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