The Ruamahanga Restoration Trust successfully recruited Year 10 volunteers in an effort to engage students in restoration plantings within a rare wetland habitat.
A wide variety of native plants were purchased for the restoration work, including carex sedges, swamp maire and kahikatea, all of which are well suited to the wetland forest areas bordering the Ruamahanga River. This section of lowland podocarp forest was spared from the ravages of fire that swept across the Wairarapa plains in the 1600s.
The pockets of remaining forest in this small remaining wetland habitat includes ancient kahikatea, matai, and totara. The springfed streams and high water table are essential to keeping many of these trees alive, which in turn helps ensure the health of an ecosystem that filters fresh water and serves as a home for small native fish, frogs, lizards and birdlife.
One this particular day, students got stuck in, wading knee-deep across muddy streams to remove invasive weeds and dig holes for the plants.
Schools Behind Our River was launched earlier this year as a educational project aimed at encouraging students and local communities within the Wairarapa to support restoration plantings, predator trapping and conservation efforts along the length of the Ruamahanga River, from the mountains to the sea. The project is supported by the Ruamahanga Restoration Trust with additional funding from Masterton Trust House and the Eastern & Central Community Trust.