Planting underway at Reid’s Pit.

Reid’s Pit Planting

05.09.2018

Unbeknown to many, there are publicly owned gravel pits dotted all over the Selwyn District that could be transformed into habitat supporting wildlife, such as native Skinks.

On Saturday morning, August 18th, Te Ara Kākāriki kicked off the 2018 planting season with volunteers planting over 1,200 native seedlings at one such site in Rolleston. Fifty members of the community turned up, including local Scouting groups from Lincoln and Rolleston.

With the site being compacted after years of trucks going back and forth with loads of gravel, volunteers were grateful to find planting holes had been drilled in advance by contractors for the event.

The seedlings, provided by Selwyn District Council, are planted on one corner of the Reid’s Pit site and will form part of an ecological area. Once the plants are established the public will be able to enjoy a short walkway weaving through the plantings. The entire site covers four hectares and will also include bike tracks of varying difficulty, walkways and picnic areas all surrounded with native plants.

Reid’s pit, located on the corner of Weedons Road and Selwyn Road, is named after a local family who farmed the adjoining land. Lincoln University entomologist and Te Ara Kākāriki Trustee, Mike Bowie told the group that many of the other local gravel pit sites also have the potential to be used for native restoration and habitat.

Mike surveyed the site in 2016 and although there was minimal native flora he found native skinks were present. Plants were chosen with the lizards in mind and planted on mounds left behind from the site’s working days. These will provide an ideal habitat for skinks to sunbathe or take cover from predators, when needed. Other seedlings were chosen for their ability to thrive in the site conditions and some were chosen to attract native birds.

Lincoln Scouts and Selwyn District Council provided a sausage sizzle which was much appreciated by volunteers after their hard work.

Te Ara Kākāriki are holding other planting events during September; to sign up or find out further details – go to www.kakariki.org.nz