Veldt grass (Ehrharta erecta) is a fast-growing plant that originates from South Africa and was first recorded in New Zealand in 1943 in Wellington. It outcompetes native vegetation and prevents native seedling regeneration.
Furthermore, the recent wet weather followed by warmer conditions has provided the near perfect recipe for the grass to become well established in the reserve.
Forty-four Collegiate students and teachers were briefed by DOC Community Ranger Jaycee Tipene-Thomas on how to identify the grass and in groups set out to remove it.
Trevor from Friends of Gordon Park said having the large number of students helping in the bush made a dramatic difference. “That’s something we will continue to maintain on our regular volunteer days.”
Science teacher, Rosie Gibson who helped organise the day said it was a great day. “The students were challenged and learnt about the importance of paying it forward – not only for nature but for future generations.”
The joint effort resulted in a significant amount of veldt grass being removed from the reserve and a greater understanding of the ecological significance of Gordon Park.