During February and March, The Forest Bridge Trust held three community pest control workshops. The workshops were held in Kaipara Flats, Tauhoa and Tomarata.
Landowners in the Hoteo catchment were invited and the objectives of each session were to (1) inform the community about the existence, goals and objectives of The Forest Bridge Trust, (2) describe the introduced predators that harm native New Zealand plants and animals and how to deal with them, (3) demonstrate the use of traps to control predators and (4) distribute traps to interested landowners so that they can initiate or expand predator control on their properties.
The sessions were led by TFBT trustee and education coordinator Liz Maire. Liz was assisted by fellow trustees Kevin and Gill Adshead and by Glenn and Joe, experienced professional trappers.
Liz opened each session by having the participants introduce themselves and introducing the trustees who explained the background and objectives of The Forest Bridge Trust.
The trappers then provided an overview of the different types of predators people might encounter on their properties and explained their behaviour and the damage they do.
This was followed by a demonstration of various traps and trapping techniques.
Participants were given the chance to get some experience setting the traps.
Participants were invited to take traps to use in their pest control efforts. Thanks to TFBTs fundraising efforts, the Trust is able to provide a few traps to the community free of charge to get them started.
Liz closed each session by explaining the TFBT CatchIT programme in schools and the Walk the Line app which enables us to do GPS monitoring of traps and provides the ability to record catch activity for further analysis.
A total of 46 community members attended the three sessions and 51 traps were distributed for deployment in the field.
For further information or assistance in trapping on your property, please contact The Forest Bridge Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Education Coordinator Liz Maire held follow up sessions at Tomarata School to find out what pests the children had detected in their own back yards. She also distributed rat and mouse traps and trained the student in how to use them safely.
The students brought in their tracking cards and there lots of prints to identify. With Liz’s help, the students identified the tracks on their cards and presented the results to the class.
The cards revealed a variety of pests—there were lots of mice and rats plus a possible stoat and a hedgehog. In addition to learning to identify tracks, the students also learned some valuable lessons. One or two tracking cards were eaten by the family dog and a cat visited a tunnel put out at the school.
As a result of Liz’s efforts, over 100 Tomarata students have now been trained in using rat and mouse traps and are setting them out at home and at school In addition, several families are using the donated Timms and DOC200 traps that had been distributed at the workshop on 5 August. Tomarata students are making a huge contribution to reduce the populations of rats, mice, mustelids and possums.
As always, we have a lot of people to thank for the roll out of the CatchIT programme. Thanks to Warren Agnew of Gotcha Traps for providing tracking tunnels and cards, Auckland Council and the Rodney Local Board for providing rat and mouse traps and rat tunnels, the Mataia Restoration project for providing mouse trap tunnels, the Auckland Council Biosecurity Team for the Timms traps and Auckland Council’s Rodney Environmental Education Fund for partly funding our environmental educator.
We’d also like to thank Liz for her hard work in preparing and presenting the sessions and handling all of the many administrative details such as numbering and accounting for all of the traps.
And we especially want to thank the staff, students and parents from Tomarata School for being part of the CatchIT programme and for your enthusiasm and support. We know you will catch a lot of pests and make an important contribution to the health of New Zealand’s plant and animal life.