Wildlife is a great joy to all of us whether they are wetland, forest or common species.
Sitting writing this I am looking out my office window at the coming and goings of numerous wax eyes and the occasional tui feeding on the sugar water put out for them. I still get a thrill seeing these common species even though I have had the pleasure of working with some of our most endangered species like kakapo and kiwi. Wetlands, waterfowl and marsh birds are no different and this is what drives DU.
The last year has been a good one with our Flight magazine editor Liz Brook, Secretary Jan Abel, and Web Site and Quack Club Coordinator Michelle Cooper all making great contributions in promoting DU and ensuring we operate well on behalf of our members.
Their input is pivotal to what we achieve. To the other Directors thank you for your efforts.
Discussions are continuing with Tony Roxburgh Chairman of the National Wetland Trust as to how we can work together.
They have progressed designs for their national wetland centre to be located at Lake Serpentine near Te Awamutu.
Wairio Wetland near Lake Wairarapa continues to be our flagship project with the benefits of the Stage 4 project resulting in 35 hectares of shallow wetland (maximum depth 1.2 metres) being created by the construction of a 1.2 km bund. Waterfowl use is high and includes regular sightings of the endangered bittern. This work was funded by Greater Wellington Regional Council, NZ Game Bird Habitat Trust and DU. Planning for a similar sized project for Stage 2 and 3 is well advanced and should be constructed next summer. Tree planting and maintenance are also major tasks funded from a range of other sponsors. The AGM field trip takes in Wairio so you will be able to see and hear firsthand what has been happening.
We have been long term supporters of a number of very successful waterfowl projects (Pateke, Whio, White swan). A new focus has been on the endangered bittern (less than 1000 birds in NZ and 750 Australia) and the DU Board are currently considering a proposal to support a study by a doctorate student from Massey University. Bittern will be a great additional flagship species for DU’s wetland objectives.
DU’s slowly declining membership is still a concern and our members are aging. This will be a focus for the Board this year.
During the summer we lost one of our great stalwarts in the passing of Dave Johnson who was a life member. Dave has been a magnificent supporter and mentor for many of us. His contribution will be sorely missed.
I look forward to seeing as many as you as possible at the AGM at Martinborough. The organisers have a great programme planned.