Restoration Day upskills and inspires community volunteers
"Inspiring" was the general feedback from many of the 150 volunteers attending Restoration Day 2016, Saturday 21 May. Community restoration groups and individuals from across the Greater Wellington Region converged on the Wairarapa to attend practical workshops on a wide range of restoration topics: bioblitz principles, pest plant and animal management, wetland management issues, as well as species and stream health monitoring.
"There have been so many useful aspects to Restoration Day this year. The wetlands workshop was really interesting and I'm taking away new skills. It was also brilliant to hear Mike Joy speak," said Ruth Pemberton, Southern Environmental Association Wellington.
"We chose to hold this year's Restoration Day in the Wairarapa to celebrate some of the successes and longer-term projects that have been running locally. Seeing what can be achieved in the future can be very inspiring for community groups at earlier stages of their journey," says Rebecca Bird, GWRC Biodiversity Advisor.
Participants were delighted with the workshop diversity and the opportunity to learn new skills and benefit from the expert knowledge of staff from each of the Restoration Day partners. In addition they gleaned first-hand practical knowledge from three successful restoration projects: Wairio Wetlands, Wairarapa Moana and the Mangaterere Stream catchment and Fensham Reserve, Carterton.
"Restoration Day 2016 had a particular focus on aquatic ecosystems as the event fell on International Migratory Fish Day. We held a series of workshops on native fish identification, fish passage solutions and stream health assessment. Aquatic ecosystems, whether in manmade or natural waterways, are very different from terrestrial ecosystems and there are quite special monitoring skills that our volunteers were keen to learn and apply in their own work."
The event, featuring a key note speech from Massey University Senior Ecology Lecturer, Dr Mike Joy on the conference theme of "resilient restoration" also offered many opportunities for participants to share knowledge and discuss a range of restoration and volunteering topics.
GWRC co-ordinated this year's event in Carterton, Wairarapa this year on behalf of Restoration Day partners: Department of Conservation, Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council, Hutt City Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Victoria University of Wellington, Zealandia and WWF; in association with Nature Space. Restoration Day began in 1995 and has been run annually since 2001.
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