­ing with rain show­ers.

About 15 peo­ple from through­out the prov­ince, in­clud­ing mem­bers of Ru­ral Women NZ, lo­cal en­thu­si­asts and mem­bers of Dip­ton Land­care group at­tended.

Co-or­gan­iser San­dra Preb­ble, of Dip­ton, said vol­un­teers worked on clear­ing tracks, re­mov­ing weeds, cut­ting down bro­ken wil­low branches, do­ing main­te­nance and mark­ing the track.

‘‘[The] South­land Pest­busters group made a do­na­tion of se­ca­teurs, hand­saws and other use­ful ma­te­ri­als for the group to use at fu­ture reg­u­lar work­ing bees over the sum­mer, which we ap­pre­ci­ated, ‘‘ she said.

‘‘With plant­ings grow­ing quickly we had to put in more stan­dards with mak­ers so it is easy for vis­i­tors to find the walk­ing track and to ap­pre­ci­ate and en­joy the area.’’

Res­i­dent Andrew Wat­son do­nated an old pew, coated it with marine var­nish to pre­serve it and placed it in a spot where oth­ers could en­joy the at­mos­phere and birds, she said. ‘‘This is in mem­ory of his late mother, well-known Dip­ton per­son­al­ity Robby Wat­son, as she loved birds.’’

QEII South­land field of­fi­cer Jesse Bythell was at the work­ing bee and put up the sign recog­nis­ing that the QEII covenant has been ap­proved for the wet­land area, which was a thrill for the group.

‘‘A QEII covenant has been reg­is­tered over the 12 hectares of flax wet­land near Dip­ton,’’ she said.

The Ru­ral Women Forestry Scheme owns the land and de­cided to pro­tect the wet­land to pre­serve the special wet­land type and for pub­lic en­joy­ment.

‘‘Flax-dom­i­nated wet­lands are in­creas­ingly rare in South­land, as 90 per cent of wet­lands have been drained and mod­i­fied and flax ar­eas were hard hit be­cause they tend to be quite fer­tile.

‘‘I am very im­pressed with the progress made so far to estab­lish plant­ings along the stream, cre­ate a track, tackle weeds and build seats.’’

What Ru­ral Women were do­ing with the help of the Dip­ton com­mu­nity was fan­tas­tic, she said.

SUPPLIED

Dip­ton res­i­dent Peter Menlove at the Cas­tle­down Wet­land with the pew seat do­nated by Andrew Wat­son in mem­ory of his late mother Robby Wat­son.

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