Clyde plot returned to nature


Digging in the dirt to plant native species has become a regular pastime for members of the Clyde School Enviroschool group.

Some have spent more than half their lives volunteering to spend time every year throughout the seasons to plant and maintain a growing number of species along the strip of public land by the Clyde Bridge and River Track.

Tahlia Sangster (12) began planting when she was 5 and she, as well as her sister, Bridey (10), had continued to spend time not only as part of her school group but also at weekends looking after the plants.

Tahlia said she and the others in the Enviroschool group often looked out for native birds and wildlife, and she enjoyed being out in nature when they planted trees.

Clyde Community and Enviroschools Ecological Restoration Group volunteer Lynne Stewart said about 10 years ago the area of about 7km alongside the Clutha River near the Clyde Bridge had some 30 large wilding pines, as well as blackberry, briar and hawthorne bushes.

Those had now been removed and ecological restoration through native planting was helping bring natural biodiversity to the area.

The school group had been involved in planting many native species including kowhai, kanuka, wharariki (cabbage tree) and others.

Native birds, including tui and korimako, had been seen and skinks and geckos had been observed sunbathing on the rocks.

The strip of public land had been turned into an area of natural heritage, she said.

However, help was needed to weed and clear around the base of small trees, as well as spreading mulch, and she was hoping to encourage more volunteers to visit and help keep the area free of weeds, she said.