Wishing you all a wonderful season with family and friends.
Thanks for your support this last year towards restoring this coastal forest gem.
The bird monitoring went off well in October, thanks to Gina Wilson, despite a bit of rain. It’s wonderful to hear so many more birds out there and also lovely to hear people commenting on that too.
FOOB have had a good year trapping the stats for 2017 to the end of November are:
108 Possums and
Unfortunately in the last couple of weeks we have had over 60 rat stations vandalized twice. Very disheartening but our wonderful trappers are working overtime to get them restored and reinstalled. On a positive note our conservation department has offered to contribute towards funding to extend our trap network. This has been a long time coming and we are very excited.
The Great Okura Knockdown rat competition went off well with Neale Taylor winning a prize for the rat with the longest Tail or tale because it was a shoelace!
A reptile and invertebrate survey was done by Dylan Van Winkel and Geoff Reid earlier in the year. They saw our first sighting of a Peripatus, or velvet worm in Okura Bush. They are unusual animals of the forest floor. They are called “living fossils” as they are remarkably unchanged from 500 million years ago and highly vulnerable to predation by mice and rats.
A lot has been happening on the vegetation restoration front. Many dedicated volunteers have worked every 2nd Sunday of the month in conjunction with our restoration expert getting rid of many pest plants. The contractors have worked on a lot of the walkway and surrounds and also cleared an area where about a hundred volunteers planted 1500 plants near the Stillwater entrance. The plants as well as last year’s are all doing well.
The Auckland Botanical Society, led by Jack Warden are engaged in increasing the plant list in Okura Bush. This has not been updated since 1998. We are very excited because already they have over 60 new discoveries. Jack is working on publishing a paper of the new plant list which he hopes to put out in the new year.
We are awaiting the results of the Environment Court case against Todd’s property in Okura where Todd’s have applied for the removal of the Rural Urban Boundary to enable them to build about 1000 houses as opposed to 26 under the present law. So fingers crossed until late March when we find out. In the meantime, our community groups, FOOB, Long Bay Okura Great Park Society, Dacre Cottage and Keep Okura Green are still working hard to fundraise another $80,000 to pay our expert witnesses and lawyer.
With visitor numbers rapidly increasing and housing developments kicking off all around the region there’s an urgency to get the Okura Bush walkway upgraded to a higher standard that doesn’t stress the forest floor. After a recent meeting with DOC, Council, our Local Board and iwi it was suggested we set up a Trust to enable us to manage and fundraise for a boardwalk. This will need some dedicated volunteers so if anyone’s interested in any way shape or form please get in touch. Our best chance of keeping this walkway open and saving the forest from Kauri Die Back is by extending the boardwalk.
We are busy preparing for our annual environmental awareness fundraiser… the Okura Forest Festival which will be held on the 17th February 2018 from 11am till 11pm at 81 Okura River Rd. There will be some 18 bands lined up to play, some cool environmental and craft stalls, food created by some amazing foodie volunteers plus this year we have added a few workshops which will be held in the hall.
We have an awesome fun group of volunteers working towards lots of good things and if you wish to be a part of this please get in touch. No expectations. Every little bit helps.
Please check out our Facebook page:
And the Okura Forest Festival on Facebook for updates of the bands that will be playing.
Wishing you a wonderful safe festive season from the FOOB crew.
All the best