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Gisborne High students help out in Barrm Birrm

Students from Project Ready at Gisborne High School have been coming to help clear the regrowth of gorse from the creek that runs down the middle of Barrm Birrm.


It’s a magical place, tucked away out of sight, with only roo tracks crossing it.



The creek and surrounds were heavily infested with gorse, but it hadn’t spread far into Barrm Birrm, and we wanted to stop it. We had contractors spray there about 5 years ago, and now the seeds from that stock are sprouting.


Right now is the time to finish the job, before the whole patch regrows, and the best way to get these small gorse plants out is to loosen the soil around the root of each small plant, and pull each out.



It is fiddly work, but the students are making a big impact. They are also learning a great set of skills, some they probably couldn’t get anywhere else:


  • Plant Identification - making a move on that baby gorse plant and NOT the three other plants growing right alongside that look like it, but hey, those ones are not prickly, and they have round leaves, whereas this one …. its leaves are these spiky things;

  • Cooperation - working alongside others, some spotting plants, some digging, someone picking up, helping each other up and down the edge of the creek, correcting each other’s identification of plants;

  • Manual Dexterity - knowing how to swing a hand tool to get right in there beside the plant, putting the weight of the tool and your own strength together, and hitting the right spot;

  • Tenacity - getting the confidence to get a good grip on the root of the gorse plant and PULL, feeling the tension as you pull and knowing when to stop pulling and loosen the soil a bit more, and when to keep pulling to get the whole root out it.



There’s something else too. We’re outside in the open air, in the shallow pools of the creek, in the hazy rain. This is a very different place to the school yard, and the screen, a difficult place with prickles and mud and fallen trees to navigate.


What did they say about being in the bush getting out gorse?




Big Thanks to Rose Jones for organising for these students to come over to Riddell and help out in Barrm Birrm.


Ross Colliver, Riddells Creek Landcare

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