We’re well on our way through 2021, and it’s been a year of change both at the Ark and across Aotearoa. One thing that hasn’t changed is how amazing the Ark team is – you’ve donated an incredible amount of time to protect our ngahere! During the first half of this year, 206 volunteers gifted 3295 hours, a gift of almost $75,000 at Aotearoa’s living wage. We know this is also an underestimate as there is plenty of behind the scenes work that doesn’t make it to our records, and the work done often requires a lot of skill and training – your time, enthusiasm, and sharing of knowledge is worth far more than any value we can reflect in numbers.

The Ark staff would like to take this chance to thank all of our volunteers, whether you’ve gifted 1 or 100 hours – we couldn’t look after our precious ecosystem without your help.

Below are some stats from the January – June volunteer records.

 

The numbers:

 

  • Busiest month: May
    • 859 hours from 131 volunteers!
    • This has already been outdone in the second half of 2021, with 957 hours from 152 volunteers in July.
    • Pre lockdown, we’ve been on track with our work plans and have been seeing more and more volunteering every month. We’re hoping that once we can safely return to the Ark, we can keep up this amazing progress and catch up on important work in the field.
  • What’s in a name? 
    • If you’re a David you’re not alone – we’ve had 5 Davids volunteering at the Ark so far this year!
    • Closely followed by 4 each of Mikes and Toms, and if your name is Mark, John, Robert, Sarah, or Karen there’s another two Ark volunteers that share your name.
  • Special mentions:
    • We’ve had 5 volunteers each donate over 100 hours, and one so close on 99!
    • Thank you to those who have helped with work around the Ark base, from data entry to defrosting freezers to giving the outside area a spring clean. Your work behind the scenes creates a better space for the entire team, and we all appreciate your often unseen work.
  • Thursday VS Saturday:
    • 640 hours versus 521.
    • Thank you to our amazing Thursday team who reliably show up almost weekly, without sausage sizzles, often being sent to some gnarly baitlines and to finish up anything that was missed the previous weekend. Members of this dedicated team also often join us for Saturday sessions, and are part of our training team for induction sessions.
    • Thank you as well to those who donate time during their precious weekends to visit the Ark –
  • What we’ve been busy with:
    • 1226 hours trapping, and another 37 hours of prep like chopping frozen rabbit.
    • 972 hours baiting, made possible thanks to 54 hours of prep (bait bagging) and 88 hours of line clearing.
    • 70 hours of help around the office: data entry, stocking first aid kits, tidying the store room after busy volunteer sessions.
    • 110 hours collecting seedfall for a national research programme.

Our ‘why’:

With such a huge amount of care going into suppressing pest species at the Ark in the Park, it’s important to reflect and remember why we care, and why we gift so much time to these activities. It all comes back to our vision:

“From the ridges to the sea: restoration of the Waitākere Ranges to create a safe haven for native species which is rich and diverse, and is valued by present and future generations.”

 

To protect our native species and restore their home in the Waitākere Ranges, we work hard to manage pest species and restore the entire system; to protect kōkako, we must protect the trees they feed on and nest in. To protect kauri, we must minimise the impact of our own movement as well as other stressors like drought and changing climate. It takes an entire system to support any one species living within it, and this can only be achieved by our team caring now, and ensuring we share our knowledge and inspire others so the restoration work continues and grows.

Ark in the Park is located in the Waitākere Ranges, which are currently closed to minimise the spread of kauri dieback disease.