Student power shines again at Reserve

They’ve pulled weeds there, planted seedlings and even dabbled in some path building, but for this third visit Pukemokemoke felt the power of the EcoQuest bridge build. Lecturer Robyn Sinclair explains.

They say third time is a charm, and it certainly was charming to be able to go and visit Pukemokemoke again with yet another bunch of our enthusiastic American study abroad students.

Boardwalk beginnings...
Boardwalk beginnings…

With another full course we had 26 enthusiastic students ready for a day in the great outdoors. This class have been blessed with near perfect fieldwork weather since arriving in early February, and this was no exception.

Warwick Silvester once again pulled out all the stops with his introduction to New Zealand botany including, for the first time with us anyway, a treasure hunt for fruiting podocarps! No-one was left in any doubt about them after that.

Our summer of extended dry meant that some watering was needed to limit tree loss but our main task on this visit was to complete construction of a bridge over a culvert on Mangatea track. To do this, we once again split into two groups with half working hard before lunch and then bush walking after lunch, and vice versa.

The morning crew did a great job laying out the pegs and rails for the bridge structure – and as we soon discovered putting pegs into drought-stricken ground is no easy feat!

My afternoon crew soon had a good rhythm going though and in as little as two hours had finished the bridge and were able to pose for cheesy photos on the bridge we built. Even more important and fun was to be able to walk across it as its first visitors.

We started off with a mix of skills and between us we also got to learn a few new ones, namely correct use of a sledgehammer and proper techniques for the use of a cordless drill. If you look closely may notice a nail or two out of alignment which I can assure you was deliberate! We definitely left our mark.

Ta da! Warwick, Liz, Emma, Katie, Jason, Claire, Curren, Kaitlin and Connor. (Aaron and Jim were rather sad to miss out on the photo after their hard work but were in fact still going!).

We’ll be back in October and in the meantime will hold thumbs for rain – soon! (Clearly this worked. The rain was falling as this story was being posted. It must have been the dance you all did on the new bridge – ed)

Visit the EcoQuest Education Foundation website by clicking here.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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