More than 80 people of all ages braved a frosty-fingered morning at Romahapa last Thursday, as part of an ongoing environmental planting initiative.
Pamu’s (Landcorp) Waitepeka Dairy Complex has been engaged in riparian and wetland native planting for more than a decade, originally inspired by former farm managers Helen and Peter Gilder.
Manager Matt Hamilton said he and Pa ¯mu were keen to continue the Gilders’ good work, and had overseen the planting of ‘‘thousands’’ of native sedges, shrubs and trees by local volunteers in recent years.
He said Thursday’s session was larger than most, as it involved most of the groups who took part in plantings joining forces for a mammoth, 1000-native push.
‘‘It’s fantastic to see so many of our volunteers coming out today and getting this wee paddock planted out.
‘‘The current section of the farm we’re doing borders the Glenomaru Stream, and aims eventually to create a corridor the full length of the stream as it passes through the farm.
‘‘As they mature, the plantings will help provide habitat and riparian shelter for birdlife, inanga [whitebait] and some special breeding grounds for native fish.’’
Planters on Thursday included volunteers from Pamu, Fonterra Stirling, Telford Farm Institute, Conservation Volunteers NZ, Otago South River Care and schools from Balclutha, Stirling and Romahapa.
The Department of Conservation (Doc) had helped the group secure Contact Energy funding for the initiative.
Mr Hamilton said Doc had been monitoring the stream for several years, and had found breeding sites for the rare giant kokopu fish.
The presence of the equally elusive Gollum galaxiid had also been established through DNA testing.
Romahapa School senior teacher Shelley Gilder said her pupils loved learning outside.
Romahapa pupil Isla Keighley, accompanied by friend Marlee Gregory, said it was the pair’s second visit.
‘‘Our feet are pretty cold, but I’m hoping we can plant 20 today.
‘‘It’s important for our native wildlife.’’