DOC ranger Clint Savage demonstrates how the planting should be done. OB4794-04

OMARUMUTU wetlands are in their fourth year of restoration, thanks to co-operation and funding.

A collaboration between the Omarumutu School, the marae and the Department of Conservation (DoC) has made this possible, with all the above digging native plants in at the site yesterday.

The planting had been planned for Monday but weather conditions meant it had to be postponed.

However, project manager Mereaira Hata said there was a silver lining to the postponement.

“At least now the ground should be soft for the kids to dig,” she said.

With the full roll of Omarumutu School assisting with the planting, Ms Hata said it was a great expe-rience for the children to learn about the environment.

“It’s a lovely day out for the kids,” she said. “The parents come out in full support too.”

The collaboration between Omarumutu Marae and DoC began four years ago, with the school coming on board three years ago.

“It’s a really collaborative exercise,” Ms Hata said.

DoC provided funding for the restoration when it first began, which supervisor, community senior ranger Clint Savage said should provide plants for another two years.

“Getting the kids involved with the restoration means they have a sense of ownership,” he said.

“They’ll be able to see their hard work as the plants grow over the years.”

Mr Savage said the planting was only one side of the restoration, as trapping of mice, rats and stoats was also done by DoC in collaboration with the Omarumutu School.

“We have traps around here, and we have some traps up at the school,” he said.

Before the planting began, Mr Savage explained to students why trapping and plantings were im-portant, and how they affected native life.

The children also received a health and safety briefing on how to use shovels and be mindful of their surroundings, before splitting off into groups of three.

Each group had a senior student who handled the shovel and digging, while the others planted and collected the empty plant pots.

james.sandbrook@opotikinews.co.nz