Another 7500 native trees were planted on Cassie’s Farm in Te Miro, near Cambridge in June 2016, as part of a long term conservation vision for the property. Landowners Trisha Wren and Ian Brennan are committed conservationists, and before moving to the farm in 2005 they lived on land outside Edinburgh where they planted two and a half hectares of mixed woodland on degraded land.
On their 87 ha dairy support block they run dairy grazers, operate a bed and breakfast (“The Woolshed”), and Trisha’s Equine Energy Work business. But their dream is “to reverse the damage that has been done to this land over the past 100 years.” They are gradually fencing off, protecting, and replanting with natives all seven of the streams that start on the farm, and all of the steep gullies that they say should probably never have been cleared of native bush in the first place, as well as creating shelter and fodder belts on each paddock.
They began revegetation planting in 2007 with the help of volunteers who were working on the nearby Maungatautari ecological island project. Since 2009 they have done most of the fencing, planting and weeding themselves, planting over 14,000 native trees. The land has been identified by the Waipā District Council as a high priority site for the establishment of biodiversity corridors across the intensively farmed eastern Waikato region. The Waikato Regional Council has assisted them in the ongoing fencing work. They have so far fenced and covenanted 16 hectares of forest remnants with the Queen Elizabeth II Trust.
Their major project for 2016 was to establish a diverse three hectare forest dominated by totara on retired steep pastoral hill country to reduce erosion, improve water quality and enhance biodiversity. In so doing they will also be contributing to the national project to plant native trees to combat climate change. The trees for the project were provided by Trees That Count.
Planting took place over four days in June 2016, involving six contract planters, landowners, local dairy farmers and Trees That Count. With 7.00 am starts, two thousand trees were planted each day. Besides tōtara, tree species included rimu, kauri, miro, maire, kāhikatea and rewarewa, along with shrub hardwoods mānuka, kānuka, tarata, five finger, wineberry, lacebark, ribbonwood, māhoe and ti kouka.