Friday, 20 August 2010

Otautau Arboretum News

How often do you visit this place? Want to know what's going on?

The Arboretum Trust invites all interested in the future of the Otautau Arboretum to attend our AGM:

Wednesday 25th August at 7.30pm in the council offices, Main Street, Otautau.

Alex McKenzie Arboretum Trust Annual Report – August 2010

The Trust has achieved a considerable amount since its establishment in 2008, despite some setbacks and frustrations. Two-and-a-half years occupy a small span in the life of any forestry project and the Trust has a large and complex “portfolio” with which to familiarise itself. I have listed some of the objectives achieved in the past year below:
  1. Installed donation box on kiosk
  2. Installed two picnic tables to replace previous ones stolen and vandalised.
  3. Planted sixteen more deciduous trees in the memorial grove and organised labelling for these and those planted the previous season. Special thanks to John Lowrey for making stands and installing plaques.
  4. Planted over one hundred native trees and shrubs to expand the existing small “island” of native trees in the poplar block felled the previous year. The Trust gratefully acknowledges the ongoing financial and physical assistance of The Otautau Lions with this particular project, and Booth Ag for a donation of weed spray to clear the area prior to planting. I would also like to acknowledge the digger time donated by Roger Burnett to tidy this area which had been left in a messy state by the contractors who originally logged it.
  5. Planted various trees donated by members of the public. Special thanks to Cathy Onellion who donated a large number of kowhais and wineberries.
  6. Removed rotten capping rails from the fence along the highway frontage and stained the posts.
  7. Sown wildflower mixes in various parts of the arboretum.
    Renegotiated our lease with SDC to create a sublease on the old NZFS HQ building with Ian Watson Ltd. The Trustees did not feel that the cost of maintaining this neglected building was a core interest for us and the responsibility for its upkeep diverted us from our main focus, which is the arboretum itself.
  8. Felled the large black/hybrid poplars which were shading out the horse chestnut grove in the original arboretum area. (Contractor - John Racz).
The black/hybrid poplars so extensively planted around the arboretum by the NZFS for plywood from the 1950s now have very little commercial value and are a liability rather than an asset. Strategic felling of the remaining blocks will be a long-term commitment for the Trust and their removal will require careful planning for clearing, weed control and succession planting.

Weed control in its broadest sense includes control and eventual elimination of the willows from the reserve.

During the year we have been grateful for the advice and support freely given by SDC and Environment Southland, particularly in relation to fire permits, bridges, buildings and weed control; also Ian Watson and Vic Keen for mowing (on contracts with SDC). Thanks to the staff from the Corrections Department who oversaw their community workers on track maintenance and grass control. The front paddock was mown for baleage and I would like to thank the retiring chairman (Mike Whale) for his donation of seed, fertilizer and lime for this area.

On the minus side the Trust, and contractors working for the Trust have had to cope with numerous cases of petty vandalism and theft: from the thoughtless (theft of daffodil bulbs), to the mindless and dispiriting (repeated theft of toilet paper and taps from toilets, wheelies in the picnic area) to the costly (damage to contractors logging equipment, theft of firewood and picnic tables). The police are being informed of each event and have taken steps to apprehend offenders.

Maintaining and enhancing the arboretum remains an enormous undertaking, but I would like to thank my enthusiastic committee who have put in many hours. Two more trustees joined during the year and the present trustees are:

Sandra McKenzie (secretary), Jan Lowrey (treasurer), Jesse Bythel, Pam Jenkins, Janice Manson, Bill Marshall, the ward representative Brian Drummond, and myself.

John Hicks (Chairman) 17th August 2010

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