Home' Northern Outlook : June 8th 2013 Contents 2 NORTHERN OUTLOOK, JUNE 8, 2013
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Pupils give rare wrybills boost
BIRD BRIGADE: Ashgrove School's Ariki Matehaere, Georgia Stockton, Mitchell Johnson and Olivia Lewis want to see the Ashley
River's wrybill population grow and flourish.
By RACHEL MACDONALD
THE JUNIOR learning team at
Ashgrove School is on a mission. The
6 and 7-year-olds have taken up the
crusade for the endangered wrybill
that nests on their doorstep, on the
banks of the Ashley River.
This follows a talk last term by
Nick Ledgard, chairman of the
Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group,
about the rare birds.
To round out the study unit, each
child made a poster alerting people
to the plight of the species, and these
were collected by Mr Ledgard and
fellow wrybill campaigner Geoff
Swailes on Thursday. They are now
being laminated for use as signs on
the riverbank next nesting season.
Teacher Glenys Feary says the
children were fascinated to learn
about the wrybills and why they are
so special to the area.
She was also surprised at the
number of parents who had been
unaware there was a local popu-
lation of the rare species until their
children brought the message home.
It was all part of an inquiry into
Exploring our school and the wider
community', in which we discussed
the role of people who help with look-
ing after our local environment. Nick
came along and did a presentation
about caring for the birdlife at the
Ashley River,'' she says.
He told them they could help by
telling others about these special
birds, so that's when we decided to
make the posters.''
The posters -- and the reports
written by the children on the topic --
encouraged people to look out for
nests in the pebbles by the river and
stay away from them, and to keep
vehicles on the tracks and dogs on
Words such as protect'',
precious'' and endangered'' were a
common theme. There's no-one
more effective than children when it
comes to sharing information,'' Mr
Ledgard said, looking at the lines of
colourful artwork and excited faces.
And when it comes to the environ-
ment, these children are our future,
so hopefully the wrybill's in good
Stuck hunters moved by rescue efforts
By CATE BROUGHTON
If the river is high don't even
attempt to cross it.
THREE MEN reported missing on
Monday returned safely on Wednes-
day afternoon, just half an hour
before a helicopter was sent to look
Anthony Price 54, Matthew Price,
21, and Matthew Neame, 29, set out
on a tramping and hunting trip on
Friday and had planned to return on
Monday at 4pm.
However, rain set in more quickly
than they had anticipated and
prevented their return.
Senior Constable Paul Beaver said
the men had wisely chosen to stay in
the Puketeraki Forest, near the
Ashley Gorge, for two extra nights
due to bad weather.
By Wednesday the rain had stop-
ped, the river had receded slightly
and the men found a safe place to
cross, Anthony Price said.
His daughter and brother were
waiting with their car at Lees Valley
when they appeared about 2.30pm
after a five-hour walk from the hut
they had been sheltering in.
The group had decided to stay at
the hut as the water level in the
river was too high to cross.
It would have come half way up
my body,'' Mr Price said.
He was pleased they had decided
to stay in the hut despite the
If you are going to go to these
places you have to obey the rules,
and there are signs up saying if the
river is high don't even attempt to
The previous occupants of the hut
had not replenished the firewood
stores so the men had used some
timber under the hut, to keep them-
They had been able to ration the
food they had, and use some left in
the hut, Mr Price said.
Knowing there were strangers
willing to come and rescue them was
very humbling, Mr Price said.
I just about cried because there
were people out there I didn't know
that cared about me.''
Mr Beaver said the only other
thing the men could have done, was
to take a communication device such
as a locator beacon or high frequency
radio with them.
Mr Beaver said anyone planning a
hunting trip should know their
limits and take sufficient supplies.
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