Work Day Reminder, Nov 21 2020
The next Travis work day, is Saturday November 21, 9 am – 12:00pm.
Meet at the Education Centre (the old farm house) near the Beach Rd car park at 9 am. Click on the adjacent location map for a more detailed view.
We’ll probably be doing some plant watering along the Mairehau dunes, but plans change with the weather! When we leave the Education Centre to work elsewhere in the wetland a notice board in the porch will indicate where we have gone, if it’s not obvious. Please join us.
All tools provided. It may be wet underfoot, so gumboots are advised. If you don’t own any we do have some for loan.
Last Work Day, 17 October
Despite it being election day and the usual forecast of rain that never arrives there was a good turnout for the October work day. A total of 20 people, including two new families, made their way down to the Tōtara / Mataī forest area at the southern end of the wetland. Ranger John Skilton had selected an enclave of taller trees for infill planting. We searched for gaps amongst the trees for spaces where we could pop in plants from a range of species.
The soil in this area was not as wet as it is in some of the surrounding areas, which is perhaps why the trees there have done so well. There was actually quite a lot of natural regeneration going on under the tree canopy and not a lot of smothering weeds – except where gaps in the canopy were letting a lot of light in. This is one area that can just about be left to its own devices, without having to worry too much about it being taken over by weeds. Surprisingly there were a few seedlings from the Prunus genus (plum, cherry and the like), presumably where birds had dropped fruit pits.
Once everything had been planted we made our way slowly back to the Education Centre for a sociable morning tea in the sun on the lawn. On the way some of us stopped to clear the rampant weeds from the plants on the mounds that were planted out in September 2019. Many of the plants there had done really well and obviously appreciated having their roots above the winter’s high water table.
Thanks to everyone who turned up to help on what turned out to be a very pleasant Spring morning.
Article and Images: Dave Evans
Poem for John Skilton
As mentioned in the May newsletter ranger John Skilton reached his 20th year at Travis Wetland in April this year. Unfortunately due to lockdown we were unable to celebrate this anniversary at the April work day. So at the recent AGM the Trust board took the opportunity to mark the occasion with a yummy cake made by Eleanor Bissell.
Long time board member Joe Greenaway has penned this poem to pay tribute to John and his many contributions to the wetland
20 Years Anniversary with Travis Wetland.
‘Twas an Autumn evening and the sun was low, Nor’west shining the last minute glow,
A gaggle of geese glide in on a breeze
There stands Ranger John mud up to his knees;
And so as the evening shadows fall, Ranger John has covered his every call,
A chirp of contentment from branches that sway
All is well in Travis until tomorrow — another day.
Joe Greenaway 2020.
Travis Petition Archived
In 1994 public support for Travis Swamp (as it was known then) was raised by gathering nearly 7000 signatures on a petition that called for its protection. This petition was instrumental in the decision by the Christchurch City Council to purchase the wetland and its gazetting as a nature heritage park. The wetland was saved from becoming a suburban housing estate and is now a jewel in the crown of the city.
The petition is a work of art as well as a historic document. It has a woven flax cover and includes pressings of many treasured native plants found at Travis, as well as the pages of signatures. For the past two decades the petition was stored in a variety of places, none of them suitable for the long term preservation of such a precious Taonga. The Trust board decided that the best place for the petition was in the City Library’s archives and in October chairperson Sean Ward and board members Eleanor Bissell and Dave Evans delivered the petition to Tūranga. We can now rest easy that it has the highest level of storage that the city can provide.
Article and image: Dave Evans