25 November 2013
A field day was organised for Marlborough’s covenantors in November, where guests got to visit two very different covenant types, and learn about weed and wildlife management along the way.
The day started with a four-wheel drive adventure through Vernon Station, passing its 171 ha forest covenant before moving on to the station’s summit for stunning views over Wairau Valley and lagoons, Awatere Valley, Richmond Range and Cook Strait. The Vernon Station covenant protects part of one of the largest pieces of dryland forest in Marlborough. Station manager Paul Leedom talked about the trials and rewards of managing Vernon Station and the success he has had with QEII initiated funding support to control old man’s beard and wilding pines. Guests then moved on to Will and Rose Parsons’ property for lunch and a walk around their wetland.The Parsons shared the story of their restoration project, their battles with weeds and ferrets and the excitement of new avian visitors to their wetland covenant. Dr Peter Williams, one of NZ’s preeminent weed experts, spoke about weed control options and best practice. His key tips would have to be: pick your fights, and, when presented with diverse weed issues, start from the bottom up!
Guests were treated to a close encounter with a NZ falcon brought to the event by the Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust. Falcon handler, Diana Dobson, together with Trust members Phil Bradfield and Adam Manawatu, talked about the Trust’s breeding and release programme. Landowners were invited to get in touch with the Trust if they were interested in hosting falcon releases on their property. Properties too close to Blenheim were unsuitable, however, given the
proximity of some 3,500 uninsulated transformer boxes which are a major cause of falcon deaths.