The work of the Landcare Okareka Volunteers has recently been recognised with the presentation of a Weedbusters Award 2012, for the Bay of Plenty region for Weedbusting Excellence on Public Land.
Weedbusters is a national organisation which was set up under DOC to recognise and encourage the involvement of communities and individuals in the fight against invasive weed species in New Zealand.
Every second year they hold a competition.
The receipt of this Weedbusters Award is deserving public recognition for all of the hours of volunteer work that has gone into numerous reserves around Lake Okareka.
This work covers the whole gamut of weed eradication and replanting with native species and maintenance of those plantings to keep them weed free, to maintain the natural biodiversity around the lake.
Some of the areas that are covered by this award are:
- Weed control, replanting and on going weed maintenance around the Lake Okareka Walkway.
- Weed control (wilding cherries, broom, Old Man's Beard, tradescantia, montbretia, strawberry dogwood) in the local DOC administered reserves.
- An area at the end of Acacia Road that was weed infested with jasmine and montbretia, which has been cleared of weeds and replanted.
- An area opposite the Summit Road and Loop Road intersection which was cleared of weeds and all sorts of rubbish and replanted.
- An area in Tikitapu Scenic Reserve, parallel to Loop Road and near the Benn Road intersection which was sprayed and brush cut regularly to rid the area of weeds, and replanted in native species, especially five finger to host mistletoes in the future. There has been on going weed control of this area since it was planted.
- An area of the Okareka Scenic Reserve, around and behind the sewerage pump station between Summit Road and Okareka Loop Road which has been cleared of weeds partly by hand by LO volunteers (mainly Mike Goodwin and Brian Law), and in large part by Guy Gaddum Construction, who allowed his digger with mulching head and driver to work for 2 days at no charge! The machine accomplished in 2 days what we expected would take months if not years! And this allowed a wonderful 1400 plants (thanks to RDC and BOPRC) to be planted by Landcare Okareka volunteers in about 2 ½ hours.
Landcare Okareka Volunteers collect the Weedbusters Award from Nicola Douglas Dept of Conservation: L to R: Rod Stace, Brian Law, Sandra Goodwin, Nicola Douglas, Elisabeth Walter, Chris Russell, Nigel Kelso.
As part of the prize from Weedbusters, some new signs will be made for two of the more significant restoration areas. The signs will acknowledge all of the volunteer efforts and also the support received from various organisations for each particular site.
Landcare Okareka Volunteers can be justly proud of all that they have achieved over the past 9 years or so around Lake Okareka to help maintain New Zealand's biodiversity.