Benefiting biodiversity by volunteering.
Adah reserve is a lovely piece of bush up in Totara Vale for those who have never visited before. It has not only a lovely picnic area at the top, but runs through a light and airy manuka/kanuka/takekaha forest, before descending into a denser treefern and broadleaved forest gully. Being over 1.8hectares in size it’s of significant importance in terms of habitat (homes), and food for our native wildlife.
Mark in his words “joined the predator battle” in July 2018, initially with the chew card survey (to determine predator types and abundances), and followed by the predator pulse. In 2019 Mark increased the level of control with continuous baiting to try and combat the high abundances of rodents detected. He also has trapped possums on his own place over the years which will have help the reserve greatly. You can see the positive impact his work has had by the more recent chew card survey results for rats and mice - well done! Now it’s a matter of keeping those rates ideally at 5% or lower to help the reserve flourish, and sorting out the obvious resident possum/s detected in September 2020.
Lower percentages are what we want. Many forms of native wildlife can thrive if pest abundances are under 5%.
What made you start up volunteering in the reserve in the first place and what have you enjoyed most?
Mark: “I have lived near the reserve since 1999, and walked through it regularly. Having had a rodent problem at home, I decided to try and make a bigger impact by including the reserve in the effort. I have enjoyed having koko (tui) pīwakawaka (fantail) as regular visitors in my garden, and looking after their habitat is the least I can do”
What is the biggest barrier to get over to look after a reserve? Where is help required?
A: “Getting others involved. Turning interest into actual involvement has been the biggest issue.” Mark also mentions that rubbish and weed dumping into the reserve is an ongoing issue which needs to be addressed. Pest Free Kaipātiki would like to get the message out that we have resources and herbicides thanks to our funders like the Local Board and Council to assist residents responsibly dispose of pest plants on their properties.
One recent observation made with joy is finding a resident koko likely nesting nearby, gathering insects daily and zooming around outside Mark’s house. Mark is keen to see the protection of this reserve continue, but is sadly leaving the area for hopefully even greener horizons! Thank you for everything you have done for this local space, you have certainly made a useful contribution and given our native taonga a better place to live.
Currently there are nine stations in the reserve along a line. Mark has been doing an exceptional job continuously caring for the stations which takes about one hour per week Mark says - that’s including sharing the results too back to PFK. However, if others wish to get involved - the reserve can be ‘pulsed’ meaning control is only undertaken in April, August, November and February making it a bit easier. Therefore we would love to hear from any locals or people nearby who wouldn’t mind joining a roster to walk the line and check traps or bait stations - or might help target those resident possum. Come and explore this reserve - it’s a lovely surprise tucked away.