Volunteer News 15th August

Pittosporum cornifolium - Laurence Bechet

Pittosporum cornifolium (Tawhirikaro) next to the Ark office

Photo Laurence Bechet

Hi all,

This email contains:

1. Forthcoming sessions

2. Ark's birthday summary

3. Sanctuaries of New Zealand conference

4. Kauri dieback situation update

5. Ark session calendar

Happy reading!

Laurence and Gillian

1. Forthcoming sessions

We have launched our new baiting round, with the P and B blocks already well under way and a few lines baited in L, B and T blocks.

We will continue with the baiting in B and L blocks this week.

There will be a volunteer session on Thursday, the 17th of August, meeting at 8:30am at the ranger station and another session on Saturday, the 19th of August, starting at 8:45am at the ranger station.

Please let me know if you are coming to either of these sessions. Also please note that if you make a last minute decision or have an unexpected change of plans it's best that you leave a message on our phone 09 810 7014.

Next week, we will host BNZ volunteers who will spend BNZ closed for Good day at the Ark on Wednesday the 23rd of August. They will have a choice between baiting and seed collection. As a result, the Thursday session will be brought forward to Wednesday. Experienced Ark volunteers are needed to accompany the BNZ people, especially for baiting. Please let me know if you can help.

2. Ark's birthday summary

As most of you will know the Ark celebrated our 15th birthday on Saturday the 5th of August!

You can see some photos from the night on our facebook page here.

The fire was lit, people got refreshments from the bar and settled in to hear our guest speaker James Russell’s excellent talk. James works with Auckland University, the National small mammal challenge, ZIP and predator free NZ so he was able to give us an exciting insight into the possibilities of future predator control. James also had a humorous take on global events of the past 15 years for us to reflect on.

After the guest speaker there was a round of 15 bingo style questions relating to people’s experiences in the Ark. Well done to the winning table!

It was then time for soup, sandwiches and plenty of chat. The night wrapped up with birthday speeches from Gillian, Laurence, Karen Colgan, John Staniland and John Sumich followed of course with slices of birthday cake for all.

The final tally of guests was around 115 and it was great to see people from the early days of the Ark as well as some who had joined only the week before!

Thank you to all of you for coming and making it such an enjoyable night. In particular we would like to thank all the soup makers and cake bakers, as well as the people named below:

Rosemary Stagg: Catering manager

Wendy Callaway, Sheryl Tapp, Karen Colgan and Yvonne Vaneveld: Catering, serving and clean up assistants

Elaisa Glampe: DOC200 themed birthday cake baker

Colleen Pratt: Super vacuum cleaner operator

John Sumich: Bingo master

Annalily van den Broeke and Anko Hanse: Additional seating source and delivery

Mike Siddens and Zena: Set up and pack down whizzes

Ken Harrop: Catering assistant and parking warden

Maurice Colgan: Number cruncher who provided some great summary data of trap catches, we will circulate this in future bulletins

F&B Waitākere branch: projector and sound equipment loan

John & Karen Staniland: Lead singers in the rendition of Happy Birthday.

Thanks also to Josh at Waitākere Golf Club for being so hospitable.

Apologies to anyone we may have inadvertently left off the list.

3. Sanctuaries of New Zealand conference

Last week we attended the annual Sanctuaries of New Zealand (SONZ) conference, this year it was held at Banks Peninsula.

As usual the event was very useful and interesting. You can see the presentations here:


Some key snippets were:

Cacophony project – a small team working on two different but related aspects

Using recorders to measure the volume of bird noise, as a way of assessing bird life recovery.

Using recorded sounds as lures to attract predators into a trap. There is considerable work nationwide being put in to developing new lures based on animal behaviour rather than food.

Analysis of fossilised pollen – soil cores can reveal the pollen from times past. This allows truer restoration of areas by guiding planting choices based on what used to exist.

Coprolites (fossilised poo!) can also reveal interesting interactions, for example it has recently been discovered that kākāpō and tieke ate (and thereby fertilised) Dactylanthus/Wood rose where it was previously thought the only native species performing that role was the short-tailed bat.

Decomposition rates of leaf litter can be used as a measure of how well an entire ecosystem is functioning.

Then finally a principle that has been quoted at a number of events lately: Moore’s Law.

Moore’s Law states that technology becomes twice as good, or half the price every 18 months. Lets hope this holds true for the developments in predator control that are under way at the moment!

The Ark is now represented on the SONZI committee, as Gillian was elected to join!

SONZI advocate for sanctuaries around the country, submit where appropriate on environmental policies and will play a part in linking together efforts towards a predator free New Zealand.

4. Kauri dieback situation update

You have probably read or heard in the media about the latest Kauri Dieback report, issued earlier this year by the Auckland Council. The Waitākere Ranges Regional Park represents the most heavily infected area currently recorded in New Zealand and the disease has been spreading since the last survey in 2011, despite the phytosanitary procedures in place, such as the "trigene stations" as they are commonly called.

While the Council, iwi and other key stakeholders are deciding the next steps, it is extremely important that we carry on with our own procedures to help limit the spread of the disease. The kauri dieback pathogen (formally named Phytophthora agathidicida) is transmitted more easily in winter, due to the rain and the wet ground. Also, the disease spores can lay dormant in soil for years waiting to be picked up by a shoe or water course and spread to a new host.

What should you do when volunteering at the Ark?

Clean your footwear thoroughly of all soil/mud before arriving at the Ark and again when leaving. There is a cleaning station at the ranger station.

Remove any soil/mud from your clothing and tools

Always carry a spray bottle of Trigene disinfectant with you when traveling into the bush. The Trigene must be ‘fresh’ (less than 6 months since dilution) as otherwise it becomes ineffective. Old Trigene must be discarded and then replaced with fresh Trigene whenever a new batch is prepared. Notification of a new Trigene batch is provided by an email and a sign on the Ark Store door.

Always use footwear cleaning stations when in the Ark area and elsewhere within the Waitākere Ranges.

Whenever you leave tracks, thoroughly scrub and spray your footwear and any other muddy areas such as gaiters and leggings. Repeat when traveling between areas of kauri.

Remember to scrub and spray your footwear and clothing again before rejoining tracks.

Clean and spray your footwear and soiled clothing once again after having been in the bush.

When you get home, wash clothing with soapy water.

Note that stricter procedures may be required from time to time, or in certain areas.

Forest & Bird article here.

Kauri Dieback Report 2017: An investigation into the distribution of kauri dieback, and implications for its future management, within the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park (online report here).

5. Ark session calendar

Thursday 17th August, volunteer session 8:30am, baiting

Saturday 19th August, volunteer session 8:45am, baiting

Wednesday 23rd August, volunteer session 9am: BNZ closed for good, seed collection & baiting

Thursday 24th August: session brought forward to the Wednesday

Saturday 26th August, volunteer session 8:45am, baiting

Thursday 31st August, volunteer session 8:30am, baiting

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. Ark in the Park Project Website. All rights reserved.