Ruud Klein­paste

Ruud Klein­paste con­tem­plates the per­fect Christ­mas present.

NZ Gardener - - CONTENTS - Ruud Klein­paste is a trustee of the Project Crim­son Trust.

Our Bug­man has ideas for the per­fect Christ­mas gift.

it’s al­ways a bit of a bother, find­ing the right Christ­mas presents.

I’m not very good at that sort of thing, but I al­ways try to give some­thing that is na­ture-re­lated. For the lit­tle grand­kids, it’s usu­ally no prob­lem; they’ll be in­ter­ested in a heap of dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties and it’s great to chan­nel their en­thu­si­asm to the out­doors.

Re­sources that help them col­lect nat­u­ral his­tory spec­i­mens are never a waste of time: col­lec­tion jars and large con­tain­ers with built-in mag­ni­fy­ing glasses are great fun and just the be­gin­ning. Books with iden­ti­fi­ca­tion guides to the bugs, plants and birds of Aotearoa will al­ways work, es­pe­cially if the re­cip­i­ent’s age is char­ac­ter­is­tic of se­ri­ous read­ing and dis­cov­ery.

What about some binoc­u­lars or a box in which you can pin and store in­sect spec­i­mens? That’s cool Na­ture Nerd stuff. When they get a lit­tle older, I may get them onto the Preda­tor Free band­wagon and buy a range of dif­fer­ent traps, lures and baits, so they can catch ex­otic pests and log their suc­cess on the web­site

I re­cently spent a good few hours with the in­spir­ing peo­ple of Pest Con­trol Re­search ( in Rolle­ston and saw a heap of se­ri­ously in­ter­est­ing tech­nol­ogy around de­tect­ing and trap­ping pos­sums, ro­dents, stoats and fer­rets. There’s a myr­iad of dif­fer­ent sys­tems to get those dev­as­tat­ing crit­ters be­fore they can raid the fan­tail nest or get the bell­bird ju­ve­niles in my gar­den.

They had track­ing tun­nels with clever ink pads that will stick black ink to a pest’s feet, cre­at­ing clear tracks over the white, smooth pa­per in the tun­nel. This makes them eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able if you com­pare them with the ex­em­plar tracks on the var­i­ous web­sites. Of course, the grand­kids im­me­di­ately thought of us­ing this tech­nol­ogy to see if they could pro­duce clear fin­ger­prints of them­selves on the track­ing tun­nel pa­per.

Tech­nol­ogy and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion were the win­ners on the day.

For older fam­ily mem­bers and friends, it may be harder to get some­thing use­ful that is also sus­tain­able and doesn’t cre­ate waste. The per­fect gift idea can be found at Trees That Count, where you can give the gift of a na­tive tree or two or three. This on­line mar­ket­place (treesthat­ matches fund­ing for na­tive trees with com­mu­nity groups, iwi and landown­ers who need more trees for a plant­ing project. Its ob­jec­tive is to get more na­tive trees in the ground and it is keep­ing a count of the num­ber of na­tive trees be­ing planted across the coun­try. It is quite clearly sup­port­ing the na­tion­wide project to get a bil­lion trees into the ground within the next decade or so.

The Govern­ment is keen to ab­sorb as much car­bon as pos­si­ble and yes, a lot of the bil­lion trees will in­clude the good old eu­ca­lypts and ra­di­ata pines. But Trees That Count (as part of a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort in­volv­ing Project Crim­son and the Tin­dall Foun­da­tion) fo­cuses not just on help­ing the coun­try to be­come car­bon neu­tral, but also add a great dol­lop of bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices to the mix with na­tive trees.

That im­me­di­ately turns “neu­tral” into “pos­i­tive” – just like how na­ture does it! How does Trees That Count work? Imag­ine you are a lover of na­tive trees who wants to do a lot of good for New Zealand and the planet in gen­eral (as I’m sure you are!). You go on­line and sim­ply buy any num­ber of na­tive trees and choose a beau­ti­ful gift cer­tifi­cate that will be sent to your gif­tee. In this way, it also serves large scale fund­ing by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly­minded cor­po­ra­tions and phi­lan­thropists. These trees then go into the tree pool to be dis­trib­uted to plant­ing groups around the coun­try work­ing to re­store their en­vi­ron­ment, whether they fo­cus on in­creas­ing the size of an ex­ist­ing na­tive bush area, cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful recre­ational ar­eas or cre­at­ing a for­est cor­ri­dor to con­nect bird habi­tats. Your gifter will be told where and when their trees have been planted, and will see the plant­ing on the Trees That Count map. Trees That Count has sev­eral gift reg­istries (new­born ba­bies, birth­days, Christ­mas presents – it’s up to you!), and they keep track of when and where these trees are planted (over 21 mil­lion of them since 2016!), so every tree re­ally counts.

Go on­line and sim­ply buy any num­ber of na­tive trees and choose a beau­ti­ful gift cer­tifi­cate that will be sent to your gif­tee.

View from Pu­nakaik­iPoro­rari River Loop.

Na­tive fuch­sia.

Met­rosideros carminea.

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