Catchment group shares ideas

The Mid Oreti Catchment Group’s Runoff Detainment Bund and Nursery Field Day attracted plenty of...
The Mid Oreti Catchment Group’s Runoff Detainment Bund and Nursery Field Day attracted plenty of interest. PHOTO: SANDRA CAMPBELL
Ideas flowed at the Mid Oreti Catchment Group’s planning meeting last week.

The public was invited to Winton’s Top Pub to hear what the group has been up to and to discuss possible projects for the coming year.

The group was brought together in its current form in October 2019 by "three local lasses — Rosie, Fiona and Ainsley", as they describe themselves. Members are a diverse mix of farmers, urban residents, rural professionals, and industry personnel united by a passion for improving the area’s environment.

They have "huge support from Thriving Southland catchment co-ordinator Sarah Thorne", they said.

The group focuses mainly on water quality and biodiversity. It prides itself on practical, fun activities that include the whole community and help build awareness of best management practices.

So far they have included a Runoff Detainment Bund and Nursery Field Day, Winton Stream Ecological Health Field Day, a meeting with water quality guest speaker and brainstorming on Marshalls Creek, and a Grow Your Own Natives workshop.

Their success has led to the group entering the catchment section of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, for which judging took place recently.

The group was also recognised with an honourable mention at last year’s Environment Southland community awards.

Last week’s meeting attracted about equal numbers of attendees and apologies, the organisers said. They were pleased with the level of interest and the variety of suggestions for future projects.

Baleage wrap recycling and the area’s flood protection systems were two of the topics raised, which the group would like to publicise across the community.

It also wants to carry out rubbish pick-ups alongside parts of waterways that have been brought to its attention.

Greater involvement with local schools was a popular subject for discussion. The group would like to work in with existing environmental projects involving pupils and tie them in with its own projects.

A "stream walk" was another idea that resonated at the meeting, as it could include a wide cross-section of people and be a family day out with both recreational and educational benefits.

The three local lasses were delighted that "at least four" people at the meeting were keen to help them at the planning level. They wanted people who were willing, not who merely felt obligated.

The organisers said they have a good team who give each other encouragement.

As part of their presentation for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, they identified the challenges they have faced and how they are overcoming them.

To achieve greater engagement, they seek feedback on event times and content, send out newsletters, make regular Facebook posts, and provide food and social times after events so everyone can relax and mingle.

An emphasis on "keeping it fun and worthwhile" is the approach to enhance wellbeing, and Covid difficulties are being met by running smaller, quicker activities outdoors.

The group intends to hold more Grow Your Own Natives workshops, open days and evening barbecue working bees at the AB Lime nursery, field days, Marshall Creek activities, and regular meetings with guest speakers on various topics.

It will also seek plant grants for a Mini Forest Movement, and keep the community informed about environmental change.




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