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Citizen Science 2019 - Recognising & Reporting Pest Plants

Finally all the results of August’s Citizen Science Month are in! A big thank you to all the volunteers who got involved and monitored reserve chew card lines, and to those of you at home and on the streets who reported weeds, bird counts, created photopoints and registered an interest in monitoring the health of our streams.

Across the month, 95 volunteers gave a whopping 265 hours of monitoring time. Their contribution to science helps us target campaigns and action for the care of certain areas of our Kaipātiki landscape.

You can read the results of each monitoring topic in our PFK blog (there are four), and if you want to get further involved and take action – all the information you will need to get started is in the blog and on our website.

This year, we incorporated recognising and reporting pest plants into Citizen Science Month. An environmental weed, or pest plant, is a plant that overrides the systems of nature to such an extent that that natural place (or the ecosystem) looses the ability to repair itself. The native bush seedlings can no longer compete with weeds, and overtime no next generation will be present. The native wildlife and bush we love to see and walk through depends on healthy native ecosystems, and hence invasive weeds are our enemy. There are many ways you can easily get involved to Recognise, Report and Remove them. During Citizen Science Month, the community took the first step in reporting weeds wherever they found them. We hope this momentum will continue over the following months, in order to eventually achieve a complete picture of pest plant abundance and distribution in the Kaipātiki Local Board area.

A massive thank you to our funders and sponsors who provided spot prizes for participation and volunteering awards. Our thanks to the Kaipātiki Local Board, Auckland Council including the Research and Evaluation Unit and Birkenhead Licencing Trust for making Citizen Science Month possible. Thank you Kaipātiki Project, Bunnings Warehouse, New World, Key Industries, 100 Percent New Zealand, Te Ngahere, Samsung and Andrea Reid from Pollinator Paths for your generosity!


2019 Pest Plant Results

During Citizen Science Month, we encouraged neighbours to download the EcoTrack app, and report weeds wherever they were seen at home, while walking, jogging or exploring their neighbourhood and local reserves. You can do this at any time, and the app has the benefit of being able to 'update' a weed instance once the pest plant has been controlled. This helps Pest Free Kaipātiki track what species are in the area, how abundant they are and the progress we are making as a community to become pest-plant free!

During Citizen Science Month between the 28th July and 31st August:

  • 133 pest plant sites were reported

  • 23 unique species of pest plants were reported

  • There were 20 reported sites of Moth Plant

  • There were 18 reported sites of Wild Ginger

  • There were 24 reported sites of Woolly nightshade

  • 34 reported pest plants were controlled in some way (great work!)


Why do we need to Recognise & Report Pest Plants?

  • Once reported, Council, volunteers, residents and property owners can remove pest plants, stopping them from spreading across your property, neighbourhood and local reserves - be a good neighbour

  • After removal, we can replant with natives that offer many benefits in terms of beautification and provide food and habitat for birds, insects, geckos and skinks

  • If we update the record once the pest plant has been removed, we can track progress from year to year.

^ Image above: Some of the incredible volunteers across Kaipātiki who control nasties like moth plant.

Thank you to everyone for reporting pest plants over Citizen Science Month. We hope you will continue to do so whenever you spy them. If you want to help further, read our guide on how to contribute to the Pest Plant Campaign.


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