Mount Stewart Reserve in Taihape is one step closer to being restored to its former glory.
Mt Stewart is located on the outskirts of Taihape Township and is a refuge for rare divaricate plants and contains some good stands of Kahikitea, Totara and Rimu.
The Rangitikei Environment Group and Friends of Mt Stewart along with help from Taihape College students and many others from the community have been working together to control animal and plant pests in the reserve.
The reserve has now been cleared of the majority of Old Mans Beard and other weeds including some large stands of Sycamores. Group members with skills in tree felling have cut down the sycamores and locals have carted the wood away for firewood. Sycamores are one of the worst weeds in the Reserve after Old Mans Beard and group members have experimented with various control methods. It is hoped that the knowledge gained can be used to help other groups who are also dealing with this weed in the area.
Possums had overrun the reserve but are now being controlled by trapping and bait stations and the benefits of this control can already be seen in the native vegetation.
Taihape College students have fenced off an area of the reserve as part of their agricultural studies and have propagated native trees for planting on Mt Stewart, from seeds sourced in the local area.
On the 15th of September students from Taihape College along with volunteers from the Friends of Mt Stewart, Rangitikei Environment Group, Forest and Bird and the community, planted the area fenced off by the students with native plants.
This planting is the first stage in a project that will eventually see Mt Stewart completely revegetated with natives that used to be abundant within the reserve.
The planting day was very successful with trees supplied by the students of Taihape College, Friends of Mt Stewart and members of the public.
This was an opportunity for Taihape College students to learn about their natural environment and to gain “hands on” experience by participating in such an important project.
Weedbusters signs are being erected to inform the public of what is happening in the Mt Stewart Reserve.
The Rangitikei Environment Group would like to join with the Friends of Mt Stewart in thanking all those people and organizations that have contributed to this worthwhile project so far.