For the enjoyment of many

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Tauranga has long been known for the K Valley project (See TfS Newsletter June 2009) but there are other exciting programmes in the area two of which are Gordon Carmichael Reserve in Bethlehem and the TECT All Terrain Park at Papamoa.

Gordon Carmichael Reserve, operated by Tauranga City Council, has excellent walking and cycling links between Bethlehem and Brookfield through 60 hectares of stormwater reserve with native plants and a wide variety of birds. An outdoor classroom was built in 2009 which gets used for things like the Learning Through Discovery programme for schools.

The first of two planting sessions at this regenerating wetland in a relatively new housing area was undertaken by Aquinas College (sponsor: Taura Foodstuffs through Tauranga Sunrise Rotary), who planted 500 trees as part of their Community Service Day.  These plants are the result of the Science Unit Standard requiring each student to prick out and pot on at least 4 plants successfully in order to achieve the standard.

 
TCC Park Ranger Craig Fea talked to the Aquinas students about the usefulness of wetlands; Amanda Besley of Envirohub (in fluoro jacket) watches on.  Arbor Day planting

On NZ Arbor Day, June 5, which was also World Environment Day, the second planting at Carmichael Reserve saw a further 1200 plants in the ground as a result of a major effort by students from Tauranga Girls College (sponsor: Taura Foodstuffs through Tauranga Sunrise Rotary Club) and Bethlehem College (sponsor: Tauranga Te Papa Rotary Club).

With the generous help of Amanda Besley of Trees for Survival (and some plants from Katikati College), the YMCA fulfilled their goal of helping children on the Autumn Holiday Programme learn about planting trees in the TECT All Terrain Park. On a perfect day, a 100-strong group hiked the Te Rerenga (Tunnel) Trail to the restoration project on recent clear-cut where YMCA is involved.

The site next to the trail ensures it will be easy for children to come back to see how their little manuka seedlings are doing; and for future groups to tend them and plant more. In addition to high recreational value, the site fits the Park’s long term forestry plan of retiring steep gullies and drainages from short term commercial forestry.

“Thanks to Park staff, we have an ideal spot to bring kids up to the Park to learn about planting trees and how the Park works,” said YMCA CEO Ric Balfour. He goes on, “We will be back during the winter and spring holiday programmes to tend the earlier plantings and add more. YMCA is hoping to develop the partnership with TfS on this and other projects like the Sydenham Botanic Park.”

   
YMCA Holiday Programme kids get stuck in planting the 200 manuka seedlings donated by Trees for Survival. Photo: Ric Balfour  Carol Finn leads her group of kids from the Mount side of town along the trail. Photo: Ric Balfour

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