Citizen Science Month:
Predators such as mice, rats, possums, stoats and weasels are a major problem in the Kaipātiki Local Board area and throughout Auckland. They destroy the habitat or homes of native birds and wildlife, hunt birds, eggs, lizards and invertebrates, and are often a health issue for us.
Join us for our fifth year collecting information about predators in 42 reserves across Kaipātiki Local Board area, or by taking part at home in your own backyard.
A great way to monitor them is by placing chew cards out. A chew card is a piece of corflute with peanut butter inside the perforations (there are also non-peanut butter options for people with allergies). If there are predators in the neighbourhood, they will eat the peanut butter, leaving chew marks.
It’s super easy to take part in the chew card study and it's a great project for schools and families:
You can collect a couple of chew cards from Pest Free Kaipātiki in the month of July, by visiting our Toolshed every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month between 9-11am. If unable to make these times, please email us your interest at email@example.com and we can arrange a time for you to collect chew cards at our office at Fernglen Gardens.
Place out the card in your own backyard or bush block. Remember to record the exact location of the card by using a smart phone google map function (Latitude and Longitude), and collect back in after three nights.
Send your card along with it's placement location, your name and email address to Fernglen Gardens, 36 Kauri Road, Birkenhead or take a few good photos of it and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on your Facebook page and tag us in @pestfreekaipatiki . We will analyse the results for you.
Identify Pest Plants
Left to right: Chew Card Drop box example outside PFK office, beautiful Bird's-Nest fungi found in 2018 survey, a surprising find in Linley Reserves last chew card survey and 2019's volunteers out enjoying the bush
Correct Chew Card placement. 30cm above ground, open like a tipi
Make sure you label your cards in the middle and on both sides just in case rodents eat off the all important label! A handy tip is to carry a few ziplock bags and write what the correct card location was (i.e 20m) in case they come to pieces.
If you attended the chew card training in past years, you only need to fill out a refresher questionnaire to get involved. If you wish to volunteer again or are brand new and want to get involved, please fill out the form by clicking register above! Please read our information sheet attached here to understand what can be involved with chew card surveying.
Key points to remember are:
Cards go out for 3 nights in total. In 2021, cards can be laid out from the 16th to the 29th of July.
Make sure your chew cards are labelled with the appropriate distance (i.e 0m, 20m, 40m) that corresponds to your marked tree.
The tags on the trees are a way to 'double check' you are at the right point.
Please label your ziplock bag clearly with the name of reserve, the date you set the cards out and re-collected in. You can leave these at our designated ‘drop box’ locations as found in our instruction sheet attached.
Don't mix nails in loose with your collected cards - they can cause false marks
The Google maps function on a smartphone is a great way to identify and find your first monitoring tree to start from. It then gets easier by simply following the single pieces of fluro tape to find your next point.
Move through the bush carefully, wear gloves on re-collection, keep safe and have fun!
Lastly... We would love to see any photos of you laying out your chew card line, or any other things you discover while out in the bush exploring! Link them onto our facebook page @pestfreekaipatiki to share... you never know what you might find!
Thank you for getting involved so that we can make Kaipātiki Citizen Science Month the biggest Citizen Science project in Auckland!