News article

Plant ID, Seed sorting and cleaning and SERN - May 2021

We have had a busy week at the Education Centre. A Native Plant ID Course run by Jesse Bythell and myself for the SIT Environment Students and others took place on Tuesday 4 May 2021. The course is now in its fifth year, includes a range of inside and outside study and is always well received by students. The Plant ID cards used on the course can be downloaded and printed here.

On Thursday 6 May 2021 five keen members of the Hokonui Runaka seed collecting team brought along their collection of seeds and we spent a morning cleaning and preparing seeds for sowing and a bit of plant/seed identification. The seed preparation included cleaning fleshy seed through sieves, shaking out tiny hebe seeds, cleaning sticky pittosporum seeds with washing up liquid (a new technique for us!) and removing all the extraneous chaff that gets collected with seeds – ready for sowing. Some plant ID was also done – the rare Neomyrtus pedunculata and Coprosma dumosa (photos below). A reminder that our website seed collecting pages have some good information on what ripe seed looks like and timing of collection for various common Southland native species.

Nursery Friday Mornings continue for volunteers and seed collecting and sorting is still being done.

On Saturday 8 May 2021 the Education Centre was the lunch stop venue for the Autumn Southland Ecological Restoration Network trip to Kew Bush and Oreti Totara Dune Forest – Over 30 people attended the celebration of lots of hard work by Allan McPherson and John Tait at Kew Bush with the unveiling of an interpretation sign telling that story. Allan and John had also been regular Nursery attenders and many of the subsequent plantings at Kew were from our joint efforts. Ini had initiated a “Friends of Kew Bush” to continue their good work so if you live nearby email ini to become involved (). The Education Centre was abuzz with conversation and everyone enjoyed catching up with friends and those involved in many conservation projects. After lunch the group moved on to the Oreti Totara Dune Forest for a guided walk with Maurice Rodway, Brian, Jesse and Dallas. Thanks to Gay, Jesse and Ini for doing the lions share of the organising for the day.