Native reserve’s principal driver stepping down
‘‘It's satisfying to meet the challenge of creating a totally native forest in an urban setting.’’
Taking a tour through Millenium Reserve with George Bain you soon realise that he knows just about every one of its 40,000-plus native trees.
The chairman of the Friends of Millenium Native Forest Reserve that has transformed the barren 5.5ha wasteland in Masterton’s west side into a native wonderland is stepping down.
Knocking on the door of his eighties, Bain has been down improving the reserve almost everyday for the last 15 years.
‘‘It’s satisfying to meet the challenge of creating a totally native forest in an urban setting. I enjoy seeing people listening to birds and communing with nature in its raw state,’’ he said.
By his own estimation, the reserve is about 80 per cent of the way to where it should be, but it is time for new blood to take the reins.
Gifted by the Masterton Lands Trust and now in a QE II Trust Convenant the block on the corner of Hillcrest and Pownall streets is an interesting piece of terrain. Once home to a trout hatchery, the Lands Trust once had plans to build a residential village on the land.
This concept was put in the too hard basket when they realised the faultline and resulting natural springs were rendering much of the land uninhabitable.
In 2002 the Millenium Reserve Native Forest Trust was formed as Masterton South Rotary and Wairarapa Branch of Forest & Bird project and Bain was elected at the chairman.
Living just up the road, Bain restricted himself to one and half hours in the reserve six days a week. Or rather, his wife said that was as much as see could tolerate.The key initiatives on the horizon are the planting of a further 2000 plants and Bain would also like to see a step up in pest control. The reserve has been supported and worked on by members of Forest and Bird, Rotary and various volunteers and is home to native birds such as fantail, tui, pukeko, silvereye, kingfisher, scaup, hawk and grey warbler.
Many of the members of the Trust’s committee feel they have done their time and have opted to step down at the AGM this week alongside Bain. They are hoping to find new and enthusiastic members to take the project forward, Bain said.