Digging deep for Arbor Day work at Lake Gem
It was all hands on deck, or on spades, at Friday’s Arbor Day planting at Lake Gem, with around 70 school children helping to plant 1000 native trees.
Summit Forests provided the trees, bought from the Bushland Trust. Trust spokesman Kevin Matthews says the two organisations had been working hand in hand for a number of years to “re-veg” the area.
The block is owned by Summit, which has made it a public space, and created a track allowing the public to walk through the forest to the beach.
Friday’s planting included ka¯nuka, ma¯nuka, harakeke, ti kouka (cabbage trees), houpara and a few po¯hutukawa. Mr Matthews said that thanks to a strong turnout from Paparore and Awanui schools, parents, family members and a crew from Nga¯i Takoto, it took just 90 minutes to get them all into the ground.
“Started about 10, all over by 11.30, and the kids were still looking for trees to plant. Good to have them mean, hungry and still keen,” he said.
DOC rewarded the workers with sausages, bacon butties and platters of fresh fruit.
Karen Lucich thanked all involved on behalf of Summit Forests. Dune lakes were rare, special ecosystems, she said, and Northland was very lucky to still have a significant number of those that remained.
Lake Gem was fenced in 2010, with support from Northland Regional Council, while the Bushland Trust grows the eco-sourced seedlings and helps Summit manage the project.
“Previous plantings have seen Lake Gem come back from serious degradation to an almost pristine state. Lake Gem directly feeds into Lake Ngatu, so this planting also helps Lake Ngatu,” Mrs Lucich said.
DOC and Fish & Game mow the track and front paddock, which is used for waka ama events and the occasional wedding, and the kuta beds have recovered, enabling harvesting for weaving.
“This place truly is a gem,” Mrs Lucich said.
Every man and his dog turned up to be part of Friday’s Arbor Day planting at Lake Gem.