Volunteering in WBOP Reserves
Interested in volunteering around the Western Bay of Plenty?
Contact Kate Loman-Smith on 027 200 6732 or email her: firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, phone number and where you would be interested in helping out and she will get back to you.
Here is a list of volunteering inspiration. More to be added soon, so watch this space......
Friends of Cooney Reserve
The Friends of the Cooney Reserve member formed in early 2022 with the objective of restoring and enhancing the reserve.
In that time a volunteer group of over 40 residents has formed to work multiple weekday and weekend working bees. Strong and fruitful relationships have been formed with the environment leaders of Western Bay of Plenty Council, Kate Loman-Smith, Steven White, and Peter Watson, and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Anna Dawson.
In addition, Ōmokoroa community groups have contributed and benefitted from the clean-up and enhancements of the Cooney Reserve.
These include: The Ōmokoroa Point Primary School – who have adopted naming of their classrooms for the bird species found in Cooney Reserve; The Ōmokoroa Bird Group, Ōmokoroa Public Art Group, Ōmokoroa Photographic Group, TOLO and local businesses; Fresh Choice, Ōmokoroa Country Estate, and YOUR real estate for the Welcome Home Godwit (Kuaka) Day last October – a significant community event with engagement of the Pirirākau Community, Local Board members and the Mayor and councillors of WBoP District Council.
Major works accomplished:
- Removal of pest weeds, plants and trees in the foreshore areas, and along fence-lines, re-furbishing the fences. Planting extensive areas adjacent to the foreshore, realigning of the bike path/walkway with adjacent landscaping, drainage and access improvements, the creation of a grove of Pohutukawa, the installation of picnic tables and the donation of memorial seats plus the erection of a Godwit kinetic sculpture adjacent to the freedom camping area, and much more.
None of this was dreamed of when we began and could not have been achieved without the engagement and close cooperation of volunteers, contractors, council representatives, and advisors from DOC and within our own community.
The next phase of our environmental enhancement of Cooney reserve has three major components:
- The creation of a bird hide on the northern aspect of the existing path to the foreshore.
- The creation of Storyboards for the Bird Hide, Cooney history, bikeway to Tauranga.
- The installation of a bike repair stand
Friends of I'Anson Bush Reserve
Friends of I'Anson Bush Reserve formed in 2018 to reclaim it from pest plants that were threatening the forest canopy. Since then, the reserve has recovered and is a thriving ecosystem. Volunteers meet regularly to undertake pest plant and animal control work. The Te Puna Reserve, just 10 minutes drive from Tauranga, was a dairy farm until the late 1980's when it was donated to the QEII National Trust and planted with nearly 200,000 native plants by the community. It is a miraculous example of a restoration project. Friends of I'Anson Bush Reserve welcome new volunteers who wish to be involved, no experience or equipment is required, just turn up and learn along side us.
Friends of Puketoki Reserve
The Friends of Puketoki Reserve volunteers’ goal is to maintain the natural ecology within the Reserve. Their main activities relate to animal pest control - possums, rats, mice, stoats, ferrets, hedgehogs and cats. Although the pest control has been in operation for approximately seventeen years, there is still a low level of invasion from the perimeter.
Approx 14 members of the pest control team meet regularly to walk the trap lines and tidy up the traps. Joining is a great way to meet new friends with common interests in pest control and who also enjoy outdoor activity within the reserve environment. Working within a group like ours helps with learning and sharing of knowledge.
Puketoki Reserve is a 40ha native forest remnant left to the community by the original saw millers around 100 years ago. There are many large trees of undeterminable ages - Rimu, Puriri and Tawa being some of the attractions to view. There are two easily accessible loop tracks - one of 20 minutes and the other of 50 minutes duration. The tracks are well maintained by the volunteers, with the help of the MAHI BOYS and are bridged over lovely streams.
Bird life is prolific with the attractions for most people being the North Island Robin, Kereru, Tui, Fantail and many more.
Some of our volunteers undertake reserve activities on weekends. Ribbon markers often need to be replaced and if you are handy with secateurs, that’s helpful too.
Predator Free Waihi Beach/Bowentown
TE ORANGA TAIAO, TE ORANGA TANGATA | A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT, A HEALTHY PEOPLE
Predator Free Waihī Beach, inclusive of Bowentown and Athenree areas, recognises our ecologically diverse coastal location, which has a range of natural habitats, including wetlands, estuary, coastal forest and beaches bordered by natural dune systems. We have identified our local taonga species and are implementing measures to protect these through predator control.
We have found that residents are proud of their surrounding environment and passionate about protecting it. As a community, we want to work to preserve and raise awareness about bringing back the natives for residents, visitors and future generations to come. The Predator Free Waihī Beach website page reflects this Predator Free Waihi Beach – SWB (sustainablewaihibeach.co.nz)
We have been supporting the coordination of our community champions who volunteer on various predator-free workstreams. We also work within the school supporting tamariki to champion trapping on reserve land, distributing traps and encouraging the recycling of caught predators.
Controlling predators and protecting biodiversity were identified as high priorities by the Waihi Beach community during the development of the Waihī Beach Community Plan, leading to the adoption of a goal to become Predator Free by 2025. This is a little ambitious however, the mahi has begun with a significant piece of work rolling out on 01 June - Predator Free Bowentown and the opening of a ‘Community Predator Trap Library’ run from the MenzShed. During this mahi, Predator Free Waihī Beach has forged great relationships and collaboration between community environmental and predator trapping groups, iwi/hapu/marae and other local support/government organisations to ensure a sustainable community contribution to conservation.
Renaturing Katikati is restoring, enhancing and protecting the indigenous habitats and biodiversity of Katikati’s shared green spaces. Helping our environment to become more resilient and sustainable comes with the side-effect of enjoyment and connectivity for participants and a definite sense of achievement.
Community volunteers are supported by Project Parore’s Katikati Environment Activator who communicates, coordinates and resources the renaturing activities. Sessions in local reserves and esplanades including Haiku Park, Uretara, Yeoman, Park Road and Beach Road walkways are focused on weeding out invasive plants, carrying out pest control, and planting natives. Propagating and potting-on seedlings in the nursery happens on occasion too. There is also the opportunity for individual care of specific bait and trap lines, which can be managed at times to suit the volunteer.
The group sessions are only a couple of hours long and an optional convivial morning tea follows: a hot cuppa and home-baked treats thanks to generous and hospitable locals.
Tools and high viz are provided but volunteers are welcome to bring their own gear. Renaturing Katikati volunteers meet weekly and monthly in various locations – the best way to find out more is to get yourself on the e-newsletter list by emailing Sharon Strong at email@example.com or by joining the Renaturing Katikati Facebook page.
Te Mata Wetland Caregroup
Te Mata Reserve Care Group formed when a group of local volunteers got together to help kids from Waihi Beach Primary School to restore the Te Mata Wetland Reserve. The school has been growing native seedlings – Supported by Trees for Survival - and planting them around the margins of the wetland for three years now and the results are starting to transform the appearance of this area that lies right in the middle of Waihi Beach town. Volunteers meet regularly and pitch in to keep the new plants weed free until they grow larger.
Western Bay District Council has developed pathways, commissioned an ecological assessment and arranged poisoning of willows and the spraying of other pest plants such as convolvulus and blackberry.
Currently, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Western Bay District Council are working together to develop an Environmental Plan that will provide ongoing funding to continue to the restoration program over five years.
Te Puna Quarry Park
VOLUNTEERING IN TE PUNA QUARRY PARK
Te Puna Quarry Park, halfway between Bethlehem and Omokoroa, is in the foothills of the Kaimai; it is managed by volunteers, with support from the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
There are nearly 50 volunteers who share a love of gardening and outdoor work. We meet every Tuesday morning and work to our hearts content; some of us finish by 11am, while others continue til late, some come on other days too. Many retirees have been volunteering in the Quarry Park for decades, they thoroughly enjoy working with like-minded people while staying active and fit. We are looking to expand our volunteer base and are seeking people for a wide range of activities, such as gardening, technical work, arts, butterflies, special events, admin, web-content, and more.
Hence, we are keen to attract new people, ranging from unexperienced enthusiasts to specialists in their field. Our largest sub-groups are engaged in general garden maintenance and weed and pest control. Smaller groups look after specialised sections, for instance, orchids, bromeliads, fuchsias, succulents, herbs, hibiscus, magnolias, South African plants, etc.
Other subgroups can use a boost too, e.g. our qualified operators for the tractors, mini truck, trailer, chain saw etc., who ensure that the heavy lifting is done safely. And the technical group who maintains the many structures, shelters, seats, tracks and bridges. On the creative side, we need assistance with maintaining and expanding our collection of garden arts, and with promotion, photography, writing web content, contact with members, and general admin. Finally, we are keen to get occasional help with hosting groups in our fantastic amphitheatre and our popular (wedding) venue the Gallery, and for running special events such as our regular plant sales. For all of this, we are seeking new energetic (wo)manpower.