Little Autumn Excursions

Rabbit Island Schools’ Talk 
Kevin and I took “Our Gully” out to Rabbit Island to talk to several schools from around our area, about the work that we do up Will’s Gully. Things like cutting out weed vines, trapping pests, having cups of tea, clearing weeds, having cups of tea, and planting natives plants. Stopping now and then to watch a hawk soaring above and to have a cup of tea now and then. Actually, it’s a lot harder than that at times!

Rabbit Island schools – the test.

The day was called Enviroschools ~ “Building Resiliency for a Changing World” which had 5 to 8 year students from various schools from around our region. We showed them the different traps and baits that we used – along with a “pet” stoat plus a small collection of older type traps too. The trapping and traps were of more interest than the pest weeds, especially to the boys. 
We had a test at the end of the talk in which the children were to name the pests that we trap and to link them to the baits and the traps that we use. The baits were in a container and we asked them to guess by the smell of the bait, which animal pest, and which trap to use. We didn’t tell them about all the cups of tea. 

The pet stoat likes his chin stroked.

Another Day Another School    
This time it was a class of about 28 or so (year 8) from St Paul’s School, in Richmond, which we guided up into the Richmond Hills to show them about the trapping and revegetation work that we have been doing over many years.  We worked in with Whenua iti Outdoors, walked up to Grassy Saddle, and then children started planting some native plants that Kevin and I had collected beforehand. Kevin took most of the children up into the pine forest to collect some more native plants growing alongside the forestry road too. Lunch, a little talk about what else we do up the gully along with a trapping demonstration, then we all walked out down Will’s Gully back to Hill Street, doing a round trip.  

St Paul’s School Gully talk.

Kevin asked them to put their name and the plant species on the markers and put them besides what they had planted. The plants were sourced from the edges of the gully walking tracks and also from up in the pine forest. A couple of times when we were working up the gully later, we talked to some walkers who were going up to see what their children had planted and that made it worth while.  
A Bike Ride After the Storm. 
After a recent storm I went for a bike ride on The Great Taste Trail by the Waimea Inlet on the way to Rabbit Island to check things out. There was a lot of damage too with sections of the trail wiped out but I was taken with a bridge handrails on one of the river crossings. It appeared that some of the bridge piles had sunk but the end result looked quite good I thought. I hope they leave it like that.  

Storm Damage on The Great Taste Trail.

A Happy Valley Walk    

On the way on the Sky wire.

Our walking group had a day’s walk at Happy Valley, a not too far away farm on the way to Cable Bay, that has four wheeler motor bikes, horses, pushbike trails plus a Skywire. After a walk uphill we came to the landing stage for this Skywire and we were offered a discounted ride. Some of our group took up that offer. 

After being strapped in, the ‘cage’ swung out into the valley below, sweeping up a little way on the other side then slowly was winched back to the starting place. After we carried on and had lunch at some shelters which seemed to be corrals for horses. In the eaves of one of the rustic shelters, an old swallow nest was spotted. An interesting place and the new owners have some great recreational plans. Let’s hope they succeed. The cafe is pretty good too especially as one of our fellow trampers ‘shouted’ afternoon tea! Thanks Paulette. 

Happy Valley rest stop.

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