The Mid Oreti Catchment Group organise a wide variety of events and projects to support both their farming and Winton township communities. To showcase innovative farming ideas to help look after the environment, they have run some excellent field days. To help their communities learn new skills and techniques, they have run practical grow your own native sessions, stream health workshops and other training session like learning how to take a water sample. They always try and include a social and fun aspect to their events (often involving food!), to bring people together and look after them.
In amongst all of this they created their own meeting space at the Red Shed at ABLime, which could also be a future Catchment Group nursery space. Took part in a nationwide eDNA (environmental DNA) water quality monitoring programme (along with the other Southland Catchment Groups), to provide valuable information on the plants and animals found in and around New Zealand’s waterways. Supported Southland wide Catchment Group initiatives like the Aquavan “Discovering your catchment and coastal connections” education programme and the Thriving Southland Ladies Enviro series. They have set up a colourful and well used Facebook page, and advertise their events in the Winton Outlook and on the Winton Community Pages too.
Here is a snapshot of our favourite events and activities:
- Runoff Detainment Bund & Nursery Field Day – Sediment bunds have been created to slow the flow of runoff from the dairy farm hill catchment, to reduce sediment and nutrient loss to waterways when it rains. Top tips to set up your own native plant nursery (with no experience needed!) were shared, and many questions answered. Over 50 people joined in.
- Winton Ecological Stream Health Field Day – Fun, interactive session with Freshwater Ecologist Robin Holmes (Cawthron Institute), to show the group lots of easy to use techniques to work out how healthy a stream is by looking at the macroinvertebrates (stream bugs) and using the one page Rapid Habitat Assessment.
- Red shed set up and running! - Mid Oreti Catchment Group’s very own meeting space cleaned and refurbished using an old school on Fiona and Steve Smith property at ABLime.
- Rapid Habitat Assessment training session – Quick and easy technique, scoring 10 categories on a one-page sheet, to help people work out the health of their stream without getting wet! Anyone can use it on their farm or in their community. Followed up with a quick chat about the good points of the stream, and what could be done to make it better.
- Grow Your Own Native event - practical workshop (with over 30 people) covering seed collection, processing, sowing and potting, with info on right plant, right place, right purpose and some species ID.
- Winton Stream eDNA and Water Quality Testing Demonstration Session – Practical, easy and fun session covering a variety of different ways to take water samples using plastic bottles and a sonde.
- First Mid Oreti Catchment Group event on Marshalls Creek! Trained locals up to use the easy one-page Rapid Habitat Assessment technique, and lots of sites were monitored. This creek runs through the heart of Winton, and is a great place to bring people together to learn new skills, meet new people and learn how to look after our waterways. This is the start of a long term community project for the group.
- Spoke to the Oreti Community Board about their ideas for Marshalls Creek
- Composting Barn Field Day - Steve Smith, ABLime’s General Manager, took 60 people through how their trial composting barn has gone in its first winter; what they learnt, what worked well, what can be improved, and what their next questions are. A follow up event for people who had not been able to attend was run a week later, and another 17 people came along.