Ackama prides itself on its social values and many of our employees freely and regularly give their time and money to causes they feel strongly about and support outside of work. On Friday 21st February, we organised a group volunteer day, and thirteen brave souls from Ackama headed off to ZEALANDIA for a day of hard work.
When we arrived, Hamish the Ranger greeted us. We were given a brief introduction, and checked our own bags for unwelcome hitchhikers such as rats and mice. This is something that all visitors to the sanctuary must do, to help protect the species living there. Once done, we went through the double gates which also help to safeguard the sanctuary border as only one of them may be open at any time.
A keen team!
Our first stop was the tool shed, where we picked up gardening gloves and tools including loppers, pruning saws, shears, and spades. Then it was off up the Fuchsia Track after a quick stop on the dam, to admire the view. We worked on both spurs of the Fuchsia Track, on the northern part in the morning, on our way up to the predator proof fence not far from Wrights Hill, and on the south part in the afternoon. Coming downhill when we were all quite shattered from a day’s work was, it has to be said, quite welcome respite. We cleared plants and branches that were growing over the track and impeding visitors’ access. The Fuchsia Track is quite steep in parts and somewhat slippery, and we worked hard to earn our break at the top where we reached the predator-proof fence.
Part of the area we were trying to clear:
On both sides of the 8.6km long fence, a certain distance must be kept clear, so that no creatures from the outside, can get in. This meant clearing back trees and vegetation so that no potential threats could use said vegetation as a starting point to launch an assault on the sanctuary. The fence was built in 1999 and is formed on the inside of a 3-metre wide track. This is to stop animals jumping across. Our work helped with this as we cut back trees which could assist animals jumping over.
The team hard at work:
The team surveying their efforts afterwards:
At the end of our day, we were all exhausted, but very happy to find the café still open at the entrance to the sanctuary, where we rested our weary bodies. My FitBit was most pleased with me, and told me that I walked 18,432 steps that day, which was 11.88 kms, and that I burned 2,700 calories. Everyone enjoyed the day and we are all keen to return at some point.