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ZEALANDIA Walking Group
ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

ZEALANDIA Walking Group

This week veteran volunteer and resident wordsmith Rosemary Cole talks to Trustee Pam Fuller about ZEALANDIA’s famous Monday Walk Group!

R) How long has this group been going?

P) The idea arose from a discussion at a Members Evening at the VC in October 2013 between Shirley, Rosemary, Hilary and myself, when Rosemary and Shirley both expressed disappointment in not being able to walk in the valley as much as they would like. They were also both interested in learning more about the plants etc.

We decided in the beginning that we wanted to explore the upper valley because, as Doug says, ‘that’s where the Sanctuary starts”. We also wanted to go at a pace that allowed time to ‘stop and smell the daisies’.

R) Who set it up?

P) We settled on alternate Mondays because that suited both Shirley and Rosemary, and I took on the task of getting things going -organising the advertising etc. and collecting names and contact details. We’ve advertised it from time to time in the Member and Volunteer Newsletters and it’s grown from there, with many new people joining via word of mouth.

R)Was it always intended to be just a fortnightly walking group all year or has it had/will it have a break over late Autumn and Winter?

P) We also agreed that we would meet all year round and that in keeping with Sanctuary policy we would have a no-cancellation policy leaving it for people to decide if /
when they would come and how far or fast they would walk.

Last winter we decided to restrict the walks to the Lower Valley since we couldn’t always be sure of the weather and to provide variety and interest and in keeping with our original aim to learn more about the valley we had a guide lead one walk a month. These walk and talks included an Introduction of Native Plants with Gil Roper, one on Ferns with Barbara Mitcalfe and Chris Horne, Chris Moore on Native Nasties, Kaka Monitoring with Linton Miller, a Historical Walk with Ian Archer, and The Sanctuary Blueprint/Landscape Plan with Hilary and Russ Drewry.

R) How are the trips and leaders planned?

P) I develop a three monthly matrix and invite members to nominate a date and walk they would like to do and I organised the Walk and Talks. It has been agreed we alternate between a long walk (e.g Western Firebreak) and short or medium walk (e.g. Round the Lakes) each month. This year decided that the long walks would start at 9.30am and the short at
10am. I’m actually just about to put the June – August matrix out.

R) When did the weeding on alternate Mondays begin?

P) In April Raewyn suggested we might like to do some weeding so that’s quite recent. Though we’ve tended to do a bit of weeding and track clearing as we walk, we’ve scheduled the weeding for non-walk days and have done just two so far, with one more planned. Then its up to the group whether they want to keep going or take a break.

R) How many people usually join in walking and/or weeding?

P) We have 44 on our email list. The largest number we’ve had walking was 18 with 10 on our first weed day.

R) Is there an End-Of-Year Xmas walk and Lunch?

P) As you know we end each session with coffee or lunch at Rata, last December we had a short walk and made our lunch break a bit more of an occasion with tablecloths and crackers!

If you’d like to join the walking group, send an email through to news@visitzealandia.com

Photos by Chris Moore

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