Today was one of the most important days on The Forest Bridge Trust calendar—the day we bring together interested landowners from the Hoteo catchment to tell them about what we have been doing and to get their input on projects we should focus on over the next year.
The meeting was held at the Wellsford Community Centre and almost forty landowners and other interested parties attended. The Forest Bridge trustees and advisors hosted the meeting.
The day started with registration and a chance for everyone to get acquainted over morning tea.
It was a great opportunity to meet new people, catch up with old friends and network.
We convened at ten and started by having each participant give a brief introduction and describe their interests and objectives for the meeting.
Kevin Adshead, Forest Bridge Trust chairman, then introduced the trustees, advisors and TFBT administrator, Tracy Tristram. He then gave an overview of the Trust’s activities for the year and thanked our supporters.
Trustee Gill Adshead then described the Trust’s fundraising activities and talked about some of the contested funds that are available to help landowners protect the bush on their properties.
Liz Maire gave a presentation about the CatchIT Schools and CatchIT Communities programmes in which we have trained local rural school children about pests and pest control and provided them with traps to do trapping at home.
Guest speaker Mark Bellingham of Terra Nova Planning talked briefly about transferrable titles and how they can be used to assist rural landowners to protect native bush on their properties.
Chris Floyd of the QE II Open Spaces Trust gave an interesting presentation on how the QE II covenant process works and the benefits of protecting valuable bush with a QE II covenant.
Rachel Griffiths of the Auckland Council gave a quick update on changes in the Auckland Council staff and structure and how those changes may affect landowners.
We ended the morning session with a very interesting presentation by Kim Jones, National Coordinator of the Whitebait Connection programme of the Mountains to the Sea Conservation Trust. Kim has been involved in an extensive project to study inanga spawning habitats on the Hoteo River and she shared her findings on locating, protecting and restoring habitats along the river.
We then broke for lunch and a chance to discuss the morning sessions.
After lunch, it was the participants’ turn to work!
Auckland Council had generously provided us with several large maps of the Hoteo catchment and we asked the participants to work in groups to study the area where their properties are located and to come up with possible projects for the Trust to focus on over the coming months. Liz explained the criteria the Trust uses to prioritise projects and asked the group to keep them in mind as they discussed issues in their areas.
The participants broke into groups and used highlighters and sticky notes to identify potential projects on the maps.
After the participants had a chance to thoroughly discuss issues, Liz helped them summarise projects and opportunities.
Gill then wrapped up the session by thanking the participants and speakers and talking about some of the actions the Trust will be taking as a result of the meeting today.
We’d like to thank Jenny Hood for the wonderful lunch. And we especially want to thank all of the participants who took time during a busy time of the year to spend the day with us and share their very valuable and interesting insights. We look forward to working with you over the coming years as we make the forest bridge from the Kaipara to the Pacific a reality.