Volunteers Hit The “baddies” So The Good Guys Can Survive
Wednesday, 16 August 2023, 6:31 am Press Release: SociaLink
It’s Conservation Week this week, and all over the
Western Bay of Plenty volunteers are out in all weather
laying traps and ensuring native birds and flora can
Conservation volunteer John Rowlandson spends
hours each week trapping “the baddies” – stoats,
possums, rats, feral cats – to protect his favourite place,
The Blade at the end of Whakamārama Road, 24km northwest of
He’s a member of Friends of the Blade, a
volunteer group formed to develop a pest-free zone around
the Pā Kererū walking track and the rest area. The area is
named after a massive bulldozer blade that was left behind
from one of the rimu mills from early last
More than 40 volunteers visit all the trap
lines about every fortnight to record dead pests, re-bait
and reset the traps.
John got involved when he met
people in the community who were already involved, so he
went along to see what was about. That was about six years
ago. He loves being outdoors, and hitting predators to give
the native wildlife a fighting chance.
“If we can
get rid of the baddies then we can get the good guys to
thrive,” he says. It’s working too.
no question the birdlife is vastly improved – so many more
kereru, tūī, bellbirds, robins and fantails than there
were five or six years ago.
“It’s satisfying to
see results and that we’re making a difference. If we
weren’t seeing the results, catching the baddies
wouldn’t be as motivating, but we can see we’re making a
He previously worked in IT, but always
loved the bush and fresh air so he says he’d be up there
every couple of weeks anyway. By volunteering he can enjoy
the outdoors and do something that provides a bonus by
making a difference.
“Some of these areas we’re
trapping are off the beaten track so you feel like you’re
looking after your own space where no one ever goes. Some of
our volunteers are very proud of their
“It’s also good to run into people on
the tracks who appreciate what we’re doing and can see the
difference we’re making.”
Anyone interested in
volunteering with Friends of the Blade can go to
on the Friends’ website
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