Members of the Kahuterawa Bush Remnant Restoration Group have been busting weeds since the early 1990s. The Kahuterawa Scenic Reserve is a remnant of riparian forest on the outskirts of Palmerston North. The land is owned by the New Zealand Defence Force, but is managed by the Department of Conservation.
A restoration project was started by Palmerston North Intermediate School in 1989, with annual school plantings held over several years. However, between the late 1990s to the late 2000s, the plants were left to grow and regenerate naturally. Unfortunately, the weeds also grew during this interval Ė and at a great rate! In 2008, the project was revived when a group led by Ken Rush (former principal of the school) approached DOC with a plan to continue with the restoration work in the hope that the remnant could be used as an educational resource for local schools.
Weed management has always been one of the main issues in the reserve, with first efforts focused on controlling tradescantia and clematis vitalba.
After flooding in 2010, the group noticed weeds coming into the reserve from weeds being dumped on the stream banks upstream. Communication with community members became a priority. Participation from the wider community was sought and the local community newsletter published feature stories on the project to raise public awareness.
There is on-going work to manage tradescantia, blackberry, gorse, old manís beard, arum lily and other weeds, with regular school and community working bees. Today, the group has reached a point where they feel that weed issues are managed well enough that further tree planting can begin to fill in gaps, which is great progress. They remain dedicated weedbusters, very aware that weed management is an on-going battle.
I believe this group deserves a Regional Weedbusters Award to acknowledge thei long term commitment to weed control and their contribution to raising awareness of weed issues through school and community involvement.
Nominated by Kelly Straford, DOC, email: firstname.lastname@example.org