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Workshop upskills Wellington’s conservation volunteers

Date:  16 October 2009

Volunteers restoring the health and vitality of Wellington’s natural ecosystems were equipped with skills to plan and monitor their projects at a workshop in the Rimutaka Forest Park last weekend.

Members of ecological restoration groups from throughout the region braved torrential rain and cold conditions in the Catchpool Valley to learn techniques to monitor vegetation growth, measure stream health, count and identify birds, and track pest mammals.

Organised by the Department of Conservation, the Wellington City and Wellington Regional Councils, and QEII National Trust, the workshop featured presentations from some of New Zealand’s leading restoration experts, including freshwater ecologist Mike Joy; restoration ecologist Murray Williams, and ecological restoration and monitoring consultant Peter Handford.

DOC ecologist James Griffiths said the workshop organisers wanted to ensure that Wellington’s ecological restoration groups had the skills they needed to realise their restoration goals and to determine the benefits of their work.

Freshwater ecologist Mike Joy highlights the importance of spaces between rocks as habitat for native fish species. Photo: Karlene Hill.
Freshwater ecologist Mike Joy
highlights the importance of spaces
between rocks as habitat for native
fish species

“They perform a fantastic public service, restoring dune systems, replanting edges of streams and managing pests in bush reserves they make the Wellington region a more beautiful and healthy place to live.

 “It’s in our interests to provide them with the help they need to continue to achieve great things.” 

Wellington City Council biodiversity coordinator Myfanwy Emeny said that increased scrutiny of national and local government expenditure has meant that “more than ever” restoration groups needed to demonstrate the value of their work.

“The workshop gave Wellington’s restoration groups an opportunity to learn skills and methods that should help them use available resources more efficiently and to demonstrate the benefit of their work.” 

Information and resources to help conservation volunteers are being provided on the websites of DOC, the Wellington City and Regional Councils, QEII National Trust and the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network.  An information CD is also available from QEII National Trust on request.

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